Tonight the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints host the Vikings. The Saints eked out a win in the NFC Championship game over the Vikes, and while the feel good pick is the Saints, something tells us this game has a Purple Hue to it.
(SUICIDE POOL UPDATE: one player has picked the Saints tonight- former Judge Jonathan Colby -or somebody that has his email address-. Four players have the Fins on Sunday and at least two have Tennessee. Mr. Markus has the Giants.)
The last two games these teams played, in 2010 and 2008 were decided by a field goal, with the Vikes winning in 08 and of course the Saints going to the big party in 2010. In both games the total points was over 50, and you have to be thinking scoring when Favre and Brees are on the field.
For those of you who carefully follow our picks, you know that our strength is in September, when we identify trends the general public doesn't see, and we ride them to mucho dinero.
This year we are looking closely at the Raiders and the Lions as teams that may do better than expected. We are also watching the JETS as an overhyped green mess. The fact that their coach is a tubby blow-hard makes it easier to pick against them.
There are no trends in this game. Perhaps Minnesota is poised for a let down season- with Favre finally feeling his age; so that might be something to watch. In the last few Thursday night openers, the Super Bowl Champ has won but not covered. And this trend goes back to opening night 2006 when our Fins almost nipped the Steelers after they won the SB in 2005.
The opening line was Saints -5.5 and 51 as a total. The line has stayed static through the week, but the O/U has trended downward and you can get 49.5 if you like the over. (Mr. Markus thinks our lines are hinky, so here is the Vegas site we are using tonight.)
There's nothing about this game we love, but we feel compelled to pick opening night. So.....
We like the under 49.5. And if forced, we like the Vikes, no points, +200 (means you bet 100 coconuts and if the Vikes win, you get 200 coconuts in return. ) However the the Vikes are without top WR Sydney Rice, and they traded for Dolphin WR Greg Camarillo, who will not make anyone forget Rice. So while the fun play is the Vikes money line, our pick is under for 100 Favres. The Saints have a terrific defense, especially in the secondary where Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer (who may be the two best in the NFC) will have an easier night now that Rice is out. With Rice out and Favre missing training camp, the Vikes will look to run, especially since Adrian Peterson is their best offensive player.
The Saints were a team of destiny last year, and teams of destiny rarely repeat, although the Saints return all 11 starters on offense, which is a telling stat on a team looking to repeat. Between these two teams the Saints are on the upswing while the Vikes- who were the better team last January- have pinned their hopes to a cranky and aging QB who is one good sack away from hanging it up. The Saints may well return to the SB this year, (although it pains us to acknowledge that the Cowpokes are a legitimate contender) while the Vikings will almost assuredly not.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?