Experts’ Predictions for Raiders-Vikings Are Rather Surprising

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The Minnesota Vikings are favored by three points to take down the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday, a pivotal game for the 6-6 purple team that hopes to acquire a Wildcard playoff berth.

The Vikings won their last meeting at the Raiders — eight years ago.

Experts’ Predictions for Raiders-Vikings Are Rather Surprising

And while the point spread is tight and Minnesota has not announced a starting quarterback as of Wednesday morning, experts’ predictions for Raiders-Vikings are quite surprising.

Predictions for Raiders
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According to NFLPickWatch, a website that logs experts’ weekly picks, 81% of NFL analysts believe Minnesota will prevail. That percentage is surprising for a few reasons:

  1. The point spread is tight.
  2. The Vikings played like gridiron rubbish in their last game.
  3. Minnesota’s QB1 is a mystery.
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Of course, if the Vikings were rolling — as in, three weeks ago — overwhelmingly picking Minnesota would make sense. Exiting Week 10, Minnesota had won five straight games, chipping off NFC opponent after NFC opponent like a machine. But the luck ran out, starting in Week 11, with back-to-back losses at the Denver Broncos and versus the Chicago Bears.

Now, Kevin O’Connell’s team must win to keep pace in the NFC’s evolving playoff picture, which is evidently a no-brainer per most NFL experts.

Should Have Optimism
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One notable NFL mind prefers the Raiders, however. CBS Sports Pete Prisco chose Las Vegas by a score of 24-20 and explained, “These two are coming off their byes, which means they are rested. The Vikings have to decide on a quarterback, which hasn’t been determined yet. The Raiders are 2-2 under Antonio Pierce, and they are playing much better football with him as the interim coach. I think that carries over here.”

Sporting News’ Bill Bender disagreed, selecting the Vikings 21-17 and writing, “Both teams are coming off bye weeks, and this will be a quarterback matchup between Joshua Dobbs and Aidan O’Connell. That makes it a toss-up-by-turnovers type game. O’Connell has thrown just one interception in three home starts, and Joshua Dobbs had five interceptions in Minnesota’s last two losses. Who protects the football? This is one of the more difficult picks of the week.”

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The New York Times’ playoff simulator plops the Vikings’ postseason probability at 44% before the Raiders matchup. If Minnesota wins, the math climbs to 56%. A loss would gut the odds to 29%.

High stakes indeed, most of the NFL community who’s who forecasts a Vikings’ victory.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by