Vikings’ NFC North Odds Fall to +500 After 0-2 Start, Were the Favorites Entering Season

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings QB

Quarterback Kirk Cousins is feeling the heat after the Minnesota Vikings’ 0-2 start. He only completed 11 of 26 pass attempts, and had three interceptions, in a 28-11 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Photo by Bleacher Report (Twitter).
  • 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

With the Minnesota Vikings’ offense looking inconsistent in a Week 1 loss to Green Bay and worse in their 28-11 loss to Indianapolis in Week 2, their odds to win the NFC North have slipped to +500.

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

Team Odds
Green Bay Packers -154
Chicago Bears +250
Minnesota Vikings +500
Detroit Lions +200

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.

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.

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.

If the Vikings want to win the NFC North, Cousins has to play like he did last 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.

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

If you believed the Vikings could win the division before Week 1, you now have a chance to win more money.

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)

Latest posts