Vikings vs. Colts Predictions: Lots of Pressure to Avoid 0-2 Start
Starting 0-2 in the NFL is basically a death sentence.
Since 2009, just eight of 99 teams to start with two losses have ended up reaching the playoffs. And it's not like this year's expanded postseason will change that very much: only two additional 0-2 teams would've made it under a 14-team format.
In that sense, this week's game between the 0-1 Vikings and the 0-1 Colts is more or less an elimination game. Whichever team loses will still have hopes of turning things around over the remaining 14 games, but it'll be extremely difficult for them to do so.
That means the sense of urgency is going to be incredibly high on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both the Vikings and Colts have plans to play in the postseason and are going to be in desperate pursuit of their first victory of the season, but only one team is going to get the job done.
Let's start with my prediction and then take a look at some picks from national media members for this game.
Will's pick: Vikings 30, Colts 24
Even though the Colts are favored, I just think the Vikings are the slightly better team in this matchup. They've got the elite playmakers to rebound on defense, especially if the young corners take a step forward, which I expect. Offensively, I think Cousins and the Vikings are going to have a big day against the Colts' secondary. I'm worried about Jonathan Taylor and the Indy offensive line, but I think Minnesota pulls this one out on the road.
Last week's pick: Packers 27, Vikings 24. Season record: 1-0
SI MMQB: The six NFL pickers for Sports Illustrated are split on this one, with three taking the Vikings and three taking the Colts. Full picks here.
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Colts 34, Vikings 27
The Colts averaged the second-most yards per drive in Week 1, and this matchup sets up well for them. The Vikings' total lack of an interior D-line presence in the opener was even more alarming than the young secondary's struggles. That's bad news coming into a matchup against one of the NFL's best offensive lines, with rookie Jonathan Taylor positioned to rip a few big runs up the seams. Indy's defense hasn't played well in a long time – going back to last season, in fact – but this Colts offense is better positioned to win a shootout.
Bleacher Report Staff: Vikings 24, Colts 23
Five of B/R's six staffers are picking the Vikings in this one.
The Minnesota secondary is in transition, but a declining, mistake-prone Philip Rivers might have more trouble exploiting that than Aaron Rodgers after he threw two picks and posted a sub-90 passer rating in his Colts debut. Both of these teams are better than their Week 1 results would lead you to believe, but only Minnesota won a playoff game last season, and the Vikes should benefit from having far more continuity than Indy.
Mike Florio, PFT: Vikings 30, Colts 21
One of these two teams will end up 0-2. The Vikings offense is better than advertised. Given that Aaron Rodgers is significantly better than Philip Rivers, that should be more than enough of the Vikings.
Michael David Smith, PFT: Vikings 20, Colts 17
These two teams were both major disappointments in Week One. I like the Vikings to bounce back with a road upset.
Courtney Cronin, ESPN Vikings Reporter: Colts 28, Vikings 24
Bold prediction: Vikings receiver Adam Thielen will haul in seven catches for 120-plus yards. It'll be his second straight week crossing the century mark, putting him on his way to matching the historic streak he set in 2018 when he started the season with eight straight 100-yard receiving performances.
Mike Wells, ESPN Colts Reporter: Colts 27, Vikings 23
What to watch for: Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes faces his former team; the Vikings released him in the offseason after seven seasons with the franchise. Rhodes' debut with the Colts didn't go too well in Week 1 against Jacksonville. He gave up a 22-yard touchdown when he was caught peeking in the backfield, expecting a run. Then he was flagged for 30-yard pass interference, which ended up leading to a field goal for the Jaguars. Can he improve while trying to contain Minnesota's passing attack?
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Colts 30, Vikings 21
You hate to say a Week 2 game is a must-win, but this might be for these two. They can't afford to go 0-2 with both losing last week. The Minnesota defense was awful and I think that will carry over. Philip Rivers gets the Colts offense going as they win their first game.
Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Colts 31, Vikings 24
Philip Rivers’ gambling nature leads to enough head-scratching turnovers to give the Vikings’ embattled 32nd-ranked (as in last) defense hope. A year ago, Rivers turned the ball over four times in a 39-10 Chargers loss to the Vikings. But Indy’s offensive line is far superior. And, right now, the Vikings’ defense is a far cry from the one that destroyed Rivers in Los Angeles nine months ago.
Sam Farmer, LA Times: Colts 23, Vikings 21
No reason Philip Rivers should be throwing it 46 times. With that line, he should be checking into runs, establishing a ground game and setting up play-action. The Vikings lost some key players on defense.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Vikings 30, Colts 24
The Colts getting a field goal at home makes this a toss-up game in the eyes of oddsmakers, which seems reasonable for a contest featuring a pair of contenders who suffered disappointing results in Week 1. The Vikings, though, lost to a much better team than the Colts did. They also have more stability at quarterback and better health in the running game.
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