See below for my picks, plays, Model Z breakdown and explanation for tomorrow’s Christmas Day NFL matchup between the Vikings and Saints!
*Stars represent confidence (1 to 5 scale).
Please note that I am not advising anyone to participate in any gambling. I am simply telling you what I will be doing (legally in New Jersey).
Friday, December 25th
4:30 PM ET
MINNESOTA VIKINGS vs NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-6.5) ; O/U 51
Model Z Projection: 29–23 NO
Straight Up Pick: New Orleans Saints
Spread Pick: NO -6.5⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Over 51⭐
- NO -6.5 (-110)
- Kamara to score / NO to win (-110)
- Kamara over 60.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
- Justin Jefferson over 5.5 catches (+114)
- First Drive Result: Offensive Touchdown (+270)
Top DFS Matchups: Alvin Kamara ($7,900), Justin Jefferson ($7,400)
Notable Inactives: MIN LB Eric Kendricks, MIN TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN RB2 Alexander Mattison, MIN DL Jalyn Holmes, MIN LB Troy Dye, NO WR Michael Thomas, NO QB2* Jameis Winston
Notes: I have to start this summary off by mentioning that Rudolph will not play on Christmas. That’s a shame. Anyways…
Now listen, I’ve been hating on the Vikings all year solely because their defense, and I’m going to do it yet again this week. Santa got them one of the most powerful offenses (when fully healthy) in their stocking for Christmas Day and to all of you Saints fans, Matt Cox specifically, I think this will be the Kamara game you’ve been waiting for. The Vikings are (and have been) dead last vRB on the Model and 23rd in Rushing Yards allowed, plus they are 29th in Passing Touchdowns allowed which Kamara obviously does as well. I know Brees is dealing with the ribs and Michael Thomas is on IR, but this team can still play as they put up a really good fight against the best team in the league last week under the same circumstances. One big factor that most will not think about, is the status of MIN LB Eric Kendricks. He is ranked 2nd out of all linebackers according to PFF, he’s the leader of this Vikings defense and has been inactive the last three weeks, leading me to three easy picks against them. Initially, I wrote this up with the idea of not knowing his status until Christmas morning and my strategy was that if Kendricks plays, I’ll take the points, but if he doesn’t, I expect a Saints beat-down led by Alvin Kamara. I’m sticking with that prediction now that Kendricks has been declared out. Saints win. Book it.
Players to look for:
NO RB Alvin Kamara — As I mentioned above, Kamara has a favorable matchup on the air and on the ground, and is due for a big game. Fun fact for you if my research is correct however: Kamara has not reached 100 yards on the ground since week 4 of 2018. Woah.
NO LB Demario Davis — Ranked #4 for Linebackers on Pro Football Focus, lightly-known Davis is a huge part of the Saints run defense, and stopping MIN RB Dalvin Cook should be towards the top of the list of priorities for the Saints.
MIN WR Justin Jefferson — In a homecoming game down by the Bayou for LSU Alum Justin Jefferson, I expect him to get to the endzone for the first time in a few weeks against a Saints team that is surprisingly 20th in Passing TDs allowed. Good on defense overall and against the pass, but passing TDs have been a problem.
MIN Dalvin Cook — To be honest, I don’t think Cook will have a great game. But if they do plan on winning, they need him to get going so he’s still a “player to watch”. The New Orleans defense is a tough matchup though.