Thu, 29 Oct 2020

NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Home Underdogs vs. Titans

Minnesota Vikings
26 Sep 2020, 04:37 GMT+10

Eric Smith

With Week 3 on the horizon, the 0-2 Vikings are aiming to get into the win column.

That won't be an easy task against the 2-0 Titans, a veteran team that is coming off an appearance in the AFC title game from a season ago.

Can the Vikings right the ship after a pair of early stumbles?

Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:

Titans 23, Vikings 20 - Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com

The contrarian in me planned to pick the Vikings all week. Teams with this much established talent usually respond before torpedoing their season at 0-3, and the Titans two wins came against so-so opponents with a fair bit of luck. The game is in Minnesota, if that matters anymore.

Then I Game Passed the Vikings loss to the Colts and realized it's the established talent that is part of the problem. Kirk Cousins is overthinking decisions. Eric Kendricks doesn't look like himself in coverage and his tag-team partner, Anthony Barr, is now on Injured Reserve. The Vikings safeties are busy spending all their time covering for the team's young cornerbacks. That leaves their run defense vulnerable, which is not ideal with Derrick Henry coming to town. When a team shows you they are bad for two straight weeks, sometimes you have to believe them.

Vikings 23, Titans 17 - Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

The Titans are rolling at 2-0, while the Vikings are reeling. But the Vikings can't be as bad as they have looked. Even with the defense struggling, I think they will get back on track here. The Titans will lose for the first time. Upset special.

Vikings 24, Titans 20 - Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

The Vikings can't be this bad, can they? The Titans can't be this good, can they? Minnesota's defense is in a rough patch, struggling mightily against run and pass over the first two weeks. The key here at home for the Vikings will be a positive game script where they can control the game with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison on the ground and Kirk Cousins is throwing efficiently off play-action. There's nothing scary about Tennessee's overrated defense, either. The streaky Cousins is due to be hot again, while Ryan Tannehill cools off a little on the road as the Vikings rise from desperation mode.

Titans 30, Vikings 20 - Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

The Vikings may be the NFL's most disappointing team so far this season. Ryan Tannehill will continue his strong early-season showing as Minnesota falls to 0-3.

Titans 24, Vikings 10 - Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

The Titans have played too well to barely win two games. This week, they're getting a team that suddenly [has] plummeted from contender to pretender to pathetic.

Titans 24, Vikings 20 - Staff, Bleacher Report

The Minnesota Vikings might be a well-coached, veteran team that made the playoffs in 2019 and is trying to save its season Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but that isn't enough to convince the majority of our prognosticators - or the vast majority of the public - to take 2.5 points with Minnesota in this spot.

While that passing attack could bounce back under the tutelage of the unpredictable Kirk Cousins and the solid Dalvin Cook, especially with Adoree' Jackson still missing from the Tennessee secondary, the Vikings might also have trouble with that sell-out-to-stop-Henry plan. They've also struggled in run defense the last couple of weeks and are now without four-time Pro Bowler Anthony Barr in the linebacking corps.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 41% - FiveThirtyEight.com

2 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, CBS Sports

4 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, USA TODAY Sports

3 of 6 experts pick the Vikings, The MMQB

2 of 7 experts (three had not turned in their choices) pick the Vikings, ESPN

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