SNF NFL Picks: Everything Points To 'Under' In Giants-Vikings Game

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, December 24, 2015 2:06 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 2:06 PM GMT

The New York Giants will know by the time they take the field Sunday night in Minneapolis whether they still have a chance to make the playoffs. Vikings are -5.5 on the NFL odds.

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NFL Pick: Under 45.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Playoff Scenarios
Actually, New York will know by about midnight or so on Saturday night/Sunday morning whether it still has a shot at the playoffs. The Giants (6-8) can only claim the NFC East title by winning out and if the Washington Redskins lose Saturday night in Philadelphia, with the Eagles as 3-point favorites on NFL odds, and then Week 17 in Dallas. Seems hard to imagine the Redskins losing to the sad Cowboys, but Washington is also 1-5 on the road this season and QB Kirk Cousins has been one of the NFL's worst road QBs (compared to one of best at home). If Washington beats Philly, it's moot for New York. The Giants close at home against the Eagles.

Minnesota (9-5) clinches at least a wild-card spot with a win OR a Falcons loss earlier Sunday at home to unbeaten Carolina (which is a 7-point favorite) OR a Seattle win at home vs. St. Louis (Seahawks at -13.5). The Vikes could play for the NFC North title in Week 17 at Green Bay. Basically, the only way Minnesota isn't going to the playoffs is if it finishes in three-way tie with Seattle and Atlanta at 9-7.

One more thing to note: unless the Vikings do win the division, this will be their final game outdoors at the University of Minnesota. They move into a spectacular new domed stadium next year. Well, it's unlike any domed roof you have ever seen.

I'm glad I was asked to recommend only the total on this game because the side obviously 100 percent depends on what happens Saturday night. Expect the spread to grow if New York is eliminated.

 

Giants Missing Best Offensive Threat
The big news in the NFL last week was the one-on-one spat between Giants superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Carolina Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman in Week 15. Beckham acted  like a spoiled brat all game, a 38-35 Giants loss, and collected three personal fouls. The NFL admitted this week the refs on site should have ejected him at one point. In a way, the Giants would have been better off had that happened as Beckham has been suspended for this game. He probably doesn't get that if ejected. Beckham did appeal and you are hearing reports that the Panthers were taunting and threatening Beckham before the game. Whatever. There's still no excuse for Beckham to act as he did, even if Panthers players were talking about his mama all day. Be a man and play through it.

So presuming that appeal isn't successful, that's obviously a huge loss for the Giants. Beckham has 91 catches for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has caught at least one touchdown pass in five straight games . Last week he was held under 100 yards -- his antics helped keep him without a catch in the first half -- for the first time since Oct. 25.

He's a weapon unlike any other and that Giants offense won't be the same without him. New York already can't run the ball. Think the Vikings will fear Reuben Randle? It's a huge break for a Minnesota defense that ranks No. 13 overall and No. 7 against the pass. And that Vikings defense is likely to get back a few starters. Linebacker Anthony Barr and safety Harrison Smith were back on the practice field this week after each missed the past two games. So was nose tackle Linval Joseph, who has been out for the past three games.

The Vikings' best offensive player is obviously running back Adrian Peterson, who leads the NFL with 1,314 rushing yards after missing all but one game last year due to suspension. He's a lock to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year unless voters decide to penalize him for that child abuse charge. He sprained his ankle in last week's blowout win over Chicago but says he's playing this week. The Giants are No. 21 against the run, allowing 114.6 yards per game.

Minnesota isn't a great offense when Peterson isn't going because second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater is still a bit inconsistent. He had the best game of his career last week, however, completing 17-for-20 for 231 yards and four touchdowns and also rushing for a score against the Bears. Bridgewater does have seven games this year throwing for less than 200  yards. The Vikings aren't a flashy team at all. Ground and pound and win with ball control and defense.

New York is 8-5-1 against the spread on NFL picks this season and 9-5 'over/under.' Minnesota is 11-3 ATS and 3-10-1 O/U.

 

Last Meeting
The Giants have never faced Bridgewater as they last faced the Vikings in Week 7 of the 2013 season and won 23-7 in the Meadowlands. The very forgettable Josh Freeman started that Monday night for Minnesota and was terrible, going 20-for-53 for 190 yards and a pick. Peterson was held to 28 yards on 13 carries. Eli Manning threw for 200 yards and a score. Randle caught it. Beckham was still at LSU then.

It's going to be very cold Sunday, in the single digits by kickoff. There's a 10 percent chance of snow. With that on top of no Beckham and a conservative Minnesota team, go 'under' the total. The 'under' is 11-5 in New York's past 16 road games against teams with a winning home record. The 'under' is 6-2 in Minnesota's past eight at home. 

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