Minnesota Vikings (0-0) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-0)
September 12, 2021 1:00 pm EDT
The Line: Cincinnati Bengals +3 / Minnesota Vikings -3; Over/Under: 48
(Click here for latest betting odds)
The Cincinnati Bengals meet the Minnesota Vikings Sunday in week 1 NFL action at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a 7-9 season and haven’t missed the playoffs two straight years since 2013-14. The Cincinnati Bengals finished 4-11-1 last season and still haven’t made the playoffs since 2015.
The Minnesota Vikings came up short last season due to a defense that ranked 29th in scoring defense and 27th in total defense. The good news is the Vikings get a lot of reinforcements with the returns of Michael Pierce, Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. All of those guys missed significant playing time due to injuries or the pandemic. The addition of cornerback Patrick Peterson doesn’t hurt the Vikings, as there should still be something left in the 31-year-old, eight-time Pro Bowl selection. Offensively, quarterback Kirk Cousins finished last season strong, Dalvin Cook has topped 1,000 rushing yards back-to-back years and wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen is proving to be a hell of a duo. Assuming the Vikings defense makes massive strides, they should make the playoffs for the fourth time under coach Mike Zimmer.
The Cincinnati Bengals continue to try to form an identity under head coach Zac Taylor and shed a lot of the deadweight from past regimes. Of course, the success of quarterback Joe Burrow will have a lot to do with where the Bengals end up. The Bengals offensive line has to be better, and the additions of Riley Reiff and Jackson Carman are upgrades. And while rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will get a lot of the love nationally, running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon form an extremely underrated backfield. Defensively, the Bengals were 22nd in scoring defense and 26th in total defense, and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo hopes to create a more aggressive pass rush. Newcomers Larry Ogunjobi and Trey Hendrickson are expected to do a lot of the heavy lifting upfront. Bottom line is the Bengals have to be better in the trenches if this season is going to be a success.
The Vikings are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite and 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Bengals are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games on fieldturf. The over is 8-3 in Vikings last 11 games overall. The under is 5-2-1 in Bengals last 8 games overall. The home team is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings. The favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
The Vikings should push for a top-10 offense in the league this season and will be drastically better defensively with so many players returning. The Vikings were without a lot of key names last season for a variety of reasons. The Bengals have a lot of showing and proving to do. You have nothing as a team if you’re not solid in the trenches, and the Bengals are questionable at best with the offensive and defensive lines. This line is rather surprising to me. I’ll lay the field goal with the Vikings.