National Football League action on Sunday afternoon and the AFC South will take on the NFC North as the Tennessee Titans grapple with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Titans enter this game at 2-0 on the year while the Vikings come in at 0-2. In the last meeting (2016), the Vikings won on the road by a score of 25-16 as -2.5 point favorites.
Titans Survive Scare From The JaguarsThe Tennessee Titans came out of nowhere to play in the AFC title game a year ago. They fell short in that game but it hasn't hindered them yet this year. Tennessee has gotten off to a 2-0 start and both wins have been very close. In their opener, they beat Denver on the road by a score of 16-14, and then last week at home, the Titans took care of the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 33-30. They were seven-point favorites in that game and it was much closer than they were hoping for. Stephen Gostkowski did what he did a million times for the Patriots and that is hit a game-winning FG with 1:36 left in the contest. The Titans will look to keep it going this week but it will not be easy as the Vikings are a very hungry 0-2 team.
The Titans are led by Derrick Henry, who led the league in rushing last year and has 200 yards rushing through two games this year. Henry di have 84 yards on the ground against the Jaguars last week but he needed 25 carries to get there. He averaged 5.1 ypg last year but just 3.6 ypc this year. Ryan Tannehill had s old game against the Jags as he hit 18 of 24 passes for 239 yards with four TDs and no INTs. He will be facing a Minnesota defense that has struggled against the pass in the early going. If Henry gets going then Tannehill could have a big game. The defense played one good game and one bad game and Tennessee is hoping for a good game this week against a Minnesota offense that is last in the league in passing and 20th in scoring.
Vikings Are Still Looking For Their First WinWhen I did my season previews this year, I fully expected the Vikings to be the best team in the NFC North. They had one of the best drafts in the league while the Packers had the worst. Still, after two games, the Vikings are 0-2 while the packers are 2-0. So far, I have been a bit off in my season preview. The Vikings have struggled on both sides of the ball and I will start with the offense. Kirk Cousins was brought in a few years ago but he has not been great at all for the Vikings and Minnesota enters this game last in the league in passing. Last week, Minnesota lost at Idianapolis by a score of 28-11 and Cousins threw for just 115 yards with no TDs and three INTs. That could have been one of the worst outings of his career and it shows how much the Vikings are missing Stefon Diggs, who is now in Buffalo.
This isn't the start we've wanted.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 23, 2020
But we're not going to let these two weeks define our season.
Rookie Justin Jefferson led the team in receiving last week with 44 yards and he now has 70 on the year, which is 2nd on the team. Adam Thielen leads the Vikes with 115 while also hauling in two TD passes. The bread-and-butter of the Minnesota offense is still their running game which is led by Dalvin Cook, but even he has struggled in the early going, posting just 115 yards and three TDs on 26 carries through two games so far. Minnesota needs him to get going, which will in turn jumpstart the passing game. The defense has been a huge weakness for the Vikings and that is not something I expected to say. Right now, they are 28th against the pass, 28th against the run, and 31st in points allowed, giving up 35.5 ppg so far. Now they have to take on one of the best backs in the league and a hot QB. This should be interesting.
Stats & Trends
- 15-32-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- 17-37-1 ATS in their last 55 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game
- 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
Trends Minnesota is:
- 17-5-1 ATS in their last 23 games as a home underdo
- 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game
- 38-14 ATS in their last 52 games following a straight-up loss
The Vikings are not off to a very good start, but I still feel that the wrong team is favored here. Minnesota has struggled to get their running game going but that should change here against a Tennessee defense that allowed Jacksonville to rush for 194 yards last week. Dalvin Cook is one of the best backs in the league and once he gets going then it will make the job of Kirk Cousins a whole lot easier. He struggled mightily last week but should bounce back here. Minnesota has their backs against the wall with an 0-2 start and while the Titans are 2-0, both of their wins have been by three points or less. Tennessee's luck will run out today and the clincher is the fact that the Vikings are 43-21 when coming off a SU & ATS loss.