Posted on December 7, 2018, by Travis Pulver
When the season began, the Minnesota Vikings were expected to be a contender while the Seattle Seahawks were supposed to be rebuilding. Fast forward to Week 14 and the Vikings are fighting to remain in the wildcard picture.As for the Seahawks—they have become the team no one wants to face in the playoffs.
So, when the two face off in Seattle on Monday Night Football this week, the stakes will be kind of high. A victory will put the winner in a better position in the wild-card race. A defeat will not knock the loser out of contention. But the road to the playoffs will become a lot tougher.
For the Minnesota Vikings, it will depend somewhat on what version of the offense shows up. It seems to work at its best when they try to throw the ball downfield. They have the personnel to get the job done. Kirk Cousins has been very accurate this season. So far, he has completed over 70 percent of his passes.
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It helps that he has two of the best downfield receivers in the game to work with (Adam Thielen is averaging 11.8 yards/catch; Stefon Diggs is averaging 10.0 yards/catch). But while they are good at the downfield passing game, they do it to a degree out of necessity.
At times, they have run the ball very well. But for most of the season, they have struggled to run the ball or failed to commit to it. Cook averaged 9.3 yards a carry last week against the Patriots but only had nine carries.
While the Vikings defense has been hit hard with injuries this season, they are still a top ten unit in yards allowed (sixth; 327.8 yards/game). But their seventh-ranked run defense is going to be put to the test by the Seahawks top-ranked rushing game.
The Seattle run game is led by Chris Carson (4.5 yards/carry). But Mike Davis, Rashaad Penny, and Russell Wilson also make contributions each week. Russell Wilson can still get the job done in the passing game when he needs to. But the Seahawks have done well leaning on their run game and defense.
Their defense gives up a fair number of yards (19th in total yards allowed/game; 367.4), but they tend to get tough near the goal line (ninth in points/game allowed; 21.3).
Seattle’s run game is going to be effective, but not nearly as much as it has been during their current three-game winning streak. Russell Wilson will have some success in the passing game, but will he have enough to get the Seahawks the win?
The Vikings are going to get back to doing what they are good at on offense this week. They are going to take advantage of Seattle’s 19th ranked pass defense and air the ball out. Seattle will make the Vikings work for it, but in the end, the Vikings are going to win the day.
So, take the Vikings to win over the Seahawks. If they don’t do it straight up, they will do it against the spread.