Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
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 4 straight games. Over those 4 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. Now at 5-4, they’re not really overrated anymore, but we’re still getting good value with the visiting Arizona Cardinals in this game because the Cardinals have been significantly better than their record this season.
Despite a 4-4-1 record, the Cardinals rank 5th in the NFL with a +42 point differential. They also rank 1st in first down rate differential, which they also led the league in last season when they went 13-3. This year, they could easily be 7-2 if not for special teams mistakes against New England, Seattle, and Los Angeles and they have won the first down rate battle in 8 of 9 games. Despite that, we’re still getting 2 points with them in Minnesota against the Vikings, who rank 19th in first down rate differential. The Vikings are also in a tough spot as they have to turn around and play on Thursday Night Football next week on Thanksgiving. Favorites are just 50-82 ATS since 2008 before Thursday Night Football. The Cardinals are worth betting on this week, though I’d be more confident in them if I knew gametime decision Tyrann Mathieu was going to play, after missing last week with a shoulder injury.
Arizona Cardinals 20 Minnesota Vikings 16 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: Arizona +2