Sunday, December 13, 2020, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, 1 p.m. ET
Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Preview: Vikings (+6.5/-105), Buccaneers (-6.5/-115)
The Vikings (6-6) are shooting for their sixth win in the past seven games as they ride a hot trio of offensive players. Kirk Cousins has topped 300 yards and thrown three touchdown passes in each of the past three games. He has 14 touchdown passes against two interceptions during the team’s 5-1 stretch. Running back Dalvin Cook had 179 scrimmage yards (120 rushing, 59 receiving) on a career-best 38 touches against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday and ranks second in the NFL with 1,250 rushing yards.
The most surprising efforts have come from rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, who ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,039 yards while scoring seven touchdowns among his 61 catches. Five-time Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith is exhibiting his customary strong play, and he leads the Vikings with four interceptions. Linebacker Eric Kendricks (team-best 107 tackles) is over 100 for the fifth straight season and is expected to play despite missing practice Wednesday due to a calf injury.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) sat out Wednesday. His status is one to watch as he has started 97 consecutive games. Backup running back Alexander Mattison (appendectomy) missed last week’s game and likely will sit out again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers (7-5) return from a well-timed bye that followed a stretch of three losses in four games. Tampa Bay is three games behind New Orleans in the NFC South, so the focus is on earning a wild-card spot, which is certainly helped by their final three contests coming against the Atlanta Falcons (two) and the Detroit Lions. Tampa Bay will rely on the likes of outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5 sacks) and cornerback Carlton Davis (four interceptions) when it comes to slowing down the Minnesota offense.
Quarterback Tom Brady appeared to be finding his stride when he went four games without an interception, but he has been picked off seven times over the last four games. Brady has passed for 3,300 yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions but hasn’t fully clicked with the methods of coach Bruce Arians. Wideout Mike Evans has 11 touchdown catches. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his best outing of the season with six receptions for 106 yards in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that preceded the bye.
Receiver Chris Godwin, a Pro Bowl selection last season, had the pins removed from his fractured left index finger earlier this week and is expected to be fine by Sunday. Cornerback Jamel Dean has cleared the concussion protocol but is dealing with a groin injury that leaves his status in doubt.
Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Pick for Week 13
The Buccaneers are rested and refreshed after the bye and focused on finishing strong. The Vikings have been hot but were pushed into overtime by the lowly Jaguars last week.
Cousins has been on a roll, but you never know when he will revert to being the quarterback who was picked off multiple times in three of the first six games of the season. Brady is well aware he needs to raise his level of play, and this game looks to be the time to start.
Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Pick:
Buccaneers 34, Vikings 28
Vikings at Buccaneers Best Bet for Week 13
Playmakers are all over the field with Cook, Jefferson and wideout Adam Thielen (12 receiving touchdowns) for the Vikings and Evans, Godwin, Gronkowski, wideout Antonio Brown and running back Ronald Jones II for the Buccaneers. Expect the scoreboard to be busy.
Vikings at Buccaneers Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)