What To Expect
The Vikings dominated the Saints back on opening night. However, both teams are drastically different on both sides of the ball. New Orleans’ defense is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL and their rookies have burst onto the scene. For the Vikings, the backfield is completely different. Instead of Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook, it’s Case Keenum and Jerick McKinnon.
Keenum played well early in the season, but those who actually watch Vikings games know that he has been far from great this season. It blows my mind that he has been considered in any MVP discussions, and if it were up to me, Teddy Bridgewater would be the starting quarterback. Now, Keenum will play one of the hottest teams in the league in his first career playoff start. The Vikings are also dealing with injuries along the offensive line, making Keenum’s inexperience that much scarier.
This will be a hard-fought game that will be determined in the trenches. Whichever team can get to the QB and stop the run will advance to the NFC Championship. The tandems of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram for New Orleans, and McKinnon and Latavius Murray for Minnesota will be critical. I expect this game to stay close until the very end, with the Vikings winning on a late field goal. Give me the Vikings 16-14, but a win is far from guaranteed.