Could the Vikings’ D take them to the “Ship”?
The NFC is wide open! Anyone can be beaten. Sure, we could say this about the AFC as well, but pundits are hellbent on another Ravens-Chiefs rematch in the AFC Championship. Anyway, back to the NFC.
After another Saints controversial loss in Super Dome, anything can happen. According to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal
“The Vikings are not your average No. 6 seed. On pure talent, they are the second-best NFC team left (behind the 49ers) and have the fourth-best roster in the playoffs, after you also factor in the top two seeds in the AFC.”
We get it! The Offense is powerful…
The Minnesota Vikings‘ offense is easy to sum up. Adam Thielen may a cut on his foot that required stitches, but I don’t believe much is going to stop him from playing this weekend. He’s more than just a decoy. Stefon Diggs is such an explosive 1B option that the San Francisco 49ers will have their hands full if they cannot get pressure on the Kirk Cousins.
Add a 2-time Pro Bowler TE to the mix and a home-run-hitting RB in Dalvin Cook, and were talking about firepower galore. We know what this offense can do. The Vikings’ defense is a real factor here.
Defense wins ch…
Xavier Rhodes is a player I have gushed over for years; he consistently shuts out #1 receivers. Sure, the season has not been his best, but I believe he is as solid of a corner you can ask for in the playoffs that is not in the AFC. As long as he doesn’t get roasted like he did week 13 against David Moore of the Seattle Seahawks, he’ll be okay. #29 will be charged with the responsibility of traveling with the 49ers Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday. The former Broncos WR had explosive moments since his transfer to the NFC’s #1 Seed, racking up 367 yards on 30 catches through seven games. However, I believe Rhodes turns #17 into a nonfactor, holding him under 40-yards on the day.
The matchup that may determine this game is Deebo Samuel vs. Trae Waynes. Trae is the weaker CB of the tandem. He has been known for being physical but also for being beat bad on routes. Deebo has thrived as a rookie and been used in the rushing and air attack. QBs like to try his side of the field, evidenced by his 58 Tackles on the season. He is 15th in the league. Look for Jimmy Garapolo to try Waynes early and often this weekend.
Of course, how could I forget the league lead in interceptions? According to Vikings.com PFF’s Sam Monson had this to say about LB Eric Kendricks:
“A player with legitimate Defensive Player of the Year credentials, Eric Kendricks was one of the best coverage players in football this year. You wouldn’t know it if all you were focused on was the interception total, but Kendricks had a ludicrous 12 pass breakups and allowed a passer rating of just 83.0 when targeted, which was more than 20 points lower than the league average when throwing at linebackers. Few linebackers can match up in coverage the way he did this season, both in man coverage against backs and tight ends but also in zones across the middle and even deep down the field.”
Combine Kendricks with five-time Pro-Bowler, Harrison Smith, and this year’s first-team All-Pro Safety, Anthony Harris, and you’re looking at one of the deadliest defenses in football.
San Francisco better to their homework or face elimination by a franchise that looks great on paper this year.