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October 25, 2015 (11:00 AM ET)

There are two NFL picks today.
 

1) Take Minnesota Vikings (PK) against Detroit Lions for 3% of the bankroll.

The Lions finally snapped their losing streak and picked up their first win of the season last week against the Chicago Bears, but we believe they will get back to their losing ways this week as they take on their division rivals the Minnesota Vikings.

The last time these two teams met the Vikings put a hurting on Matthew Stafford, hitting him 8 times, sacking him once and sending him to the hospital to get X-Rays on his ribs. Minnesota has one of the best pressure packages on defense in the entire league with players like Everson Griffen, Brian Robinson and Anthony Barr rushing the quarterback. They also have one of the best press corners in the game in Xavier Rhodes who will likely line up opposite of Calvin Johnson in this contest. Johnson had a breakout game last week, connecting on a few long passes from Stafford. That was something we hadn't seen in quite some time and with Rhodes in coverage, we don't expect to see a repeat in this contest. The Vikings also have one of the most underrated safeties in the league in Harrison Smith. If the Vikings can continue to get pressure up front, Stafford has been known to make some questionable decisions.

The Detroit Lions rank dead last in the league in both turnovers (18) and turnover margin (-8). Stafford has been one of the biggest reasons for turning the ball over as he has 9 interceptions already this season which is tied for second most in the league at this point in the season. Ameer Abdullah also hasn't been producing as many expected and has fumbled the ball 4 times himself this season. Fumbling is contagious and 7 Lions players have lost at least 1 fumble this season. In this game, turnovers could be the deciding factor and the edge is clearly with the Vikings.

Adrian Peterson has always had success against the Vikings in his career and their last meeting was no different when he racked up 134 yards and could be in for another big game this afternoon against a Lions run defense that is 26th in the league and has already giving up 10 touchdowns on the ground this season. Peterson currently ranks 4th in the league in rushing yards and is closing in on 11,000 yards for his career. What's interesting is nearly 10% of those yards have come against the Detroit Lions! Peterson forces opposing defenses to greatly respect the run, which allows the Vikings passing game to develop. Teddy Bridgewater is in just his second year in the league, but he is a career 64.4% passer. The offense clearly runs through the ground game of Peterson, but Bridgewater has shown the ability to make the tough passes in critical situations and will only get better the more experience he gains. Even if AP doesn't play (he's questionable), Mike Zimmer has very good backup RBs in Matt Asiata and Jerick Mckinnon who are both able to impact the game as evidence against the Chiefs last Sunday.

The Lions may have picked up the win last week, but their problems are far from over. They needed some late game heroics and a near miracle catch by Calvin Johnson to beat the Bears, who are one of the worst teams in the league! The Vikings have a much better defense than the Bears with the likes of Captain Munnerlyn and Anthony Barr. The Lions beat a poor team in overtime and while that was nice for them, they're facing a much tougher test this afternoon. There is a reason why the Vikings are just one of 5 teams with a winning record in their conference at this point in the season. They are a team that is largely overlooked, but they are a fundamentally sound football team. The Lions simply have too many issues on both the offensive and defensive side of the football. The Vikings are the better overall team and should pick up an important road win in this one to remain in playoff contention.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Detroit is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 home games.
  • Minnesota is 11-2 ATS after their previous game has gone 'under' the set total.
  • Lions are 8-20 ATS after gaining 7+ yards per play in their previous game!
  • Detroit is a dismal 0-12 ATS since November 2011 after a game where they allowed at least seven points more than expected.
     

2) Take the UNDER 45.5 total points in Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers for 3% of the bankroll.

Despite their different styles, both the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers are similar teams in that they both prefer to run the ball and focus on playing sound defense and that’s a good thing because both teams have shown issues on the offensive side of the ball.

Chip Kelly thought he was trading for his "quarterback of the future" but Sam Bradford has been absolutely terrible under center. He has been one of the most turnover prone quarterbacks in the league and it simply looks like he cannot make the throws required to play at this level. He has the lowest QBR in the league at just 32. Meanwhile, Cam Newton appears to be a one man show out there and that's mostly because he is. Besides TE Greg Olsen, Newton really doesn't have any other playmakers on his offense. 

The Eagles run defense has been terrific this season and should be able to contain both Jonathan Stewart and most importantly Cam Newton. This will force the Panthers to move the ball through the air and with their options at receiver limited, it will likely make things difficult for the Panthers to finish drives. We have seen in the past where the Panthers have been able to move the ball relatively well, but their offense will often stall forcing Graham Gano to march on the field and kick a field goal. That’s the way we see this one going. Ron Rivera is a defense first type of guy as a former linebacker and generally conservative with play-calls.

On the same note, the Carolina defense is starting to get healthier and with Luke Keuchly back in the lineup, he instantly boosts the linebacking corps. The Carolina defense has been solid on the run and that will be instrumental in this contest as Bradford has shown inconsistency at the QB position in the passing game, despite his receivers being able to create separation. It's also worth mentioning that Riley cooper is banged up and so whether he'll play or not, he likely won't be at his best. The very fact that he's been Bradford's most reliable target says a lot about this offense however.

We don't see a lot of offensive touchdowns being scored in this game. The Eagles offense has the potentially to be explosive, yet we haven't really seen much from them this season. While the Panthers still have a much better defense than offense. If Eagles can slow down Gregg Olsen, this offense doesn't have a lot going for it. This will be a lower scoring game than people expect and one that is decided by field position and field goals and will fall under the total. Both teams run the ball plenty with the likes of Stewart and Murray and that slows the game down and takes time off the clock.




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