Let’s go ahead and call the first Monday night game of NFL Week 1 the Adrian Peterson Bowl as the future Hall of Famer and current New Orleans Saint wants to stick it to the Vikings after they decided not to pick up his option this past offseason. Although New Orleans have Peterson, the Saints are underdogs on Monday night. So, will Peterson make a difference?
New Orleans at Minnesota NFL Week 1 Lines, Preview & PredictionWatchESPNOpening NFL Week 1 Lines: Vikings -3.5 (48)
- Clear: 23°C/73°F
- Humidity: 55%
- Precipitation: 11%
- Wind: 8 mph WNW
- Cloud Cover: 6%
- Type of Stadium: Indoor
Why Bet On New Orleans?Peterson certainly is motivated to have a big game. The 32-year-old Peterson is coming off a miserable, injury-plagued season in which he carried 37 times for 72 yards. The Vikings smartly opted not to exercise his $18 million player option. He didn’t find many takers on the market before New Orleans swooped in with a two-year offer to share tailback duties with Mark Ingram.“In my mind, we’re starting and ending the season in Minnesota (where Super Bowl is held),” Peterson said. “Of course I want to stick it to them. I want to stick it to everyone we play. But going back to Minnesota, playing the Vikings? Yeah, I want to stick it to them.”Peterson spent the first decade of his career with the Vikings after they made him the seventh-overall pick in 2007. In Minnesota, Peterson racked up 11,747 rushing yards and 97 rushing touchdowns — more than any other player in that span. He won MVP in 2012. However, an unceremonious end for No. 28 included 28 missed games to suspension and injury in his last three seasons.
How Well Has Brees Done Against Minnesota?Since January 2010, Drew Brees has played the Vikings four times and won all of those games. He has completed 103 of 142 passes (72.5 percent) for 1,139 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. His only game in Minnesota came in 2011, when he completed 80 percent of his passes (32 of 40) for 412 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in a 42-20 blowout win at the Metrodome.The Saints offense ranked first in yards per game (426) and second in points per game (29.3) last season. This is the Saints’ first game at U.S. Bank Stadium, host of this year’s Super Bowl. Nearly all of the Saints have never played at U.S. Bank Stadium, but the team won’t be walking in blind. New Orleans has already put together a scouting report on the stadium, including the problems presented by the sun (at least early in the game) coming through the glass-paneled ceiling.The Saints are without starting WR Willie Snead for the first three games to due suspension. Thus tight end Coby Fleener’s role should expand. Coming off a disappointing first year in New Orleans, Fleener did not do much in the preseason.
Why Bet On Minnesota?The man leading the Vikings committee replacing Peterson, rookie Dalvin Cook, couldn’t get a more eventful NFL debut. The Vikings are also honoring legendary receiver Randy Moss in the Ring of Honor during a nationally televised game. Moss is second all-time in team history in receptions (587), receiving yards (9,316) and receiving touchdowns (92) and was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010.Cook, who was selected with the Vikings top selection in the 2017 NFL Draft (41st overall) will make his debut in Week 1 while sharing the backfield with veteran RBs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Behind a retooled offensive line, Vikings QB Sam Bradford looks to improve on his career highs from last season in completions (395), passing yards (3,877) and passer rating (99.3) while completing 71.6 percent of his passes, a new NFL record.
What About the Minnesota Defense?But the Vikings generally win with defense. Last year, that unit ranked third in yards allowed per game (314.9) in 2016; Minnesota also was sixth in points allowed per game (19.2). The defensive group saw five players named to the Pro Bowl last season — LB Anthony Barr, DE Everson Griffen, DE Linval Joseph, CB Xavier Rhodes and S Harrison Smith — tied for the second-most in any single unit, offense or defense, in the NFL. Rhodes registered a breakout season with a career-best five INTs, the most by a Vikings CB since 2005 (Brian Williams). DE Danielle Hunter became the youngest player ever to lead the Vikings in sacks with 12.5 at age 22 in 2016.If it comes down to a field goal, the Vikings have to feel good. Kai Forbath has made 15 straight fieldgoals after joining the Vikings in November; Forbath, who played in 10 games for the Saints in 2015, won the kicking gig this offseason by beating out Marshall Koehn.
- Total Meetings: 31
- First Meeting: October 13th, 1968. Tulane Stadium. New Orleans, Louisiana
- Last Meeting: September 21, 2014. Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans, Louisiana
- All-Time Series: Minnesota 20-11-0
- Largest Margin of Victory: Minnesota 45-3 (1988)
- Longest Win Streak: Minnesota 6 (1970-1978)
- Current Win Streak: New Orleans (2010-2014)
Latest NFL Week 1 Betting Trends
- New Orleans is 9-3-1 ATS in the last 13 games
- New Orleans is 2-4 SU in the last 6 games on the road
- The total went OVER in 4 of New Orleans’s last 6 games
- Minnesota is 14-7 ATS in the last 21 games
- Minnesota is 3-8 SU in the last 11 games
- The total went UNDER in 6 of Minnesota’s last 9 games at home