Rams vs. Vikings NFL Week 16 Preview and Best Bet

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Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP.

The Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings face a quick turnaround as they gear up for their Week 16 tilt at the U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. The Vikings turned in a winning performance against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football while the Los Angeles Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks on a rare Tuesday Night Football showdown after their Sunday game was rescheduled for later in the week due to the coronavirus outbreak within both camps.

The Vikings are hoping to clinch a wildcard spot in the playoffs while the Rams are giving the Cardinals chase for the NFC West title as well a spot in the playoffs. A lot is at stake for both teams, prompting top-rated sportsbooks to roll out a competitive NFL betting line. The Rams enter the game as the 3.5-point favorites, but the Vikings will be at home, and as notorious dangerous floaters, they’ll fancy their chances.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Minnesota Vikings 

Sunday, December 26, 2021 – 01:00 PM EST at U.S. Bank Stadium

Rams Crush Seahawks

The Los Angeles Rams closed the gap on the Arizona Cardinals at the top of the table following a Week 15 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams beat their division rivals 20-10 at the jam-packed SoFi Stadium on Tuesday night.

It’s been a trying and emotionally exhausting week for the Rams. Almost 30 players spanning the first team and practice squad were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week, threatening to upend their weekend clash with the Seahawks. The NFL decided in the spirit of fair play and level competition, it would reschedule the game until Tuesday.

Fortunately for Sean McVay’s side, the delay and uncertainty didn’t impact the outcome. Not only did they win the game, but they did so handily. The Rams covered for NFL picks ATS as the touchdown favorites quite comfortably in the 10-point margin of victory.

"This was a heavy week navigating all the things we went through," McVay said after the game. "This was a big-time win for our team."

The Rams improved to a 10-4 record on the season, drawing level with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West standings. The Cardinals, however, have the edge with a series sweep over the Rams. If Los Angeles is to win the NFC West title, it will need to win out and hope Arizona stumbles along the way somewhere over the course of the last three games.

Helping the Rams to victory was the reinstatement of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and linebacker Von Miller. Matthew Stafford got off to a shaky start but he recovered in the second half and finished with 21 of 29 passes for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 interception. He connected with Cooper Kupp for both touchdowns as the star wide receiver padded his resume for a potential MVP nod. Kupp scampered for 136 yards on 5 receptions to extend his lead to 1,489 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

Von Miller, Aaron Donald, and Leonard Floyd each recorded a sack on Russell Wilson as they harassed the Seahawks quarterback and held him to just 156 yards. Wilson had a disappointing outing as a result, going 17 of 31 with zero touchdowns and 1 interception. He finished with a subpar 55.3 rating.

Vikings Keep Postseason Hope Alive

The Vikings recorded their second-straight win and fourth in the last six games to improve to .500 on the season. The 7-7 Vikings are mired in a battle with several teams for one of the coveted three wildcard spots and with three games left they have little room for error.

Kirk Cousins and company defeated the Chicago Bears 17-9 at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football. Kirk Cousins had an uneven game, completing just 50% of his passes as he went 12 of 24 for 87 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 interception.

Zimmer’s game plan was clearly not to put the ball in Cousins' hands. Instead, he put the onus on the run game which totted the ball for 132 yards on 33 carries. Running back Dalvin Cook did most of the heavy lifting, leading the team with 89 yards on 28 carries.

The defense came out in a big way, sacking Justin Fields three times and keeping the rookie under constant pressure. They took away the ground game, holding Fields to just 35 yards on the ground and forcing 2 fumbles, 1 for a loss. In total, the Bears forced 4 fumbles, 3 of which were for a loss.

NFL Predictions and Picks

Although both teams are faced with a short week, the Vikings have a slight advantage over the Rams as they played to the schedule. They were slotted for the Monday primetime slot all along, so the week’s planning and preparation were paced accordingly. The Rams were thrust into uncertainty and not until game day did McVay know who would be starting.

In spite of this reality, bookmakers are tipping this game with the Rams at the NFL odds. This isn’t surprising at all. From the start of the season, the Rams were the vogue NFL pick – the darlings of the bookmakers across multiple sports betting sites.

The fact is though that the Rams aren’t back to full strength yet. It remains to be seen whether McVay will have his full complement of starters on hand at the weekend. The fatigue and emotional strain of the week can’t be overlooked either.

Another factor to consider here is the fact that the Vikings have the inside track on Matthew Stafford having played against him for years when he was the Lions quarterback. There’s little Zimmer doesn’t know about the veteran’s game, and he can use that knowledge to his advantage.

All told, the NFL line might be overstating the Rams at the expense of the Vikings, who are the quintessential dangerous floaters in the game. The Rams might be the better team collectively on paper but the Vikings have spirit and fight. They won’t roll out the red carpet for their Tinseltown visitors on Sunday.

NFL Pick: Vikings +3.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Vikings +3.5 (-108)
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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.