NFC Divisional Playoffs: Three things to watch in Saints-Vikings

16 January, 2018, 00:48 | Author: Felix Jensen
  • Vikings Prep For Playoff Revenge Versus Saints

Special teams are often the silent difference maker in most evenly matched games.

The New Orleans Saints are 0-3 straight up and against the spread over their last three road games.

Now the Vikings have an opportunity to become the first team to play a Super Bowl on home turf, a feat the Saints would be happy to deny.

Leading that Vikings win were quarterback Sam Bradford and rookie running back Dalvin Cook. While a change at the position at this critical juncture would seem foolish on the part of Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer, he is still clearly keeping his options open ahead of the Vikings second-round playoff matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

Just because the Vikings won handily in Week 1, it does not mean Sunday's playoff game will have a similar result.

Sunday's NFL Divisional Round wraps up with what, on paper, looks like the best game of the slate. They've been beaten at home twice this season by good teams with solid rushing offenses, the Panthers and the Steelers.

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While pretty much all Vikings fans can agree they are a tortured population (a few too many even take pride in this suffering, if you ask me), you'll get some disagreement in which is worse. Minnesota dominated the game - 31-15 first downs, 475-257 in total yards - but finished minus-4 in turnovers and lost in overtime. As of Thursday afternoon, 64% of public bettors are on New Orleans but 64% of the money is on Minnesota. The Vikings' elite targets at receiver, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, make their passing attack that much tougher to defend.

Shurmur, of course, is one of the hottest names out there for head coach openings and Arizona isn't the only team that is high on him. Saints FB Zach Line, who spent four seasons with Vikings, had TD run last week. The Saints had a hard time establishing the run early on, limited to 81 yards in a Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots.

If for any reason Keenum struggles, we must wonder if the team would actually pull him out and replace him with Bradford. The Vikings' defensive line might be the best in the National Football League, and it'll put pressure on Drew Brees, who's playing behind a banged-up offensive line after losing left guard Andrus Peat to an injury and with left tackle Terron Armstead already nursing an injury. During an interview this week, Cameron touched upon Doleman while looking back at some top players who were teammates of his father. Wide receiver Michael Thomas came up huge late in the game, finishing with eight catches for 131 yards. He has four receiving touchdowns inside the red zone, has been targeted 17 times inside the 20-yard-line, getting 14 grabs.

"When you put a good scheme and real good players together, that's what you're seeing now", he said this week.

"I just pray the Vikings get to the Super Bowl next year", Geoffrey said.

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