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Vikings Texans Betting Predictions – Vikings Continue Push Toward The Playoffs In Houston

Posted by Tony Bryant on 12/18/2012 5:47:15 PM

The Minnesota Vikings are on a roll right now, but if they don't continue their late-season surge in Houston against the Texans, they're almost certain to miss the playoffs this season.

Minnesota Vikings @ Houston Texans – Sunday, December 23   
Football betting line: Houston -9.5

Why Minnesota Will Win

When poker is played, surprises can always unfold, and the fact that the Vikings are now at 8-6 rates as a distinct surprise. A few weeks ago, the Chicago Bears were 7-1 and in control of the NFC North Division. The Vikings were not seen as a team that could finish above the Bears in the standings at the end of the season, but with two games left in the season, the Bears and Vikings are tied at 8-6. Minnesota thumped Chicago two weeks ago and then went on the road to smoke the St. Louis Rams in a blowout.

The Vikings are riding high thanks to the exploits of running back Adrian Peterson, who has overcome injuries to post a Most Valuable Player kind of season. Peterson, with two games left on the slate in 2012, is under 300 yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing yards record. The Vikings do not have a particularly high-level quarterback in the person of Christian Ponder, so opposing defensive coordinators are game planning to stop Peterson and no one else each week. Yet, Peterson continues to bust loose for at least one big run each game, keeping his yards-per-carry average above five yards, a remarkable statistic in the modern NFL.

This prowess with the running game is precisely what can take advantage of Houston's front seven, which has been dinged up by injuries at various points along the way this season. The Vikings just need Ponder to avoid turnovers and really bad decisions, especially on third downs. If Ponder avoids huge mistakes and makes the throws he is expected to make on third and five or second and seven, the Vikings will have a very realistic chance of winning this game on the road and staying in the NFC playoff hunt.

Why Houston Will Win

Betting analysts have to be fascinated by the fact that the Texans, after their loss at New England in week 14, were discounted by so many pundits and observers across the league. This is still the team that is likely to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, and speaking of that very topic, the Texans will be the top seed if they can win this game against Minnesota. There is powerful incentive for head coach Gary Kubiak's team to tuck away this win on their home field, so that the week 17 game against Indianapolis on Dec. 30 can become a time when the Texans can rest their beaten-up defense. Houston quarterback Matt Schaub is miles better than Ponder, and that reality alone should account for a Texan triumph.

Who Will Win

The Vikings need this game, but Houston needs it as well. If the Texans had already wrapped up the No. 1 seed a week earlier, the calculus would be different, but right now, Houston has a lot to play for. It is the better team, and it should win handily.

NFL Football Betting Pick: Houston


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