Thursday Night GreenZone - Minnesota Vikings at LA Rams
[6.6 Units] Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Los Angeles Rams
6.6 Units – MIN +7 or more
4.4 Units – MIN +6.5
No Action – MIN +6 or less
We got the ship righted and started stacking those units last Sunday with a 4-1 day. The systems were overflowing with value this week and pending a couple more days of injury reports and analysis, it looks like we could be on anywhere from 7 to 9 games this week. Things get started for us tonight with a GreenZone play out West on the visiting Minnesota Vikings.
The public is absolutely in love with the Rams right now, and for good reason. They have basically been a buzz saw for the first three weeks of the season outside of a slow first half start in Week 1. Their offense has looked complete and they have been able to avoid mistakes. Defensively, the offseason additions came in and produced at the levels most would have anticipated. The only slight issue with those aforementioned additions is two of them are not playing tonight. Both Talib and Peters are inactive, leaving the Rams without both of their shiny new cornerbacks. To say this impacts the level of defense they are putting out on the field is an understatement. Minnesota, who many tabbed as a Super Bowl favorite to start the year, laid an absolute stinker last week. They are now 1-1-1 after getting smashed by the Bills and tying the divisional rival, Green Bay. If Minny would have taken care of business last week, we think this line would probably be more in the 3 to 3.5-point range tonight.
So, was the performance last week by Minnesota a true reflection of their ability or just a mirage, that is the question. Taking a deeper look at where things went wrong last week gave us a lot of confidence in the value the systems were spitting out. The strip sacks that created the early lead for the Bills were all a result of pressure off the left side of the offensive line by Jerry Hughes. We mention Hughes because he is currently the #1 rated Pro Football Focus edge rusher in the NFL…ahead of Khalil Mack, Von Miller, et al. Reiff at LT for the Vikings looked like he was on ice skates all day and it greatly impacted the outcome of the game with the turnovers and lack of time for Cousins to push the ball vertically down the field. We don’t foresee that being an issue tonight. As good as the interior of the Rams defensive line is, they are very weak at defensive end and outside linebackers. They are actually 30th in the league in adjusted sack rate as calculated by Football Outsiders. Combine that relative lack of pass rush with two back up corners vs. Diggs, Thielen, and co. and we think there is a strong chance that Minnesota doesn’t completely piss away the game on offense like they did last week. Further, we think the defense taking the field for Minny is better than that of the Rams. The scoring they gave up last week was much more a result of short fields and a rapid burst of sudden change of possession than it was their actual ability. We know Griffin not playing for Minny hurts a bit, but they still have plenty of pass rush and run stoppers to complement their stud safeties and corners.
Our models see this as a 3 to 4-point game and we think the caveats in the data actually are a net positive to Minny given the difficulty in replacing two starting corners at this point in the season. Trust the system and take the points.