Fans are making their NFL Week 4 picks, and the action kicks off with Thursday Night Football bringing us the Minnesota Vikings facing the Los Angeles Rams. On Thursday, the 1-1-1 Minnesota Vikings will travel to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to face the 3-0 Rams. These two teams met last on November 19, 2017, and the Vikings won in convincing fashion with a final score of 24-7. Including seven postseason games, the Rams and Vikings have played each other a whopping 45 times in NFL history, and Minnesota leads the series 27-16-2. Thursday Night Football airs live on Fox, Amazon Prime, and the NFL Network at 8:20 p.m. EST.
Any Given Sunday
This NFL season, quarterback Kirk Cousins looks impressive. He has a completion percentage of 68.3, completing 95 of his 139 pass attempts for 965 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Cousins’ impressive numbers aside, the Vikings have had a very weird first three weeks in the NFL; in Week 1, Minnesota found their only victory against the San Francisco 49ers in a score of 24-16; in Week 2, they found their first tie against the Green Bay Packers in a 29-all game; and last week, they had the worst loss in the season for any NFL team.
In Week 3, the Vikings hosted the Bills in a game where Minnesota was favored by 17 points, and they shockingly lost 27-6, showing why the expression of “any given Sunday” exists in the NFL. In that upset, Minnesota’s offense never took off, and their defense was largely absent during the first half, where the game was decided.
Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have combined for 526 yards this season for four touchdowns. The Vikings ground game averages 66 yards per contest with zero touchdowns, and Dalvin Cook leads the ground report with 26 carries for 78 yards. As a unit, the Vikings are averaging 371.7 yards of total offense, they have the fifth-most passing yards per game at 305.7, and they are averaging 19.7 points per game. Minnesota ranks 12th in the NFL in total offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings have allowed 323 yards and 24 points per game on average. Harrison Smith leads the defense with 20 tackles. Xavier Rhodes has one interception, and Danielle Hunter has found three sacks. Minnesota ranks 10th in the NFL in total yards allowed.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is contending with a hamstring injury, but it looks like he is expected to play on Thursday night. As CBS Sports reported, defensive end Everson Griffen will not be playing Thursday night because of personal issues. Griffen has been banned from Vikings practice, and he is at a local hospital over concerns about his mental health. His teammates consider the talented end a locker room leader and hopefully he makes a full recovery to return to action soon, though his mental health is far more important than any football game. Stephen Weatherly will once again start in Griffen’s absence.
“The only thing I’m really concerned about for Everson isn’t anything to do with football. It’s about him getting better.” - Coach Zimmer https://t.co/1J3lqEBRe2— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 25, 2018
The Rams Are On Fire
The Rams look to be one of the few unbeaten teams in the NFL after Week 4. This season, quarterback Jared Goff is completing 70.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 941 yards for six touchdowns and two interceptions. Robert Woods has found 19 receptions for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper Kupp has 15 receptions for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Brandin Cooks leads the yards in receptions with 336.
Todd Gurley leads the ground report with 225 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Cory Littleton leads with 19 tackles and one interception. Ethan Westbrooks, Ndamukong Suh, Samson Ebukam, and Michael Brockers have all produced a sack a piece. The Los Angeles Rams are very impressive on both sides of the ball this season. They rank third in the NFL in total yardage and points per game, and the Rams D has only allowed 12 points per game, the fewest in the NFL thus far.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles is having some cornerback issues. Rams starting cornerback Aqib Talib will be out at least eight weeks and will undergo ankle surgery on Thursday, as ESPN reported. Cornerback Marcus Peters is questionable with a calf strain, and ESPN reported that his participation in Thursday will be a game-time decision. Sam Shields will be filling the place of Talib and will have a chance to show NFL fans that he’s still got it.
NFL Picks & Odds For Rams Vs. Vikings
As of the time of this writing, the Los Angeles Rams are favored to beat the Minnesota Vikings with the odds set at -7. Few people doubt that the Vikings will find their footing at some point this NFL season, but it may be doubtful this week against a solid Rams team. Furthermore, Minnesota is one of the more banged up teams this NFL season.
The Rams are very impressive on both sides of the ball, and they scored 34 and 35 points respectively in their first two home games this season. That trend looks to continue Thursday night. The Vikings have a short turnaround this week after their Monday night loss against the Bills, and they are now traveling across the country to face a much more consistent team. Overwhelmingly, most experts are supporting the Los Angeles Rams at -7 in their NFL Week 4 picks.