NFL International Series Best Bets Present Vikings vs. Saints Week 4 Faceoff in London

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Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball against the Detroit Lions. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP.

For a third time, Minnesota and New Orleans will be making a London appearance. They were both across the pond five years ago but did not face each other.

These squads last squared off in 2020, with the Saints winning a wild one 52-33 at home as 6.5-point favorites on Christmas Day.

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Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints

Sunday, October 2, 2022 – 09:30 AM EDT at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Strengths of Minnesota

Unquestionably, it is the offense that will be the reason the Vikings can possibly win the NFC North. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has talked about new coach Kevin O'Connell’s offense in glowing terms since he was hired.

Everything is more open and less restrictive than the previous regime. This gives him more options to work the ball to Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn or the tight ends.

Though New Orleans is not necessarily an easy team to run on, Minnesota should feature Dalvin Cook (if healthy after leaving the game last week) more in the run game than they have which can only benefit the passing offense.

Weaknesses of Minnesota

While changes were made in the defense to improve on last year’s 30th ranking in yards allowed, thus far the impact has been minimal.

The Vikes run defense remains an issue after permitting 4.7 yards a carry a year ago and is slightly worse this season. The defensive line is doing too much catching and not enough attacking and linebackers are getting caught up five yards downfield to make tackles.

When the secondary is matching up in zone, there are just too many holes that are exposed and with the quality of pass catchers, New Orleans has those assets that could become an issue.

Strengths of New Orleans

After a laisse faire showing against Atlanta, the Saints' defense came to play against Tampa Bay and really only made one mistake, a fourth-quarter touchdown on Tampa Bay’s lone offensive touchdown.

The defense didn’t play poorly in the loss at Carolina, but they didn’t play well either and they will have to step up their urgency to prevent a 1-3 start.

Weaknesses of New Orleans

Jameis Winston is dealing with injuries, but he’s also back to being careless with the ball like he was at Tampa. No doubt his decision-making is poor and he is lacking stabilizing presence like Sean Payton was.

Nonetheless, the offensive line and play-calling leave a lot to be desired. The Saints are averaging 20 runs per game and 38 pass attempts.

That’s a bad mix for any quarterback not named Brady, and that is especially so for QBs like Winston who throws too many dangerous passes and is so much better when he can throw within the flow of the offense rather out of necessity.

The play-caller has to do a better understanding of what he has and the offensive line coach has to light a fire for this underperforming group.

What To Watch for and Expect in London

Following the NFL odds, Minnesota opened as a 1.5-point favorite betting favorite and moved to 2.5, with a total of 44.5 at the majority of top-rated sportsbooks.

Though the Vikings hardly gave a sterling performance against Detroit, they turned it on offensively and defensively late against the Lions to win last week.

New Orleans is playing a lot like the 0-3 Raiders. No zip in their step, going through the motions and lacking in any urgency.

In football, seemingly one play can change a team’s fortunes in any game as we have often seen, nevertheless, they still have to cash in on its opportunities. The Saints keep repeatedly having something positive happen and don’t take advantage of the circumstance.

With that in mind, Minnesota appears the safer choice for NFL picks in jolly old England to start your football Sunday.

NFL Pick: Minnesota -2.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Minnesota -2.5 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.