San Diego Chargers vs. Minnesota Vikings
The San Diego Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings kick off their 2011 NFL seasons in San Diego. The Chargers are -9.5 point favorites over the Chargers with an over/under point total set at 41.5.
The San Diego Chargers are coming off of a rare year where they missed the playoffs. What eas even more puzzling for Norv Turner and the Chargers is that they had the number one offense and the number one defense a season ago but it they couldn’t even win the AFC West as turnovers proved to be their undoing. Phillip Rivers returns for another season at QB and the fiery competitor has more to work with than he did last year as Vincent Jackson is around to start the season after holding out the bulk of last year. Antonio Gates starts the season healthy and the prototype NFL tight end is one of the best in the game. Ryan Mathews is gearing up for a big year after the big expectations last season and Mike Tolbert showed that he can play in just about every situation. Defensively the Chargers are tough and adding Takeo Spikes in the middle gives them a solid tackling machine and safety Eric Weddle is one of the highest paid defenders in the NFL for a reason, he can flat out play. This is a San Diego Chrager team that is poised for a return to the playoffs and perhaps a Super Bowl run.
It’s been an offseason of transition for the Minnesota Vikings and head Coach Leslie Frazier has a clean slate to work with after taking over a team that was on a downward spiral a year ago. Brett Favre is gone as is Tavarris Jackson and Donovan McNabb gets another chance, perhaps his last, as a starting QB in the NFL. Adrian Peterson is the premier running back in the NFL and with defenses keying on him his numbers will be earned but it should open up other options for the Vikings offense. Sidney Rice is gone at receiver and it’s time for Bernard Berrian to step up to the level that was expected of him when the Vikes signed him as a free agent a few years back but Percy Harvin on the other side is an outright play maker and a home run threat every time he touches the ball. With defensive tackle Kevin Williams suspended for the first two games it’s just more pressure on the interior but E.J. Henderson may be one of the most under rated players in the game and with Jared Allen at defensive end and Chad Greenway at OLB the Vikings have plenty of quality defenders. Corners Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin will probably be tested plenty in this one. The Vikings seem to have modest expectations of them but they have plenty of people with a lot to prove and play for.
San Diego is 4-1 against the spread in their last five home games, 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games overall, and 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six games as a favorite. Minnesota is 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 games overall, 1-6 against the spread in their last 7 games as a road underdog, and 3-9 against the spread in their last 12 road games.
This one leans really hard to a total play on the under as the Vikings have gone under in their last four road games, 5 of their last six as an underdog, and six of their last eight games overall while the Chargers games have gone under in their last four home games, and last four as a home favorite.