The Minnesota Vikings travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in Week 9 of the NFL. Looking for value in the NFL Week 9 odds? Read on to inform your NFL Week 9 predictions.
NFL Week 9 predictions
We’ve reached the midway point of the season for the teams who’ve yet to have their bye week and the divisional titles and potential playoff seeding are becoming slightly more clear.
Sunday’s game matches up two sides from different conferences who are firmly in the thick of the post season race.
Kansas were rated just behind New England in the AFC conference in September. However, a disappointing October that ended with three defeats, just a single victory, and some significant injuries, has all but handed the post season top seeding to the Patriots.
The Raiders and the Chargers are within touching distance of the Chiefs in the division, but Sunday’s hosts are still around a 75% chance to top the AFC West come week 17.
They will likely face a three-way challenge from Houston, Indianapolis and Baltimore to secure a bye week on Wildcard weekend.
Analysing the Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota’s 6-2 record isn’t good enough to give them the lead in their division, as they trail a resurgent Aaron Rodgers-inspired Green Bay by a game. They are as probable as Kansas to make the playoffs, but the most likely route for them is currently via a wildcard ticket.
Unlike the Chiefs, October has been a profitable month for Minnesota. They’ve beaten three of the four NFC East sides, although that didn’t include arguably the most accomplished representative, Dallas, as well as defeating divisional rivals, Detroit on the road.
Kirk Cousins has enhanced his reputation as potentially the final piece in the Minnesota Super Bowl jigsaw. Over the month his completion rate hasn’t dipped below 70%, but instead has peaked at 89% on Thursday night against Washington.
His interception rate has remained almost impeccable, and he has thrown double digit yards per attempt across the four games.
Personally, I feel he’s creeping closer to a top five quarterback billing and aided by a near elite ground game, the Vikings are within touching distance a being considered a top five offense.
Their running game averages one yard per attempt more and is also acquiring a multi-dimensional receiving threat out of the backfield. Along with Dallas and divisional rivals Green Bay, Minnesota’s offense is both potent and well balanced in the NFC.
They are also above-average across the board on the defensive side of the ball, where opponents are struggling to move the ball either on the ground or through the air.
They’ve restricted seven of their eight opponents to 21 or fewer points and only Detroit have proven difficult for them to stop in a game that developed into a shootout.
Filling the Patrick Mahomes void
The last time we checked in on Kansas, their star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes was managing a variety of injuries and a dislocated knee on a sneak play that finally ruled him out during week seven’s win in Denver.
He was absent for Kansas’ loss to Green Bay and although there is some suggestion that he will return to face Minnesota, a week ten comeback date against Tennessee would appear more likely.
Matt Moore has performed well in relief of Mahomes, closing out the win in Denver and proving competitive in a seven-point home defeat to Green Bay in week 8.
Sunday’s game matches up two sides from different conferences who are firmly in the thick of the post season race
Once it became apparent that Mahomes would sit and Moore would play against Green Bay, the line moved in favour of the Packers by more than a touchdown.
Understandably, his yardage figures and completion rate are well below the franchise-defining numbers set by league MVP Mahomes, but Moore is a capable backup, albeit with few regular starts aside from his 2011 season in Miami, when he ranked in the lower half of starting passers.
With Mahomes under centre, Kansas was throwing for an opponent adjusted one and a half yards above average per passing attempt and being backed up by a lacklustre, under-performing running game, as they fully committed to an aerial offensive strategy.
The free scoring offense under Mahomes also relived the pressure on a defense that prioritizes defending the pass to the detriment of the run defense. They rank amongst the five worst run defenses in the current NFL season.
Shorn of Mahomes’ explosive range of passing and quick fire scoring, opponents will be well placed to take advantage of these deficiencies and a well-balanced Minnesota team are better equipped than most to fully profit.
Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs: Where is the value?
If a fully fit Mahomes took the field, Kansas would be around a four point favourite against Minnesota. Fit or otherwise, Mahomes is unlikely to be risked on Sunday, as the competition within Kansas’ division is weak and a fully fit Mahomes is a bigger priority than regular season wins in early November.
The drop off to Moore starting again would be in the region of a touchdown. Minnesota possess the ideal, all-round defensive and offensive weapons to take control of a one-dimensional opponent.
Without Kansas’ potent weapon, a Minnesota road win by around four points is suggested.