Three-Loss Saints Host Vikings As Major Home Favorites In Wild Card Round

New Orleans went 13-3, but couldn't grasp a first-round bye

Seatacular, Flickr

Vikings (10-6) at Saints (13-3)

Sunday 1/5, 1:05pm EST

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  • The New Orleans Saints (13-3) will host the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) in the Wild Card Round of the NFC Playoffs

  • The Saints enter this matchup with the following records: 13-3 overall, 11-5 against the spread, 6-2 at home (4-4 ATS) and 9-2 as a favorite (7-4 ATS). 

  • The Vikings enter this matchup with the following records: 10-6 overall, 9-7 against the spread, 4-4 on the road (5-3 ATS) and 1-3 as an underdog (1-3 ATS).

  • Scroll down to check out our Saints Vikings preview and prediction!

VIKINGS

The Vikings almost pulled off a Week 17 victory over the Chicago Bears despite the fact that they mostly played second and third stringers. Already locked into the sixth seed in the NFC, there was simply no reason to risk any additional injuries to their starters. Minnesota’s a clear underdog in this contest, but their outlook will not be as bleak if Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is able to suit up. He missed the final two games of the regular season and enjoyed a breakout campaign in which he forced everyone to regard him as one of the NFL’s top running backs through his elite play. He’s a major factor for this team in the running and passing attacks and will likely see 25-to-30 touches if he gets cleared. It’s also worth noting that Adam Thielen will be back in action and presumably healthy and ready to go. The combination of Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, Thielen and Cook is not one to scoff at by any means. Defensively, the Vikings have played sound football all year, but will face a major test against one of the NFL’s deadliest offenses in one of the most hostile environments for a visiting defense. Overall, the Vikings rank 7th in offensive scoring (25.9 points per game) and 6th in defensive scoring (allowing 18.8 points per contest). 

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SAINTS

It seems a bit unfair for a 13-3 team to be subjected to a Wild Card game, but here we are. The Saints beat down the Carolina Panthers 42-10 in Week 17 and made a statement doing so, getting out to a 35-3 lead by halftime. Since returning from his thumb injury, Drew Brees has looked like the vintage version of himself and has led a dominant offense that includes Michael Thomas (who just set the record for the most single-season receptions in NFL history), Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Jared Cook and the multi-dimensional Taysom Hill. New Orleans has historically found success at home in the regular season and in the playoffs and went 6-2 in front of their fans this year. But, they’ve also squashed the narrative that their offense can’t translate to road success. The Saints have scored 34-plus points in six of the last seven games, three of which came on the road. Brees and company are simply on a roll and have been arguably the hottest offense in the NFL over the last half of the season. Overall, the Saints rank 5th in offensive scoring (27.7 points per game) and 14th in defensive scoring (allowing 22.1 points per contest). 

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PREDICTION

The Saints are the clear home favorite in this matchup and are fully expected to take care of business at home, where they’ve performed well this season (and historically). However, will they cover the spread and will the over or under hit?

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