By: Maximilian Carroll
Spread: Minnesota (-9)
Kickoff: 1:00 EST, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis MN
This is an exciting interconference game between 2 teams that we don’t necessarily know much about. The Vikings need a win after a tough loss to the Packers last week, and the Raiders have an opportunity to take advantage of a beleaguered Kirk Cousins. It’s tough to watch the recent struggles of Cousins, but this Raiders secondary is last in the league in passing yards per game allowed. This could very well be a get-well game for him, as the Raiders’ defense has struggled overall. This game should go a long way towards showing us the true identity of each team.
The Raiders have looked better than what I had initially anticipated this season, I’ll give them that. They came out week 1 and beat the Broncos and started week 2 with a 10-0 lead over the Chiefs, but ultimately got manhandled in the 2nd quarter, losing 28-10. Josh Jacobs looks like the real deal and has given Oakland a rushing attack they didn’t have last year. On top of that, they’ve kept Carr clean, only allowing 3 sacks in the first 2 games. On the other side of the ball they haven’t looked as prepared. Mahomes torched them with the combination of Demarcus Robinson, yes Demarcus Robinson, and Travis Kelce. They are going to have an issue with Thielen, Diggs, and Rudolph. They are still towards the bottom of the league in offensive yards per game (332). Until that changes, they are going to struggle winning games.
The Vikings completely dominated the Falcons in the first game and then laid an egg against the Pack. For whatever reason, Cousins fails to show up in big games. Lucky for him, this game is at 1 pm against an out-of-conference opponent. Dalvin Cook looks like he is an early season MVP candidate with the way he’s running the football. Because of his hot start, the Vikings are currently 2nd in the league with 185 yards per game rushing. This takes the pressure off Cousins, but they need to come out and put up points right away. If the Vikings allow the Raiders to stick around it could be dangerous. Look for them to try and control this game with the rushing attack, but they should be able to throw if they need to. They are only throwing for 160 yards/game. They won’t be able to win games if that continues. I believe they try to get Cousins going against this porous secondary.
Analysis and Prediction
The Vikings shouldn’t have a problem winning this game at home, but if the Raiders can come out and put up some points early, like they did against the Chiefs, things could get dicey. I don’t see the Vikings running away from anyone due to the fact that Cousins is unreliable. They Vikings are going to have to clean up the penalties as well. The Raiders +9 is the play for me. I don’t think the Vikings are good enough to be a 9-point favorite.