Minnesota Vikings (5-3) at Washington Redskins (4-3-1)
When the Vikings were 5-0 on the strength of a +11 turnover margin and a +4 return touchdown margin, two things that tend to be unsustainable, I thought they were the most overrated team in the league. Since then, they’ve lost all 3 games, all in upset fashion, against the Eagles, Bears, and Lions. Over those 3 games, they were +1 in turnover margin and -1 in return touchdown margin, which made a huge difference and exposed one of the most stagnant offenses in the league. They have a great defense, but they’ll never be anything more than an average team unless they can move the ball consistently. In their 3 losses, they scored just 36 points, which could be a sign of things to come.
However, now after those 3 losses, the Vikings aren’t really overrated anymore. In fact, the 4-3-1 Redskins are a little bit more overrated, as they enter this game 26th in first down rate differential, as opposed to 19th for the Vikings. That’s largely thanks to a defense that ranks 30th in first down rate allowed. Their offense ranks 6th in first down rate, but, overall, but they’ve been a mediocre team at best this season. Their only win by more than a touchdown came at home against the Browns, a game in which they didn’t even play that well, allowing 26 first downs. We’re not getting great line value or anything with the Vikings as mere 2.5 point road underdogs in Washington, but they’re the pick in pick ‘em pools.
Washington Redskins 20 Minnesota Vikings 19
Pick against the spread: Minnesota +2.5