Sports

NFL Week 16 over/under plays to target: Vikings’ offense will roll

VSiN’s NFL expert dives into the Over/Unders on a couple of Sunday games. 

Rams (-3, 48.5) at Vikings

The Vikings got some tough news Thursday that Dalvin Cook hit the COVID-19 list. It could be a blessing in disguise, though, as Minnesota boasts a top-10 pass attack by DVOA and grades very poorly in the run game. It is hard to do anything against the stout Rams defense, but attacking Los Angeles with Justin Jefferson and possibly Adam Thielen is likely to be a far better strategy. 

Minnesota will have to contend with Cooper Kupp and a Rams offense able to function in the climate-controlled environment of U.S. Bank Stadium, away from the wintry mix and cold conditions outside. This is a tricky spot for the Rams, who just played Tuesday against Seattle, and now have back-to-back long road trips against the Vikings and Ravens. That could lead to a little bit of defensive fatigue. 

Los Angeles does have an impressive set of defensive numbers, but better offenses have moved the ball. The Cardinals had 465 and 447 yards in the two meetings. The Bucs had 446. The Packers had 399. The Vikings are closer to those types of teams than the Titans, Jaguars, Seahawks or Texans. 

Justin Jefferson
AP

One thing that has held Minnesota back offensively has been third down, but the Rams’ defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in that department. Minnesota also has the third-ranked red-zone offense and the 22nd-ranked red-zone defense. 

With two teams likely to try to move the ball through the air, I think we’ll get some points in Minneapolis on Sunday. 

Pick: Over 48.5. 

Bears at Seahawks (-6.5, 41.5)

The Bears and Seahawks have nothing to play for Sunday, but playing out the string, combined with the chill of Mother Nature, should be enough to make a low-scoring game out of this battle. 

The weather has been rough in Seattle throughout the week, as the city dealt with coastal flooding Thursday and was expected to replace that with snow by the weekend. Both of these teams are accustomed to playing in poor conditions, but it won’t make football any fun on Sunday with temperatures around 30 and flakes flying around. Not only that, but these are two pretty bad offenses. The Bears rank 28th in yards per play and the Seahawks are 18th, but a lot of that has to do with some big plays for DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Quietly, the Bears are ninth in yards per play against, but have forced only 12 takeaways, so they’ve struggled to create those big plays. 

Chicago knows Matt Nagy is in a lame-duck head-coaching situation. The Seahawks will retain Pete Carroll, unless he or the team feels as if a change is needed. This is a Seattle team that is among the worst in the NFL on third down and only has 34 red-zone trips to show for 14 games of action. 

Matt Nagy
Matt Nagy
Getty Images

Points will be hard to come by in this game between the weather and two inefficient offenses. There just won’t be a lot of energy for this game. 

Pick: Under 41.5. 



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