Giants-Vikings Free Play

On December 24, 2015, in Free Picks, NFL, by Stephen

Giants plus 5 1/2 at Vikings

Odell Beckham Jr. is suspended for this game as he should be for his disgraceful behavior and cheap shots against Josh Norman and the Panthers last week.

Certainly that hurts the Giants. However, there is a far more significant factor in this matchup that points to the Giants covering if not winning straight-up: The game is likely to prove meaningless for Minnesota.

How is that? The Vikings will clinch a playoff spot if either outcome happens – Seattle defeats St. Louis or unbeaten Carolina defeats Atlanta. The Seahawks are two-touchdown favorites against the Rams, while the Panthers are a touchdown favorite versus the Falcons.

The Vikings will know the results of those games because this is the Sunday night game. Minnesota’s big game is next week against Green Bay. The Packers are 4 1/2-point underdogs at Arizona. If the Packers were to lose to the Cardinals than next Sunday’s Week 17 Vikings-Packers game would decide the NFC North Division title.

Realizing all of this, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he would consider resting banged-up players. That list would include Adrian Peterson, who is dealing with a sore ankle, and several key defensive players such has safety Harrison Smith, nose guard Linval Joseph and linebacker Anthony Barr.

If either the Seahawks or Panthers win and the Packers were to upset the Cardinals, Zimmer would have to decide to if he wanted to still rest players, or try to go all out to beat the Giants because the Vikings could not win the NFC North if the Packers win Sunday and Minnesota loses.

The Vikings are one game behind the Packers in the division. As long as they stay within one game of Green Bay then the Week 17 matchup decides the NFC North Division title.

The 6-8 Giants have been in every game except one with seven of their eight losses coming by six or fewer points and six of their defeats occurring when they were leading or tied during the final two minutes. New York’s past four defeats have come by three points to the Panthers, three points in overtime to the Jets, six points to the Redskins on the road and one point to the Patriots. The combined record of the Panthers, Jets, Redskins and Patriots is 42-14.

The Giants still would be alive to win the NFC East Division if the Redskins lose to Philadelphia on Saturday. The Eagles are three-point favorites. Even if the Redskins were to upset the Eagles, the Giants still should put forth an effort with Tom Coughlin under fire and likely coaching for his career. Eli Manning gives the Giants a big quarterback edge against Teddy Bridgewater even without Beckham.


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