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Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings,
10-22-2017 - Expert Prediction

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#457 Baltimore
Ravens
#458 Minnesota
Vikings

Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 1:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

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Baltimore Ravens (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS, 3-3 O/U) at Minnesota Vikings (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, 2-4 O/U)

When and Where: Sunday, Oct. 22, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Mn., 1pmET

Line: Minnesota -5

Total: 39.5

Minnesota is 4-2 overall and looking to take control of the NFC North. That division is up for grabs likely between the Vikings and the 3-3 Detroit Lions. That’s because Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone last Sunday against the Vikings and the Packers should continue to slide. Speaking of sliding, the Ravens have lost three of their last four games. Just when it appeared they were heading in the right direction after beating Oakland on the road, they lost at home to the Chicago Bears, 27-24 in overtime.

Ravens’ offense stuck in mud

Baltimore had never lost to a rookie quarterback at home. Welcome to 2017, where everything makes sense if you were living in the Twilight Zone. Mitch Trubisky completed 8 of 16 for 113 yards with one TD and fumbled once in leading the Bears to their overtime road win. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen threw their other TD pass on a halfback option pass for 21 yards. The Ravens were downright awful at home on both sides of the ball, but there they were, at 24-all heading into overtime. After Joe Flacco was picked off on a pass to Chris Moore (through his hands) that bounced to Adrian Amoss, who took it 90 yards for a touchdown. The Bears were up two scores at 24-13 with 5:08 left. Game over. Well, maybe not as Flacco drove past midfield, with the Ravens settling for a 50-yard Justin Tucker field goal to cut the lead to 24-16. After a defensive stop, wide receiver Michael Campanaro took a 77-yard punt return to the house. Flacco hit tight end Nick Boyle for the 2-point conversion and the game was tied.

But in overtime, the Ravens’ offense went three-and-out. After a Sam Koch punt pinned Chicago inside their own 10, Jordan Howard ripped off a 53-yard run to put the Bears into scoring territory. A Connor Barth 40-yard field goal won the game for the road team. Baltimore certainly didn’t deserve the win because they didn’t score an offensive touchdown at home. They scored both touchdowns on a punt and kickoff return (from Bobby Rainey). Joe Flacco completed 24 of 41 for 180 yards and two interceptions. Both interceptions were through the hands of Moore and Breshad Perriman (who was injured on the play). Alex Collins led the running game with 74 yards on 15 carries. The Ravens also didn’t have top receiver Jeremy Maclin, who missed the game due to a shoulder injury. Baltimore ranks 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game (159.7) and 29th in total yards (289.2ypg).

Keenum appears to be settling in

Even if Minnesota goes back to Sam Bradford (knee) this week, they appear to have one of the best backup quarterbacks in Case Keenum. Green Bay can only hope that Brett Hundley can turn into Keenum for the rest of the season. The Vikes certainly took advantage of him after Anthony Barr knocked Rodgers out of the game in the first quarter. Hundley had only thrown 11 passes in the NFL and it showed as he completed 18 of 33 for 157 yards with a TD and a pick. Keenum completed 24 of 38 for 239 yards with a TD and a pick. He threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jerick McKinnon in the second quarter. McKinnon added a 3-yard touchdown run after the Packers tied it at 7-all, and that proved to be the winning score. Green Bay couldn’t do much offensively and the Vikes needed three Kai Forbath field goals to cement the game.

The Vikes are no strangers to injuries. Not only have they lost Bradford, but also rookie running back Dalvin Cook. McKinnon has been solid, rushing for 190 yards and catching 19 passes for 121 yards for the Vikes. But he’s more of a third-down back and change-of-pace runner. Latavius Murray (6-3, 230) is the big back, who rushed for 28 yards on 15 carries against the Packers. Keenum has taken care of the football and that’s the most important thing for a backup. He’s passed for 1,134 yards with five TDs and just one pick. Minnesota also has a quality defense, allowing just 295.5 yards per game (5th) and 78.7 rushing yards per game (3rd).

NFL Trends:

Baltimore is:

  • 4-1 ATS last 5 after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.

Minnesota is:

  • 1-4 ATS last 5 in October.
  • 1-5 ATS after a SU win.

Minnesota can throw the ball downfield if Stefon Diggs (groin) can play. But he may be limited even if he goes. Maclin was limited in practice but he was on the field last week. The key for Baltimore is getting defensive tackle Brandon Williams back on the field. He’s apparently very close but even without him, I feel that this will be a field goal game. With him, the Ravens could steal this on the road.

Pick: Baltimore

Minnesota is not quite as explosive with Keenum in there though he did put up 34 points against Tampa Bay (who stinks defensively). The Ravens went over in their last game due to two returns for touchdowns. But they are still an under team. Minnesota is 5-0 Under their last five in October and 18-7-1 Under their last 26 after a SU win.

Under

4

Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!

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