Minnesota Vikings (6-1) at Washington Commanders (4-4)
Going into the season, the Vikings were one of my top underrated teams and I expected a significant improvement in win total from their 7-9 and 8-9 finishes from the previous two seasons, due to better coaching on offense and likely better health on defense. So far, the Vikings are 6-1 and exceeding most people’s expectations, but that also haven’t played quite as well as that would suggest, with five of their six wins coming by eight points or fewer and their one loss coming by 17, giving them a point differential of +29, which is good, but not as good as their record would suggest.
The Vikings have also benefited significantly from turnovers, ranking tied for 2nd best in the NFL with a +6 turnover margin, which is not predictive week-to-week. In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Vikings rank just 15th, about a half point above average. The Commanders also haven’t played as well as their record though, as their four wins have come by a combined 14 points and their four losses have come by a combined 44 points, giving them a point differential of -30 that ranks 5th worst in the NFL.
With both teams not as good as their records, I actually think this line, favoring the visiting Vikings by a field goal is about right. My calculated line suggests the Vikings are more likely to cover this number than the Commanders, but not by much and the most likely outcome may be a push, given how many games are decided by exactly a field goal. I’m taking the Vikings at -3, but I would take the Commanders at +3.5.
Minnesota Vikings 23 Washington Commanders 20
Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3