New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
Headlining the first Monday Night Football game are the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. The stakes are high for both teams in this first game including how the Vikings will fare without Adrian Peterson leading their offense and if the Saints defense will show up.
The Saints have one of the best offenses in the league but are always stifled by a poor defense. During the offseason, the team made great strides to improve their defense and they had a stellar preseason. This game will be their first outing against a first-team offense and see if they’re actually worth the hype or if it was a couple favorable preseason matchups.
As for the Vikings, they lost Adrian Peterson to New Orleans and lost some other good free agents. The team has the exact opposite problem of the Saints, though. They have an extremely talented defense, but not such a great offense. With Sam Bradford at the helm last year, the Vikings started off strong before falling flat.
This first game will be a test for both teams, heading into the regular season. A win for either team could already have playoff buzz behind it or murmurs of another mediocre season. Us football fans are always quick to jump the gun but there are a few sure-fire ways the teams can succeed.
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Keys to Victory
For the Saints, the keys to victory are pretty obvious and it’s making sure the defense shows up and plays to win. The Saints have one of the leading offenses in the NFL, but are always hampered by poor defensive play. In this first game, the Saints defense needs to show their preseason outings weren’t a fluke. Bolstered by the young guys like Marshon Lattimore, Vonn Bell, Marcus Williams and Alex Anzalone, the young guys need to step up and show they’re more than the hype.
Older guys like Cameron Jordan and A.J. Klein are going to the backbone of the defense. The veterans need to make sure they guide the younger guys and keep the defense going. There’s not much to worry about on offense even with the suspension of Snead, but the defense is going to have to play their heart out on the field.
As for the Vikings, they need to keep their offense going strong and show they’re more than just an afterthought. A lot of praise is heaped on the Vikings defense and the same could be said for their offense, but they need to help Bradford. Bradford will be entering his second year with the team and now is the time for him to prove he was worthy of the trade.
Their carousel of running backs needs to come together, but especially Dalvin Cook. Cook is their answer at running back and he needs to put up some good runs. Along with Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, the Vikings need to get an early head start if they plan on beating the Saints. If the offense can stay on the field and give the defense a break, the Vikings should be in good shape.
Point Spread: Minnesota -3.5
Moneyline: New Orleans +150, Minnesota -165
While a lot of people are picking the Vikings, the Saints have a chance for victory and could edge out the Vikings. Most of it will rely on how well their defense plays, but if the offense and defense can’t keep it together, it’s the Saints game to lose. Neither team is perfect, but I see the Saints as a more well-rounded one. The game will be close regardless.