Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

NFL Divisional Playoffs Q&A: What are the odds …?

NFL Divisional Playoffs Q&A: What are the odds …?

Whether Drew Brees' 12 playoff games and almost 4,000 career passing yards in the postseason give him an advantage when the Vikings host the New Orleans Saints will be determined Sunday afternoon. From Case Keenum's rise to power following Sam Bradford's short tenure as starting quarterback, to Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon's entrance to the fold to fill the void left by Dalvin Cook, the Vikings offense has shifted into a multi-faceted, well-oiled machine. I have a great squad, a great offensive line, great receivers, and great running backs who can make some plays and a great defense. "All my friends and family who have come up from Texas and my friends from other teams that come in, they'll text me after the games and they'll be like, 'Dude, that place is ridiculous.' It really is". The good news is that Kyle Rudolph and Pat Elflein is not on the list, meaning they are good to go.

That would be the good fortune that has seemed to surround them for much of this 13-3 season.

The Ingram-Kamara pairing has been a lightning rod for big plays, combing for 30 gains of at least 20 yards.

Though they beat Carolina last week, the Saints ran fewer plays and possessed the ball less than half the time.

"I always root for guys like that, kind of the undersized guy coming out that nobody wants to give any credit and just always plays with a chip on his shoulder", Brees said this week.

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Rudolph should record triple digits in receiving yards and possibly add a touchdown as Keenum works into a rhythm, but it may not be enough to come away with a win. But Brees is a different matchup than most. Plucked off the Jaguars' practice squad late last season, he's been one of the bigger surprises on the team this year. The Saints also still had Adrian Peterson in their backfield then, before trading him to the Arizona Cardinals and clearing space for rookie Alvin Kamara to elevate his role next to Mark Ingram.

According to National Football League rules, the Vikings have until 90 minutes before kickoff to make a decision but because they're opening doors and not a roof, they make it three hours before kickoff. The over/under for this game is 46.5 total points. If Keenum is injured, or starts Sunday's game incredibly poorly, the former No. 1 overall pick is the better fill-in option.

Thomas, who was held to five catches for 45 yards by the Vikings in their Week 1 meeting, was passed off between defensive backs rather than shadowed by Rhodes exclusively. WR Adam Thielen was 2nd in NFC with 1,276 yards receiving and fourth with 91 receptions ...

On Friday, Volin reported that the Vikings are planning on dressing Bradford for the first time since Week 5. Minnesota, the second favorite on the updated odds to win Super Bowl 52, is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against New Orleans.

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