Minnesota (6-8) at New Orleans (10-4), 4:30 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon. Week 16 gets underway on Christmas Day in the Big Easy as many will be opening gifts (hopefully a new TV will be one of them!) as Minnesota and New Orleans meet in the same place for the first time since January. Both teams took losses at home in the great indoors last Sunday and while the Saints have already secured a playoff spot, the Vikings are looking to get a playoff spot of their own.

Chicago gained some revenge from their loss at Soldier Field to Minnesota by beating Kirk Cousins and the Vikings 33-27 at US Bank Stadium last Sunday in the Twin Cities. Minnesota trailed 20-10 at the break in the Land of 10,000 Lakes before outscoring Da Bears 17-13 in the final 30 minutes of play and pulled themselves to within 3 with 8:05 left when Cousins and TE Tyler Conklin connected on a 20-yard TD toss. Chicago would take control of things later in the contest when Bears K Chris Santos connected on a 42-yard field goal with 56 seconds left in regulation, then stopped a Vikings drive when Cousins was picked off by Sherrick McManis to end the contest.

Da Bears out-rushed Minnesota 199-158 and Bears RB David Montgomery led all rushers with 146 yards and a pair of TDs, while Vikings RB Dalvin Cook was no slouch, tallying 132 yards and a TD. Cousins threw for 271 yards and threw TD passes to Adam Thielen and Conklin with three sacks, while Mitchell Trubisky led Chicago with 202 yard and a TD toss to WR Darnell Mooney (Trubisky was sacked once, both men threw an interception; Vikings WR Justin Jefferson led all recievers with 104 yards on eight catches). Minnesota was 4 for 11 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and the Vikings held the ball for 27:01, while Da Bears were rulers of the clock, keeping the ball in hibernation for 32:59, going 6 for 12 on third down.

The Saints welcomed the return of Drew Brees to the lineup last Sunday against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City in the Big Easy but it would be the defending Super Bowl champs coming out of the Mercedes Benz Superdome with the 32-29 win. New Orleans trailed 14-9 at the intermission, then took their only lead of the contest with 13:16 left in the third when Brees and RB Latavius Murray connected on a 24-yard TD toss to make it a 15-14 contest (New Orleans went for the two-point conversion but failed). Kansas City would then take the lead back for keeps, using a 12-yard TD toss from Mahomes to WR Mecole Hardman and a 12-yard run by LeVeon Bell to restore some order. New Orleans was not going away quietly, pulling themselves to within six with 2:06 left in the contest when Brees and WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey would connect on a 7-yard TD toss.

The defending Super Bowl champs out-rushed New Orleans 179-60 with Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading all rushers with 79 yards before leaving the contest with an ankle injury, while Alvin Kamara led New Orleans with 54 yards; Mahomes threw for 254 yards and threw TDs to Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Hardman, while being sacked four times; Brees threw for 234 yards and threw TDs to Kamara, Murray and Humphrey with a sack and threw the game’s only interception. New Orleans was a dismal 1 for 11 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 1 for 1 and kept the ball for 18:46, while the Chiefs were Scrooges with the pigskin, keeping the ball for a miserly 41:14, going 9 for 18 on third down.

Minnesota leads the series 19-11 and have outscored the Saints 752-561. They last met in the same venue in the 2019 NFC Wild Card game and the Saints erased a 20-10 deficit at the end of three quarters, tying things up in the final 15 minutes of play with a 20-yard TD pass from Brees to Hill and a 49-yard field goal by Will Lutz to send the contest into overtime, only to see Minnesota use a 9-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:20 of clock in the extra period to leave the Mercedes-Benz Superdome 26-20 winners.

The Vikings would lead 13-10 at the break, using a pair of Dan Bailey field goals and a Dalvin Cook rushing TD to lead by 3. Cook would then add another rushing TD in the third quarter to give Minnesota a 10-point lead at the end of three quarters. New Orleans would not go away quietly, scoring their final 10 points unchallenged, using the Hill TD and Lutz field goal to even things up. The Lutz field goal would be the last time that New Orleans would see the football as the Vikings would win the toss in the overtime and took control of things in the extra period, as they would leave the Big Easy with the win, with Cousins connecting with Kyle Rudolph for the win on a 4-yard TD toss.

Minnesota out-rushed the Saints 136-97 with Cook leading all rushers with 94 yards and a pair of TDs (Hill led New Orleans with 50 yards); Cousins threw for 242 yards, while Brees threw for 208 yards and was responsible for the game’s only interception (both men threw a TD, Cousins was sacked twice, Brees was sacked three times). The Vikings were 10 for 18 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:56 (including the overtime), while the Saints, keeping the ball for 27:24, went 4 for 11 on third down tries (neither team had a fourth down attempt).

New Orleans was favored by 8 in the NFC Wild Card game in the Big Easy but Minnesota failed to cover, winning by only 6 and both clubs missed the 48 over/under by a safety. Vegas likes the Saints again, this time by 7 with a 52 over/under. Brees and the Saints are looking to right their ship, while Minnesota has a chance to play Dirty Santa and help Green Bay keep the one seed in the NFC. Minnesota will have a “Wonderful Life” and be George Baileys, upseting the Saints in the Big Easy but expect New Orleans to keep it closer than the 7.

Broadcast Information – 4:30 p.m. on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: TBD; SIRIUS: 82 (Minnesota), 83 (New Orleans); XM: 226 (Minnesota), 225 (New Orleans), 88 (National)

Referee: Adrian Hill

Injury Report

Minnesota
OUT: LB Troy Dye (concussion, hamstring), DE Jalyn Holmes (groin), LB Eric Kendricks (calf), RB Alexander Mattison (concussion), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot)
DOUBTFUL: LB Todd Davis (ribs)
QUESTIONABLE: RB C.J. Ham (quadricep), DT Armon Watts (ankle)

New Orleans
OUT: G Nick Easton (concussion), WR Tre’Quan Smith (ankle), S Marcus Williams (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Malcom Brown (calf), DE Trey Hendrickson (neck), G Andrus Peat (ankle)

Weather: Game indoors

Broadcast Information, Officials and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel