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NFL Week 15 Preview: Minnesota vs. Arizona

NFL Week 15 – Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals

A pair of 8-5 teams will butt heads in the desert in a Week 15 sport betting match-up when the Minnesota Vikings look to press their luck on the road against the recently crowned NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals.    These teams last squared off in 2006 where Minnesota got the best of the Cards by a 31-26 final count, but failed to cover the 6.5-point spread leaving NFL bettors that backed the favorite dissatisfied.

The NFL betting line opened with the Cardinals installed as three-point home favorites with a game ‘total’ of 48 points. It’s off the board right now due to possible suspensions and Minnesota QB Gus Frerotte’s availability.

This game doesn’t get much bigger for the Vikings! A win would allow them to hold onto their #3 seed, but a loss could send them on a downward spiral that could find them on the outside looking into the post-season.

The Vikings struggled against the winless Detroit Lions in the first meeting of the year back in Week 6, and last week was no different. Down 6-3 at the half, the Vikings outscored the Lions 17-10 in the second half to pull out the 20-16 road victory. QB Gus Frerotte was largely ineffective in his limited play throwing a pair of interceptions before suffering a lower back injury. However, QB Tarvaris Jackson played some solid ball off the bench completing 8 of 10 passes for 105 yards and a score.

“I can’t say enough about Tarvaris coming into the game with limited reps,” coach Brad Childress said.

The defense did another outstanding job limiting the Lions rushing attack, but they’ve been able to dominate opposing rushing attacks all season long. The pass defense is the stop unit’s problem area. It allowed QB Daunte Culpepper to pick it apart for 220 yards, which included a 70-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. That doesn’t bode well for the defense this week knowing Arizona boasts one of the best passing attacks in the game.

Minnesota has won three of its seven road games this season, but they’ve been fools gold NFL bettors against the spread compiling a poor 2-5 ATS mark.

Arizona breezed to yet another comfy home win and cover last week against NFC West rival St. Louis to capture its 8th SU and ATS win of the season. Beating the Rams isn’t something to brag about since nine other teams have pulled the feat off this season, but winning the franchises first divisional championship since 1975 certainly is. Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff have done a fabulous job turning this franchises fortune around, but they also have the benefit of playing in a “crap-tastic” division.

That said; Arizona has its work cut out for itself if it hopes to earn a first round bye in the playoffs. It certainly won’t be easy, but it’s within the realm of possibility. They’ll have to win their remaining two home games this week and in Week 17 just to have a chance.

QB Kurt Warner has looked rejuvenated this season tossing the pigskin all over the field. He resembles the field general that took the Rams to the Super Bowl from out of nowhere back in 2000. He’s the navigator of the league’s top ranked offensive attack that’s averaged 28.6 PPG to date.

The defense matches up well with Minny’s offense in this spot. If it continues to stop the run and limits RB’s Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor to their average allowed per game (96.5), it will force a gimpy Gus Frerotte or a passing challenged Tarvaris Jackson to defeat them. You have to like AZ’s chances there.

Will the Vikings win back-to-back road games and pick up its fourth SU win in a row, or will the Cardinals keep pace with the NFC’s top dawgs to try and snag one of the top two spots?

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