NFC Divisional playoff action opens with San Francisco hosting Minnesota on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Kickoff is slated for 4:35 p.m. ET at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The 49ers enjoyed a bye as top overall seed in the NFC, while the Vikings defeated New Orleans during Wild Card action last week. Will Minnesota take down another top seed or will the San Francisco defense rule the day?
Spread: 49ers -7 (-110) | Vikings +7 (-110)
Moneyline: 49ers (-310) | Vikings (+255)
Game Total: OVER 44 (-110) | UNDER 44 (-110)
Minnesota Vikings’ Recent Form
Following a disastrous start—Adam Thielen lost a fumble on the third play of the game—Minnesota fought back from a 10-3 deficit and defeated New Orleans 26-20 in OT last week. Returning from a shoulder injury, running back Dalvin Cook posted 130 total yards and two touchdowns to lead the Vikings offense. Minnesota won the time of possession battle (36:56 to 27:24) and the defense forced two turnovers.
With the win, Minnesota snapped a three-game postseason losing streak. Prior to that, the Vikings closed the 2019 NFL regular season with a pair of home losses to Green Bay (23-10) and Chicago (21-19). Minnesota fielded a full squad during the loss to the Packers and then rested many of its starters versus the Bears. Dating back to the 2017 season, the Vikings are 4-1 during the second of back-to-back road games.
· Betting Record: SU 11-6 | ATS 10-7 | O/U 9-8
· Offense: Eighth, scoring 25.4 points per game
· Defense: Fifth, allowing 18.9 points per game
· Turnover Rank: Fifth with a +11 differential
San Francisco 49ers’ Recent Form
Rested and aiming to get some injured players healthy, San Francisco was able to kick back and relax during the first round of the 2020 NFL playoffs. The 49ers enter this contest riding a two-game winning streak. During a pair of playoff-style contests, San Francisco closed the regular season with a 34-31 home win over the Los Angeles Rams and a 26-21 Week 17 victory against the Seahawks on the road in Seattle.
Very impressive during the first half of the regular season, San Francisco outscored its opponents by a 235-102 margin to open with an 8-0 record. Dealing with some key injuries on both sides of the ball, the 49ers went 5-3 in the second half and those eight games were decided by a 244-208 combined final count in favor of San Francisco. The 49ers posted a 6-2 SU record but were just 3-4-1 ATS at home this season.
· Betting Record: SU 13-3 | ATS 9-6-1 | O/U 8-7-1
· Offense: Second, scoring 29.9 points per game
· Defense: Eighth, allowing 19.4 points per game
· Turnover Rank: 11th with a +4 differential
Fantasy Football Divisional Weekend Studs and Duds
NFL bettors need every advantage they can get in order beat the bookmakers. In an extensive Divisional playoff preview, the experts at Fulltime Fantasy Sports have posted a comprehensive look at the San Francisco vs. Minnesota matchup. Also, exciting LIVE fantasy drafts are being offered in the Fulltime Fantasy draft lobby until 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Get in on this action that plays out over the final three rounds of the 2020 NFL playoffs.
San Francisco vs Minnesota Recent History
Minnesota and San Francisco last met during Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season with the Vikings posting a 24-16 win at home. While the cast of players is similar here, that was the beginning of a dismal 4-12 season by the 49ers. In his first start for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins posted 244 passing yards and two touchdowns. Jimmy Garoppolo made his debut for the 49ers and had a game to forget, as he tossed three INT in the loss.
Injury Update: Vikings and 49ers Are Near Full Health
Minnesota escaped New Orleans without any significant new injuries. The Vikings faced a few injury concerns heading into Wild Card weekend. They proved to be non-factors as Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen on offense, plus LB Eric Kendricks on defense, all played at a high level versus the Saints. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander just had knee surgery and is out while safety Jayron Kearse is questionable.
Injuries hampered the San Francisco defense down the stretch but a few key players are expected to return for this contest. Out since Week 9, linebacker Kwon Alexander (pectoral) will help bolster the 49ers run defense that closed the season ranked 17th overall. DE Dee Ford, an edge-rushing specialist who had 6.5 sacks over 10 starts, is also expected back after he missed six games with a hamstring injury.
Minnesota and San Francisco: Same Team Opponent Results
These teams faced four same team opponents during the regular season. Versus non-playoff teams, the Vikings defeated Atlanta (28-12) and Washington (19-9) while the 49ers lost to Atlanta (29-22) and beat Washington (9-0).
Minnesota lost twice to Green Bay (21-16 and 23-10) who San Francisco crushed 37-8. In the other matchup, the 49ers lost at home to the Seahawks (27-24 OT) and won in Seattle (26-21) while the Vikings lost 37-30 in Seattle.
Vikings vs. 49ers Final Thoughts and Pick
San Francisco lost three times this season by 13 combined points, and all of them were decided with two seconds or less left on the game clock. The 49ers lost at home to Seahawks by a field goal on the final play of OT in Week 10. That was followed by a Week 13 field goal loss in the final seconds to the Ravens in Baltimore. During the most puzzling loss of the season, the 49ers allowed a touchdown with two seconds left at home in Week 15 versus Atlanta.
Having Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook together, at near full health for the first time since Week 7, was a huge boost for Minnesota last week. While the Vikings didn’t light up the scoreboard, that trio posted 286 combined yards and Cook had two rushing touchdowns. Kirk Cousins still can’t be fully trusted under big game bright lights, but he plays much better when he has a full compliment of weapons. All four players need to play at a high level here.
Minnesota was 4-4 on the road this season and three of the losses were by seven points or more. A huge key for the 49ers is protecting Garoppolo from Minnesota edge-rushers Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. San Francisco has one of the most diverse offensive attacks in the NFL, as 13 players caught TD passes and six players posted a rushing score. Having an extra week of rest, plus time to get healthy, is a decided advantage for San Francisco.
Pick: 49ers -7
Playoff Record: 3-1
Season Record: 41-57-2
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