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Redskins at Vikings

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Two teams that made surprising playoff runs last season are struggling to just get to .500 as the Redskins and Vikings meet up Thursday night in Minnesota. Washington began last season slow with a 3-6 start before winning its final seven games to claim the NFC East championship. This season, the Redskins own a 3-5 record, but are still hanging around in the division race after a home overtime triumph on Sunday.

Washington outlasted San Diego, 30-24 to cash as slim one-point favorites thanks to a four-yard touchdown run by Darrel Young, the third score of the day for the fullback. The Redskins ran all over the Chargers' defense for 209 yards, while all four rushing touchdowns came from less than five yards out. Robert Griffin III bounced back from a rough outing at Denver last week to throw for 291 yards, but was responsible for a tipped interception recovered in the end zone by the Chargers.

The Vikings had opportunities to win in road defeats at Detroit and Chicago early in the season and blew another chance this past Sunday at Dallas. Minnesota overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to take a 23-20 lead, but the Cowboys rallied for a touchdown in the final minute to shock the Vikings, 27-23. The Vikings managed to cover as 10-point road underdogs, while Adrian Peterson ran all over the Dallas defense for 140 yards and a bruising 11-yard touchdown. However, Minnesota now owns an 0-4 record on the highway, in spite of a 3-1 ATS mark away from Mall of America Field.

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These teams met up in D.C. last October, as the Redskins outlasted the Vikings, 38-26. The defining moment of this contest was a 76-yard touchdown scamper by Griffin in the final three minutes to put away the victory and a cover as one-point home 'dogs. Griffin ran for two scores and threw for another, while Christian Ponder was intercepted twice, including one returned for a touchdown. This is just Washington's second visit to Minneapolis since 1999, as the two clubs have split the last six meetings in this span.

VegasInsider.com handicapper Antony Dinero says to keep an eye out for Minnesota, "Peterson looks about as healthy as he has all season, so if the Vikings can get anything out of their passing game and special teams, they'll be a dangerous spoiler the rest of the way. Because no one has pulled away in the NFC East, Washington remains a contender, especially if Griffin has turned the corner physically. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu have revived the running game, setting the stage for a Thursday night game that may be more entertaining than we'd expect at face value from two sub-.500 teams."

Minnesota has won just once in four home games, but that victory came in London against Pittsburgh as the Vikings were listed as the "home" team. In the three contests played at Mall of America Field, the Vikings have allowed at least 31 points in losses to the Browns, Panthers, and Packers, while cashing the 'over' all three times. Since 2011, the Vikings are 6-2 ATS as a home underdog (excluded the London game), including three outright wins as a 'dog of 3 ½ points or less.

Washington finished last season with a 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS record away from FedEx Field, but the Redskins have stumbled to a 1-3 SU/ATS on the road in 2013. The lone victory for Mike Shanahan's team did come in the road favorite role in Week 4 at Oakland, beating the Raiders, 24-14 as three-point 'chalk.'

From a totals perspective, the Vikings have hit the 'over' in six of eight games, while falling short of an 'over' in the Dallas loss by one point. This is the second total above 50 for Minnesota this season, as the Vikings have seen just three totals of 50 or higher since the start of the 2010 campaign. Washington is 5-3 to the 'over' through eight games, including three consecutive 'overs' against San Diego, Chicago, and Denver.

The Redskins are listed as 2 ½-point road favorites at most spots, while the total sits between 50 and 50 ½. The game kicks off at 8:25 PM EST and can be seen on the NFL Network.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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