RedZone Sports’ Steve Baumohl with his best bets for this week’s NFL action
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
A quick look back at these teams’ earlier meeting would find that the wrong team lost.
The Lions were thoroughly outplayed by the Vikings but three costly fumbles and Dalvin Cooks’ injury swung the pendulum late on in Detroit’s favour.
Detroit again comes off another game where they were out-gained in total yards and yards-per-play but that’s not going to happen again against this Vikings team.
Minnesota are playing great football on both sides of the ball and produced a dominant performance against the high-scoring Rams.
The Lions’ backfield will have a tough time against the Vikings’ stout run defence, which has yielded 3.40 yards per carry, whilst Matt Stafford will likely need to play mistake-free football as Minnesota are also permitting the league’s fourth-fewest receiving yards.
On the other side, although the Lions are strong in the secondary and disciplined as a unit, their biggest weakness is on the ground and I fully expect both Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon to have a solid outing.
The Minnesota offensive line has been excellent, giving up only one sack per game and I think this will prove to be the difference maker.
Detroit’s lacklustre pass rush should help create opportunities for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen deep downfield but the player most likely to benefit may be Kyle Rudolph.
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys
Dallas play their second home game inside five days and after getting blown out by the Eagles, will now host the Chargers, who come to town hoping to pile on more misery on America’s team.
The return of left-tackle Tyron Smith will provide Dallas’ offence with a much-needed boost against dangerous Los Angeles outside rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram but this remains a daunting match for Dak Prescott.
The Chargers rank third in the league in sacks, fourth in interceptions and with perimeter CBs Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams’ stingy coverage, they have allowed the NFL’s eighth-fewest yards to wide receivers.
Phillip Rivers comes off his best performance of the season in last week's trouncing of the Bills. He again draws a plus match-up here as the cowboys are allowing the NFL’s seventh-most touchdown passes (18) and eighth-highest passer rating (96.3).
I'd also look to Keenan Allen to have a big game as Dallas have showed all season to be vulnerable to slot receivers. Allen runs half of his routes in the slot and can build on his terrific game against Buffalo.
New York Giants at Washington Redskins
New York produced one of the shocks of the season as they knocked off the Chiefs in overtime last week. Can they shock the Redskins? I'm not so sure.
Alex Smith handed the game on a plate to the giants last week and they now face a far superior quarterback in Kirk Cousins.
Cousins has been single-handily willing his team to victory in the last few weeks whilst playing behind a sub-par offensive line.
He is a tenacious competitor and as showed last week he can go toe-to-toe with the best quarterbacks in the league.
He currently ranks second in 20-plus-yard completions, while Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defence has given up the league’s third-most pass plays of 20-plus yards.
The Redskins' season is on the line here and whilst there may be some emotional hangover from the overtime loss to the Saints, I think they will put in a full effort here in front of their own fans.
Minnesota -2.5 v Detroit 5/6
LA Chargers win v Dallas 20/23
Washington -7 v NY Giants 10/11