- The Minnesota Vikings, preseason favorites to win the NFC North, have watched their odds drop from +165 entering Week 1 to +500 after a 28-11 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.
- Vikings are 0-2 for the first time since 2013
- Read below for odds, analysis and our pick to win the division
This is the same Vikings team that was favored to win the NFC entering Week 1. The Vikings were +165, followed by the Green Bay Packers (+250) and Chicago Bears (+500). After the Vikings couldn’t hold the ball for longer than three minutes on any drive against Green Bay in Week 1, the Packers became the favorites at +125 and the Vikings were second at +257.
Now only the lowly Detroit Lions are lower than the Vikings when it comes to NFC North Odds.
2020 NFC North Odds
|Green Bay Packers||-154|
Odds as of Sept. 20 from DraftKings
The Vikings’ Offense is Badly Out of Sync
Minnesota’s problems are about time of possession. In Week 1, the Vikings time of offensive possession of 18:44 was the lowest in franchise history. In Week 2, the Colts had the ball 38:25 compared to Minnesota’s 21:35. The Vikings held the ball 5:59 on their opening drive, but then totaled 6:22 of possession on their next five drives.
Two of those drives ended with punts, one ended with a safety and two were cut short by Kirk Cousins throwing an interception. He had three on the day.
Just noticed Stefon Diggs has more yards receiving today than the Vikings passing offense produced
— Matthew Coller (@MatthewColler) September 20, 2020
Maybe the Vikings should not have traded their No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo.
The added issue of Minnesota’s ball lack of possession time is that the Vikings’ defense has been on the field too much, leaving them in stressful situations. At this juncture, it’s unfair to judge that group.
This Isn’t the Cousins We Saw Last Season
Cousins’ poor performance in Week 2 was the primary reason why the Vikings couldn’t sustain drives. He completed 11 of 26 passes (42.3%) for 113 yards. His career completion percentage is 67%
His quarterback rating of 15.9 was the lowest of his career as a starter, and according to Pro Football Reference it was the fourth-worst by a Vikings’ QB since the AFL and NFL merged in 1970. He had never thrown three interceptions in a game as a Viking before Sunday.
My question about Kirk Cousins will always be this: What is the point of paying him at the level of a top-6 QB if he needs near-PERFECT circumstances around him to win?
If a QB isn’t good enough to carry + elevate teammates, why not find a cheaper option for cap/roster purposes?
— Phil Mackey (@PhilMackey) September 20, 2020
This is a quarterback who took the Vikings to 10 wins as a starter last season because he managed the game brilliantly. He only had six interceptions all season.
Packers look dangerous, not invincible
With Aaron Rodgers still at quarterback, maybe the Packers should have been the NFC North preseason favorite. After all, the Packers have won six of the last nine division titles and they will put up plenty of points this season.
AARON JONES ARE YOU KIDDING ME ? @Showtyme_33 @packers pic.twitter.com/E64VegEFLY
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 20, 2020
But let’s not forget the Packers beat a struggling Vikings team and an inferior Detroit team. Both of those teams found the end zone against Green Bay. The Packers’ defense isn’t as strong as their offense.
But even at 36, Rodgers is among the NFL’s top five difference makers. And Jones could score 20 touchdowns this season. At -154, the Packers’ implied probability is 60.6%. But their chances of winning the NFC North seem better.
Vikings Now Could be a Value Bet
Cousins’ struggles are alarming, but it’s likely he will return to form to lead a quality Minnesota offense. It’s hard to have faith in the Chicago Bears. The Vikings are a better bet than the Bears.
But it feels right that the Packers are the favorite.
Pick: Packers (-154)