Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction – NFL, Week 2 (2021)
Minnesota fans woke up feeling dreary on Monday. Considering last season’s woes, dropping a game to “The Bungles” in week 1 was far from the idea of a perfect start. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Cardinals fan base has been puffing their chests all week. And rightfully so.
Kliff Kingsbury and company traveled to Tennessee and laid a beatdown on the reigning AFC South champs. Chandler Jones was a one-man wrecking crew and Kyler Murray put on a show.
Surely Arizona is going to take care of business this weekend in their own building, right?
Let’s find out by previewing the upcoming tilt. I’ll end with a Vikings vs. Cardinals prediction and betting pick.
Vikings vs. Cardinals Odds
The Vikes lost a game “they should have won” and the Cardinals looked magnificent. Nobody should be surprised that north of 70% of this game’s betting tickets have been placed on Arizona to cover.
Not only were the Vikings among the league’s worst against the spread in 2020 (6-10); Mike Zimmer’s club covered the number just 33% of the time in games that followed a loss (3-6).
Those not intrigued by the 4.5-point line, there are a number of player props worth taking a peek at. Check the selection at the legal NFL betting apps before Sunday’s kickoff. Those targeting the total, this number seems rather appropriate.
51 points were scored in Minnesota’s opening loss. 51 points were scored in Arizona’s opening victory. On cue, the total in Sunday’s matchup at State Farm Stadium is 51 points.
Why the Vikings Can Win
Minnesota brings back one of the most indispensable running backs in football. They’ve got two of the five highest-graded WRs (according to 2020 PFF data). Kirk Cousins may not be the most dynamic QB in football, but he’s an accurate passer who’s more than capable of delivering the ball to his primary weapons. In other words, lack of production on offense has never been a concern with this group.
The reason Minnesota went 7-9 a season ago can be traced directly back to the shortcomings on the other side of the ball.
Zimmer’s bunch ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed and 29th in points surrendered. The good news is they made tons of personnel changes, as well as schematic ones in the back end. The Vikes head coach vowed that his 2021 unit would be much better.
Perhaps Arizona peaked last week and the Vikings can catch them off-guard on Sunday.
Why the Cardinals Can Win
If you’re locking in a Vikings vs. Cardinals pick, chances are I don’t need to convince you that Arizona should win this game. Tennessee won 11 games last year and was a popular pick to challenge Kansas City for supremacy in the AFC.
After the Cards came in and dismantled the Titans at Nissan Stadium, Tennessee supporters are already looking to jump ship.
|Cardinals vs. Titans – Week 1 By the Numbers|
|6.2||Yards Per Play||3.9|
|7/15 (53.8%)||Third-Down Conversions||5/14 (35.7%)|
|33:21||Time of Possession||26:39|
This wasn’t just a solid road win versus a good team – this was a beatdown of epic proportions. Derrick Henry was a non-factor and Ryan Tannehill looked like the Ryan Tannehill we saw get benched in Miami.
Kliff Kingsbury might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s got a human joystick under center who can’t be defended. As well as a host of speedy options waiting to be unleashed.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t allude to Chandler Jones’ five sacks in week 1, and it’s also worth mentioning that Isaiah Simmons looked sensational. The second-year linebacker was flying around the field (nine tackles, two pass deflections, one interception) doing exactly what this franchise envisioned when they selected him 8th overall in 2020.
Vikings vs. Cardinals Prediction
The Vikings O-line is suspect at best. Arizona presents a mean pass rush that can attack from all angles. That’s the first vote of confidence for the Cardinals in this matchup.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Kyler Murray’s speed and versatility outweigh the talent on Minnesota’s defense. Even if Minnesota studies the tape and plays a disciplined style on D, there’s only so much you can do to defend 4.3-speed when it’s blended with a cannon of an arm.
As for a Vikings vs. Cardinals betting pick, that’s where things get interesting.
Vikings vs. Cardinals Betting Pick
If you’re just looking to book a win, back the Cardinals to win outright. They’re playing at home after a masterful performance on the road. If laying -220 isn’t of any interest, forget the money line, forget the spread, and key in on the total.
Arizona’s defense completely flummoxed Tennessee – that wasn’t by chance. From Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt on the edges to Budda Baker and Byron Murphy Jr. in the back end, the Cardinals defense is stockpiled with talent at all three phases. Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins are ferocious in the middle level.
As inexperienced as the Viking’s offensive line is, it could be a long afternoon for Captain Kirk come Sunday.
On the subject of extolling a defensive unit in this matchup, Minnesota’s defense already showed vast improvements from last year.
Minnesota won’t be able to stop Kyler Murray, but I can assure you that Mike Zimmer is hellbent on at least slowing him down.