Minnesota Vikings vs Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (11/29/2020): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Streams (Watch Online)
The 4-6 Minnesota Vikings will host the 4-7 Carolina Panthers. The story here is the return to Minnesota of Teddy Bridgwater, who once-upon-a-time was heralded as the future of Minnesota’s franchise. After a stint with New Orleans, Bridgewater landed with Carolina and has been given a chance to earn the rights to being the “quarterback of the future.” After an encouraging 3-2 start, a five-game losing streak left Carolina at 3-7 before beating Detroit this past weekend to improve to 4-7. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s roaring comeback into playoff contention hit a major speed-bump in week 11, losing to Dallas at home to end their three-game win streak and move to 4-6. A win and a 5-5 record would have left them just a game out of the seventh playoff spot in the NFC, currently held by the Cardinals at 6-4. With both teams on the outside looking in but within arms reach, this must-win game on both sides makes for an intriguing matchup. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Minnesota Vikings vs Carolina Panthers Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, November 29th, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Location: US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV Coverage: FOX
Vikings vs. Panthers Live Stream
Where can you watch Vikings vs. Panthers online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Vikings vs. Panthers Free Online Now.
Minnesota Vikings: Harrison Smith (neck) Q, Ezra Cleveland (ankle) Q, Ifeadi Odenigbo (shoulder/concussion) Q, Dru Samia (NIR) Q, Irv Smith Jr. (groin/back) Q, Brian O’Neill (shoulder) Q
Carolina Panthers: Dennis Daley (concussion) Q, Donte Jackson (toe) Q, Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) Q, John Miller (knee/ankle) Q, Russell Okung (calf) Q, Alex Armah (ankle) Q, Teddy Bridgewater (knee) Q, Sam Franklin (ankle) Q, Marquis Haynes (shoulder) Q, DJ Moore (shoulder) Q, Tahir Whitehead (rib) Q
After a rocky 0-3 start and a 1-5 record heading into their week seven bye, the season seemed all but lost for a Vikings team that won a playoff game just last season. However, the Vikings came roaring out of the gates after their bye, winning three in a row and climbing back into the playoff conversation. As the narrative shifted, the Vikings stared down a home matchup against Dallas, in which a win would have brought their record back to .500 at 5-5, and bring them within a game of the final playoff spot in the NFC, held by the Cardinals at 6-4. Alas, they lost to Dallas, have fallen to 4-6, and desperately need a win to stay in the conversation.
Dalvin Cook and I could probably stop there. Despite the narrative around the NFL community regarding Kirk Cousins and this Vikings offense, the stats support the argument that Minnesota has an above-average offense in 2020. Currently, their 26.4 points per game is 14th-highest in the league. The heart of those points comes from their remarkable run game, which at 150.7 yards per game, is sixth-highest in the NFL, and their 14 rushing touchdowns are tied for fifth-most in the NFL as well. At the center of this run game is their offensive player of the year candidate, fourth-year running back Dalvin Cook. To go along with his 13 rushing touchdowns, Dalvin Cook has 1069 yards on 201 carries, good enough for 5.3 yards per carry. In addition, he has 25 receptions for 234 yards and one touchdown. After a rocky start, Kirk Cousins has quietly regressed back to a typical Kirk Cousins season. He has completed 66.9-percent of his passes for 2461 yards and 20 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. However, at this pace, he might set his own personal high for interceptions in a season (he threw 13 in 2017, his last season in Washington). Not only does Cousins have Adam Thielen, but he’s also benefitted greatly from the emergence of rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Thielen has 49 receptions for 646 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, and Jefferson has 45 catches for 848 yards and four touchdowns himself. The dynamic duo at wide receiver is helping expand the Vikings’ offense outside of Dalvin Cook.
The defense has been the disappointing aspect of the 2020 Minnesota Vikings head-coached by defensive-minded Mike Zimmer. After being hired to be the next head coach of the Minnesota Vikings ahead of the 2014 season, Mike Zimmer exploded onto the defensive scene in the NFL. Here is a look at how the Vikings ranked in points per game allowed since 2014 (one being the league’s lowest points allowed): 11th, 5th, 6th, 1st, 8th, 5th, 27th. Four of those seasons, the Vikings finished with a points-per-game allowed of less than 20. Needless to say, much like almost everything, 2020 has taken down the Mike Zimmer defense. It started with the departure of all three starting cornerbacks in free agency, Xavier Rhodes, Trey Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander, as well as defensive nose-tackle Linval Joseph. That followed with the season-ending injuries to Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr and was capped off when vital free-agent signee Michael Pierce opting out due to COVID-19 concerns. What remained was a large collection of young, unproven players outnumbering the handful of talented vets that remain. This season, the Vikings have lost three games in which Kirk Cousins and the offense took the lead with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Most recently, Kirk Cousins tossed two lead-taking touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Dallas, only to watch the defense blow that lead twice.
Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart
In a way, The Carolina Panthers’ season has gone in reverse of how the Vikings have gone. Carolina jumped out to a 3-2 start, proving they were a much more competitive team than projected to be. Their defense, which was anticipated as one of the league’s worst, played much tougher than expected. In addition, Teddy Bridgewater and the offense were getting the job done. Nevertheless, weeks six through 10 were not kind to Carolina. Five straight losses to Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay left Carolina at 3-7 and falling behind the seven-team playoff picture in the NFC. They rebounded nicely in week 11, dominating Detroit to a 20-0 victory and improving their record to 4-7. Now they’ll take on another team just outside of the playoff picture and looking in, the Minnesota Vikings.
