“When The North And West Meet”


NFC Game Of The Week

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

Vikings: I never know what to expect from them. Just a few years ago, they were a game away from playing in the Super Bowl in their own stadium. A year later, they break the bank to sign Kirk Cousins. No playoffs in the first chapter of the Kirk experiment. Now, they’re 8-3 and fighting for a Wild Card spot. They could win the division, but I just don’t see Green Bay letting up anytime soon. The Vikings are on a roll though. Many won’t say this, but I feel Kirk Cousins is an MVP candidate. Men lie, women lie but numbers don’t. He’s thrown 21 touchdown passes to only three interceptions. The knock on him was can he beat quality teams? He beat a division leader in the Cowboys a few weeks ago on the primetime stage. Their offense has been fun to watch. Even without Adam Thielen, other guys have stepped it up tremendously. If you’ve followed Mike Zimmer, he’s been a defensive minded guy his entire coaching career. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the Vikings are one of the best defensive units in the NFL. They have playmakers in each tier of the defense. Pass rushers in Danielle Hunter, linebackers that can do it all in Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr then, a talented group of defensive backs. Harrison Smith has always been the guy who stands out. They use him in so many ways. He lines up in the box and always attacks the line of scrimmage. If the Vikings want another big win, they’ll go to Seattle next Monday night.

Seahawks: Sunday was the best all-around win for them all season long. They were able to push the football down the field as they’ve done all season long. When they have their running game going, they’re a tough group to beat. Running the football has always been their bread and butter. It also takes pressure off Russell Wilson because he doesn’t have to drop back to throw the football over 40 times a game. The biggest question this year has been why has Russell been able to be so successful? His offensive line has finally given him time! That has been a major issue in Seattle the last few seasons. If you’ve watched the Seahawks closely over the years, you always saw Russell running for his life because the offensive line struggled to give him a clean pocket to throw from. He always had to improvise to make those passes on the run. Now, he’s been protected for most of the season. The NFC is a logjam. There’s San Francisco, Green Bay, New Orleans, Dallas, Minnesota and Seattle. In no order, these are the six best teams in the NFC. I like what I saw from the Seahawks defense on Sunday in Philadelphia. They were able to intercept Carson Wentz twice, they pressured him throughout the game and a few weeks ago, I called for their secondary to play more zone to cut off the routes. Whenever they played man in the backend, they would get picked apart. Right now, the Seahawks are locked into one of the two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff picture. This team can still win the division. They’ll begin December football with a Monday nighter.

Vikings Player to Watch: Eric Kendricks– He was meant to play linebacker. His style of play was meant for this defense. Eric can cover the flat, he can rush the passer up the middle on a blitz, I’ve seen him as that spy in the middle of the front seven. His nose for the football is what stands out to me. He’s wherever the football is. He’ll be all in on trying to pressure Russell in this game.

Seahawks Player to Watch: K.J. Wright– There’s always been bigger names on the Seattle defense, he’s been their most consistent. He’s fearless and quietly handles his business. If you’re a linebacker and need a guy to study, I recommend him. He squares up each time to tackle perfectly. He just always happens to be at the right place at the right time. He’ll be a force in this one on Monday night.

Final Analysis: This is a nice way to end week 13. Two playoff hopefuls in the NFC. Both quarterbacks have been putting together extremely solid seasons. This is another big game for Kirk Cousins. He won under the lights a few weeks ago when the Vikings got a big win against the Cowboys. Going to Seattle is a much tougher task this time around. All he must do is play his game. That’s what’s made him so successful this year. Just being himself. This Seahawks secondary will be tested with the Vikings receivers. Diggs, Thielen (if he plays), Rudolph and Dalvin Cook who always impacts the passing game.

Prediction: Seahawks 29 Vikings 26

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