While the game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers was objectively about as entertaining as football can get, the fact remains that the Vikings did a lot to shoot themselves in the foot in that game. Regardless of what you think about the officiating, on both sides, the fact is that the Vikings had a lot of penalties and undisciplined plays, especially early. That sort of thing is fine early in the season and against teams that the Vikings are objectively better than, but when they have to face another NFC power like the Los Angeles Rams, they’ll have to put their best team on the field especially considering that they’ll be playing that game on the road. Luckily for everyone involved, except the Rams, the Vikings don’t face them until Week 4 and the team that they do face in the Buffalo Bills, are ranked as the worst team in the league on most power rankings released so far this week. While not entirely surprising, the Bills did make the playoffs last season, but after they decided to part ways with their quarterback the writing was on the wall and so the Vikings will be facing a Bills team at home that is using a rookie quarterback, just what they need for their final “get right” game before facing the Rams (and a bunch of other tough opponents).
So, unsurprisingly, according to MyTopSportsBooks.com, the Vikings are early favorites to best the Bills at home. The word “Monstrous” has been thrown around by other writers, as in the Vikings are “Monstrous favorites” over the Bills at home. Whomever said that isn’t far off as the Vikings are, as of the writing of this article, 16.5 point favorites against the Bills. purplePTSD.com has been around since 2015 and we’ve written an article like this basically every single week during the season and I personally cannot recall a game in which the Vikings had better odds. It makes sense considering the Vikings’ defense still playing at a high-level (those 29-points against the Packers were misleading) and especially considering the game that Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen had against the Packers. The Vikings are also bringing in a new deep threat at wide-receiver in Aldrick Robinson, a player that had some chemistry with Cousins during his time in D.C. and who should take over for Laquon Treadwell/Stacey Coley at the position. It might take him some time to acclimate to John DeFilippo’s offense so I’d expect a healthy amount of Brandon Zylstra on Sunday (and if all else fails, perhaps some Chad Beebe in the coming weeks).
What’s interesting from a betting perspective is that if you were to take the under on a 16.5 point game, you wouldn’t be making a terrible bet as the Vikings are still first and foremost a defensive team that likes to control the clock by running the ball. Granted, that’s not what they’ve done so far this season but with a team like the Bills in town you’d think that they’d like to use that opportunity to work on their run blocking, something that coach DeFilippo has stressed while talking to the media these past couple days/weeks. So, I don’t really see them torching the Bills just for the sake of torching them, but rather basically opening up a comfortable enough lead where they can work on some concepts in the run game that they’ll definitely need against the Rams during Week 4.
Beyond that, Kirk Cousins might need some time getting used to a new third receiver whether that be Coley (who clearly struggled to handled Cousins’ lasers) or Zylstra, a player that should be able to start right away as he’s proven his ability to produce on a professional stage, even if that stage is in Canada. So, if I were you, and I had money, I’d be putting money on the Vikings winning but them really only winning by about 14 points in a game that I could foresee very easily being something like 17 to 3, or 24 to 10. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but this team isn’t going to make it to the promise land solely on the shoulder(s) of Kirk Cousins, but rather as a team that can run the ball just as effectively as they pass it. So let’s hope that they’re able to work out some of the kinks in that regard against the Bills, especially if Pat Elflein is able to return (at center or guard, which is yet another cog that needs work before the Thursday Night game in the City of Angels!