Vikings-Chargers Line Among the Biggest in Week 1

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:

Carrie Stroup here with another important 2011 NFL game preview.  The Vikings-Chargers line was listed at San Diego -8.5 and is among the largest spreads of Week 1 in the NFL. 

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: San Diego -8.5 & 41.5

Opening Line & Total: SD -9.5 & 41

Two of 2010’s most disappointing teams will try to kick of 2011 the right way when San Diego hosts Minnesota in Week 1.

The Chargers closed out last season with SU wins in seven of their final nine contests (6-3 ATS). By the end of 2010, they seemed to have sorted out the special teams issues that had cost them dearly early on, and now they’ll get a full season of 2010 holdouts WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill. The Vikings went 3-3 SU and ATS after Leslie Frazier was installed as head coach, but the record looks better than the actual performance. They lost big to the Giants (by 18), Chicago (by 26) and Detroit (by 7) and their wins were unimpressive, beating Buffalo, Washington, then Philadelphia in a fluky snow-out Tuesday game. Before that win in Philly, Minnesota went 0-8 SU and ATS against teams that finished 2010 with winning records, getting outscored 218-104 (14.3 PPG).

Because of their special teams struggles, the Chargers pulled off the rare feat of missing the playoffs despite finishing first in the league in total offense and total defense. In Week 1, QB Philip Rivers should have his full complement of weapons. Jackson and McNeill are both still in San Diego, All-Pro TE Antonio Gates is as healthy as he’s been in a while, and RB Ryan Mathews finished his rookie season strong after recovering from a high ankle sprain. The Chargers could certainly lead the NFL in total offense again.

Defensively, they lost coordinator Ron Rivera (now the head coach in Carolina), but brought in Greg Manusky, who ran a similar scheme in San Francisco and coached the Chargers’ linebackers from 2002-06. There was some turnover with personnel. ILB Takeo Spikes came over from the 49ers with Manusky and will replace the highly-productive Kevin Burnett (signed with Miami). OLB Larry English, their 2009 first-round pick, is likely to start for the first time, and San Diego added oft-injured former Colts star Bob Sanders to fill their revolving door at strong safety.

The Vikings offense will try to control the clock with RB Adrian Peterson, but the Chargers were top-five in rushing yards allowed per game (93.8) and per carry (3.7) last year.

Minnesota’s biggest addition was QB Donovan McNabb, who is coming off a miserable year in Washington. It’s enough to make you wonder if the 34-year-old was simply a product of Andy Reid’s outstanding system in Philadelphia. McNabb, who is probable with a wrist injury, will have little to work with in the passing game. Top outside threat Sidney Rice signed with Seattle, leaving slot receiver Percy Harvin and TE Visanthe Shiancoe as his most reliable options. The Vikes cut ties with long-time LT Bryant McKinnie and replaced him with former Colt Charlie Johnson, who often struggled in Indy, but whose flaws were covered up by Peyton Manning’s ability to get the ball out quickly.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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