Vikings vs Commanders Week 9 Picks and Predictions: Taylor Made for Starter's Role

Minnesota's record looks impressive, but the Vikings have been pillaging weak defenses, and that's not what they're about to face on Sunday. See why the Commanders will put up for of a fight with our Week 9 NFL picks.

Nov 6, 2022 • 08:18 ET • 4 min read
Taylor Heinicke NFL picks
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The Washington Commanders (4-4) have reversed their luck and won three straight games, the last two coming with Taylor Heinecke under center and by a combined three points against the Packers and Colts.

They return home in Week 9 to take on the Minnesota Vikings (6-1), who are winners of six straight following their 34-26 win over the Cardinals. The Vikings made a splash at the trade deadline earlier this week, adding former eighth-overall pick T.J. Hockenson.

Will the Vikings and their new toy at tight end put their seventh consecutive W on the board this week? Find out in our Vikings vs. Commanders NFL picks and predictions for Sunday, November 6.

Vikings vs Commanders best odds

Vikings vs Commanders picks and predictions

Just three weeks ago, the Commanders' season was seemingly over. With a record of 1-4 while the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys had just two losses combined, there was rightfully an abundant lack of optimism.

But things turned for the better in Week 6 on Thursday Night Football after an ugly 12-7 win over the Bears. Head coach Ron Rivera was spared a tough decision he was likely going to make sooner rather than later, with Carson Wentz sustaining an injury that would sideline him and thrust Taylor Heinecke into the starting role.

The Commanders may have only put 40 points on the scoreboard in the two weeks since, but they have been a quality assortment of points. Heinecke has correctly given Terry McLaurin more attention, with the recently-extended wideout accumulating 186 yards across those two games after totaling just 367 in the previous six.

Antonio Gibson has also shown renewed life. The former Memphis hybrid offensive weapon averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the last two games after just 3.5 prior to that, and put up a receiving touchdown in each of those games — his first two receiving touchdowns on the season.

That well-rounded offensive approach that utilizes its most dangerous and dynamic playmakers is the exact type that can abuse a 21st-ranked Vikings defense according to DVOA. That same defense has also allowed 22 or more points in four of the last five games, however the offense has simply outpaced that scoring during this five-game win streak.

But that offense may struggle against a Commanders defense that has turned the page as of late. It held the quickly-improving Justin Fields to seven points, the Packers' offense to 14 points, and the Colts to 16.

The Commanders have had the juice as of late, and catching a field goal at home is just a tad too much.

My best bet: Commanders +3 (+100 at DraftKings)

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Vikings vs Commanders spread analysis

The likelihood of an offensive struggle on behalf of the Vikings also becomes more likely when examining the defenses they’ve played thus far. Minnesota's offense has had the third-easiest schedule of defenses according to Football Outsiders.

So, while many have given Kevin O'Connell props for orchestrating an offense averaging 24.7 points per game (good for ninth), there is certainly more than what meets the eye. It's also pretty damning that the Vikings coaching staff has not found a way to scheme Justin Jefferson into the end zone, with the star third-year wideout not scoring a touchdown since Week 1.

The addition of T.J. Hockenson at the trade deadline might get some excited, but the reality is that Hockenson has largely been a massive disappointment to this point in his career given his draft pedigree (eighth overall pick in 2019) and the majority of the few flashes he had while with the Lions came more out of occasional necessity (extensive injuries to skill position players) as opposed to the merit of his own talent. And a short week of acclimation and preparation will likely render him as a marginal impact.

At the magical number of a field goal, the Commanders also find themselves in a favorable position against the spread: home underdogs of a field goal or more are 19-10-1 (65.5%) against the spread in 2022.

Vikings vs Commanders Over/Under analysis

The total of 43.5 for this NFC matchup is a modest one for the 2022 season. Neither team has played outstandingly either way this year, with the Vikings going 4-3 towards the Over and the Commanders going 5-3 the opposite way.

However as mentioned before, the Commanders have been much better defensively as of late. As a result (and with the help of some blunderous Wentz performances earlier in the season), Washington has now gone under the total in five of its last six.

If we expect Washington to lower the ceiling of the already-inflated offensive output of the Vikings, and if we anticipate Heinecke's version of this offense to continue to be efficient but lacking in scoring explosiveness, then the Under is the right way to look.

Vikings vs Commanders betting trend to know

Home underdogs of a field goal or more are 19-10-1 (65.5%) against the spread in 2022. Find more NFL betting trends for Vikings vs. Commanders.

Vikings vs Commanders game info

Location: FedExField, Landover, MD
Date: Sunday, November 6, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Commanders +3.5, 43.5 O/U

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