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January 21, 2018

There is one pick today. It was released back on Wednesday!

Take Minnesota Vikings -3 spread against Philadelphia Eagles for 3% of the bankroll.

These are the two best teams in the NFC and both built the right way. They rely on a stout defense and a balanced offense. Mike Zimmer and Doug Pederson both deserve a lot of credit for the tremendous job they've done. When it comes down to it though, we believe the Vikings have the edge on both sides of the ball. They are the #1 defense in the NFL and offensively also have more going for them than the Carson Wentz-less Eagles. This should be a closely contested game for the most part but we believe the visitors will pull away and cover the short spread in the process as they become the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl game!

Some people talk about Case Keenum and Nick Foles as if they're one and the same. They see two journeymen who've traditionally been backup signal-callers in their careers and write them both off. We tend to disagree. Keenum has always had that personality about him that makes him a 'winner'. It took him a while to find his footing in the NFL and grow comfortable but he has the confidence it takes as well as the courage to succeed at this level. What really gives him the edge over Foles today however is not superior skill as much as it is being comfortable on the big stage. The fact is that Keenum has been Minnesota's QB since Week 2 basically! He's been at the helm basically the entire season and has taken leadership of this offense. The players believe in him and he believes in himself having taken them to the playoffs. The same can't be said about Nick Foles. It was Carson Wentz (an MVP candidate) that led the Eagles to the #1 seed in the NFC and not Foles. He's basically had to come in cold after a brutal injury threatened to derail Philadelphia's season and revive hope. They've managed to 'survive' with him under center so far but we believe it'll be too tall an ask today against the best defense in the NFL! If Foles had been the quarterback since at least mid-season, this could be different but he's still very much getting comfortable with his new role and needs more reps with his receivers. We believe he's incapable of replacing Carson Wentz whereas Keenum has filled in admirably all season for Sam Bradford and proven that he is #1 on the depth chart at the most important position.

Given that both teams have excellent defenses, it could well be QB play (as it often is) that determines which of these two sides heads to the Super Bowl. Case Keenum is better equipped to deal with the task at hand in our opinion and has Pat Schurmur to thank for that. The Vikings offensive coordinator has done a marvellous job with the players at his disposal and has every one of them playing better than they were projected to. Adam Thielen has gone from an undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowl type of receiver while Stefon Diggs was never supposed to be a stud WR when coming out of college. Kyle Rudolph has also become one of the better red zone threats among TE's while the RB tandem of Murray and McKinnon is better than most people realize. All in all, this is a pretty good offense and one that can hurt the opposition in a number of ways and let's not forget that Keenum himself can be a mobile QB and scramble for key first downs if running lanes open up.

Nick Foles is a good backup quarterback but hasn't had enough time to fully get comfortable before these big games come up. Had the Wentz injury happened earlier in the season, he might have been better prepared for the big challenge ahead. It's worth noting that since Foles took over from Wentz, the Eagles offense has averaged 22.7 points per game compared to 31.1 with Wentz at helm! That is a huge drop-off and right on cue with a number of other significant declines. Philly's offense is also averaging 297 yards per game compared to just over 390 with their franchise QB! And when it comes to 3rd-downs which is often what decides the games, they've gone from making it 45% of the time with Wentz to just 32.5% with Foles! Now facing the best 3rd down defense in the league, we believe Foles will find it tough to consistently move the chains.

The Eagles have had a great season and will look back upon this as a learning experience. They were dealt a tough blow losing their most important player so late in the season! This is Minnesota's year and the 'Miracle in Minneapolis' that took place on the final play of the game against the Saints proves it. It was a moment of pure magic and also madness and it is often such plays that propel a team to greater heights. We believe Mike Zimmer whose team has been hit by injuries over the last few years finally gets over the hump and proceeds to host the Super Bowl in a couple of week's time. They have the better offense and defense and should find a way to make it through. 

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