Despite looking explosiveness at times, Carolina’s 23 points per game rank just 21st in the league. At the helm is Teddy Bridgewater, who has been given his first shot at being a franchise quarterback since leaving Minnesota following the 2017 season. Despite missing Week 11 with a knee injury, Bridgwater is expected to return for the revenge game against Minnesota. On the season, Teddy is completing 72.1-percent of his passes for 2552 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. In addition to returning de-facto number one wide receiver D.J. Moore, the emergence of free-agent acquisition Robby Anderson has given Teddy Bridgwater two premier pass-catching options. Robby Anderson has 71 catches for 818 yards and one touchdown, while D.J. Moore has 863 yards and four touchdowns on 80 receptions. On the ground, veteran Mike Davis has filled in nicely for the injured Christian McCaffrey. Taking over primary duties as the starting running back for much of the season, Mike Davis has 449 yards, and three touchdowns on 111 carries, in addition to 305 yards and two touchdowns in the air on 49 receptions. Christian McCaffrey returned in week 9 and looked good, but has missed the two games since after suffering a shoulder injury and is unlikely to play against Minnesota this weekend.
Defensively, Carolina is sitting right around league average in terms of points allowed per game. After entering the season as one of the league’s projected worst defenses, being average is considered a success. More recently, the defense has been worse, which contributed to their five-game losing streak. During that losing streak, Carolina gave up an average of 30.8 points per game, which would trail only Dallas for the highest in the league. Most recently, however, Carolina shut out Detroit in a 20-0 win. This matchup against Minnesota should be a good challenge. Arguably their biggest weakness, giving up big games to opposing running backs, happens to be Minnesota’s strength. Carolina has given up 103 and two to Leonard Fournette, 93 and three to Josh Jacobs, 121 and one to Todd Gurley, and 192 and one to Ronald Jones. They’ll need to bring their A-game to stop Dalvin Cook from taking over this contest.
Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Betting Corner Minnesota -4.5
Spread: Vikings -4.5
Moneyline: Minnesota -220, Carolina +175
Despite Minnesota’s clunker against Dallas in week 11, and despite Carolina shutting out Detroit, Minnesota opens as 4.5-point home favorites against Carolina. Neither team has been spectacular against the spread this year. Minnesota is 6-4 overall and 2-3 at home, whereas Carolina is 6-5 overall and 3-2 on the road. The over/under and spread implies a point total for Minnesota of 27 and 22 for Carolina. Some betting lies are still waiting out the news on Teddy Bridgewater’s status to open the betting on this game.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Week after week, despite the price, we continue to chalk Dalvin Cook into our lineups, and it keeps paying off. While Cook has been outrageously expensive and is so again this week at $9500 on DraftKings, he continues to make it difficult to leave out of our lineups. Over his ten games this season, Cook is averaging 28.7 points per game, of which he has failed to score at least 20 points only three times (one of which he finished with 19.9). This week, Cook’s opponent is Carolina, who has ranked 30th against fantasy running backs. It’s a match made in heaven, and I will gladly pay up for Cook to secure the 20-plus points.
A few thousand less than the top options this week, down at $6300, lies Teddy Bridgwater. So far in ten games, Bridgwater is averaging just shy of 20 points per game. At his price, against a very beatable Vikings secondary, Bridgewater is an enticing option. Most recently, Bridgewater sat out week 11 against the Lions after making it through pre-game warmups without any issues. Head Coach Matt Rhule called it a “gut feeling.” Prior to that, however, Bridgewater had scored at least 19 points in three of his last four games. All expectations are, though, that Bridgwater is good-to-go for the revenge game against the Vikings. Meanwhile, Minnesota most recently allowed 203 passing yards and three touchdowns to Dallas’ Andy Dalton. While the matchup against Minnesota on paper doesn’t look juicy (Minnesota is DraftKings’ 14th-ranked team against quarterbacks), they’re more than capable of giving up big games to opposing signal-callers.
It’s been difficult lately to pick the correct Carolina Panthers wide receiver, but DJ Moore has had the hot hand in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Moore had four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay. Last week, he hauled in seven catches for 127 yards. While the narrative hasn’t been favorable to Moore, overall, he still has a respectable 863 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 46 catches. In this week’s matchup, Minnesota is the 27th-ranked team against opposing wide receivers. Strongly consider stacking Bridgwater and Moore for a major bargain at $12,500. For reference, the Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf stack this week in a tougher matchup would cost you $15,400.
If you believe in the matchup, and the revenge game for Teddy, consider a three-way stack with Bridgewater, Moore, and Robby Anderson. Anderson, at $6100, is cheaper than Moore for the first time since week five. It’s understandable, though, considering Anderson has failed to surpass 15.3 points from week six on and has finished with less than 10 points twice during that stretch. However, all things can be healed with a good matchup. Likely without Christian McCaffrey again, expect both Moore and Anderson to receive a healthy dose of targets against the 27th-ranked team against wide receivers. If you believe in one and not the other, also consider swapping in Curtis Samuel for either one, which is much cheaper at $5100.