Strong Defenses & One Dimensional Offenses Lead to Rams/Vikings Under 40 NFL Pick

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 1:23 AM GMT

We’re going to do an early examination of Sunday’s game between St. Louis and Minnesota. Go inside to read this in depth betting preview article concluded by an NFL pick on the total.

Battle of Potential NFC Playoff Contenders
The Vikings (5-2) host the Rams (4-3) on Sunday in a key NFC matchup. The opening kickoff at TCF Bank Stadium is slated for 1:00 PM ET. Minnesota currently holds down the final wild card spot in the NFC, and St. Louis is right on their tail. Of course there’s still a lot of football left to be played, but I wouldn’t be shocked whatsoever to see both of these teams in playoff contention come late December and early January.

 

The Betting Focus
I’m going to be honing in on the total in this contest. Current (11/3) NFL odds indicate this total to be between 39.5 and 40.0. These teams met in their 2014 season openers, and Minnesota came away with a 34-6 blowout win at St. Louis. That contest stayed under the total of 43.5.

 

The Offenses
Both of these offenses rely heavily on their running games. Specifically they depend on star running backs. The Rams are currently #30 in total offense and Minnesota is #29.

Rams rookie Todd Gurley was on the inactive list for the first four games this season. He made his debut in Week 5 against Pittsburgh, and had an unimpressive outing, rushing for just 9 yards on 6 carries. However, since that time, he’s been sensational. Gurley has ran for 566 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Rams last four games. During that stretch he’s averaged over 6 yards per rushing attempt.

Adrian Peterson missed 15 of Minnesota’s 16 games last season, and needless to say, he was sorely missed. Since returning this year, Peterson has rushed for 633 yards in the Vikings first seven games.

 

The Defenses
St. Louis enters this week #6 in total defense, and Minnesota is #7.

The Rams defense has been lights out over its previous three games. During that stretch they’ve allowed an average of 12.0 points and 291.7 yards per contest. They were particularly strong against the run during that three game span, allowing an average of only 68.7 yards per contest, and a paltry 2.9 yards per attempt. All three of those contests stayed under the total, and there was a combined average of only 32.3 points scored per game. One thing that’s been consistent since their opening game has been the pass rush. St. Louis has sacked the quarterback 26 times in their first seven games. That equates to 59 sacks over a 16 game slate, and that would’ve led the NFL in that category a season ago.

The Vikings defense isn’t quite as daunting as Sunday’s upcoming opponent, but it’s still pretty darn good nonetheless. They’ve been especially stout against the run in their last three games. During that time span, Minnesota has held opponents to just 77.0 rushing yards per game. The Vikings have gone 6-1 under the total this season, and that includes 3-0 at home.

 

Final Thoughts & Pick
Both defenses in this game are outstanding at stopping the run, and as I alluded to already, each offense relies on their rushing attacks. Neither one of these offenses are built to succeed even on a small degree when being behind the chains. I like this game to be a low scoring defensive struggle, and one of my NFL picks this week will be indicative of that prediction.

NFL Picks: Play on under the total of 40 at SportsBetting

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