The presents are given out on Christmas morning. For the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints, however, the present reality of the situation dictates urgency on Christmas afternoon.
Both teams have a lot to play for on Friday afternoon (4:30 p.m.) when they meet up at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in a Christmas Day special edition of the NFL on FOX. The Vikings need to win and snap a two-game losing streak to keep any faint hopes alive at securing the seventh and final playoff positions in the NFC tournament.
The Saints also are carrying a two game losing streak after clinching a playoff berth but will try a third crack at securing the NFC South title and the possible second seed in the tournament.
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The sports betting information
On FoxBet.com Sportsbook, the Saints are seven point favorites with a money line of minus-350. (A $350 bet is needed to win $100.) The Vikings are at +280 on the money line – a $100 bet will yield a $280 win. The over/under total is 51 1/2 points.
New Orleans is 7-7 against the spread while Minnesota is 6-8. The Saints and Vikings have been two of the best teams on the overs, each converting nine of 14 games over on the number.
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The Minneapolis Miracle. Brett Favre’s Interception in the NFC Championship Game. Over the course of the past decade, these two teams have hooked up for some memorable moments for squads that don’t play in the same division or on a regular basis.
The most recent game between the two franchises is another historic one as Minnesota went to the Superdome last January and ended the Saints season with a 26-20 overtime win in the NFC Wild Card game. Kyle Rudolph caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins less than five minutes into the extra session for the game winner.
The Vikings lead the series 23-12, including an impressive 4-1 in the postseason between the two teams. The Saints only win in the post-season- a 31-28 NFC Championship win in 2010 that set up Drew Brees and New Orleans first and only Super Bowl championship to this point.
The storylines to watch
With back-to-back losses to the Eagles and Chiefs, the Saints have gone from controlling their destiny for the NFC’s top seed to risking the NFC South title if they should stumble on Friday. Brees was rusty early in his return during the 32-29 loss to Kansas City after missing three weeks with broken ribs, but the offense got clicking late and made the Chiefs sweat out their 13th win. Michael Thomas, however, has been lost from New Orleans wide receiver corps the rest of the regular season due to an ankle injury. Expect to see a ton of Alvin Kamara both as a runner and receiver on offense.
The Vikings still cling to faint hopes of a playoff spot, but it was likely dashed after a loss to the Bears at home last week. Minnesota had a lot of trouble stopping Bears running back David Montgomery, who rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns. That could be trouble against Kamara, who can beat teams into submission with a versatile mixture. The Vikings could just run Dalvin Cook all day and try to recreate the pattern that Philadelphia used two weeks ago with Miles Sanders leaning on a tired New Orleans front.
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