Three wins in a row? Check. Offense running harder than the ’98 offense? Check. Kirk Cousins playing dangerous? Check. Prime-time football? Check. It’s almost a recipe for a typical Vikings disaster, so should Vikings fans be worried? Absolutely not.
The 27th meeting of the two teams is aiming to be a feisty one due to the nature of former players on both teams, represented by Kirk Cousins on the Vikings and Adrian Peterson and Case Keenum now on the Redskins. The Redskins are, for all sense and purposes, a team out of luck, as recently shown by the 9-0 loss against San Francisco, where Peterson claimed “I lost us the game” after a late fumble in the red zone in less than considerable conditions.
Despite this, the Redskins only win this season came in the form of the first “Tank Bowl” of the season against Miami. All season they have looked less than spectacular even after the firing of Jay Gruden as Head Coach, ranking 29th in yards per game (267.7), 28th in yards per play (4.92) and 24th in rushing yards per game (84.7) on the season. They are also surrendering an average of 25.1 points per game, tied for 21st in the NFL. For a lacking defense about to come up against an offense rocking the best three-game stretch under Mike Zimmer led by Kirk Cousins (968 yards, 11 TDs and one INT), it could be a rough day at the office for the Redskins yet again.
It couldn’t be worse for the Redskins either, as this Vikings team across the board is balling out hard. Since the loss to the Bears, the Vikings have won by at least a 12-point margin in their last three games, all of which came against .500 or better teams (something Kirk himself can relate to, he now sits 8-27 against .500 teams in his career, but most of those wins came with the Vikings) while maintaining an unbeaten home record this season (currently at 4-0).
The Vikings rank sixth in yards per game (391.0) and third in yards per play (6.42) as well as maintaining a explosive play percentage of 15%, ranking first in the NFL (and showcased recently with long TD plays to Diggs vs Eagles and the deep ball to seal the win at the Lions last week to Diggs). Its clicked, the offense has clicked, whatever Kubiak and Stefanski wanted to achieve, it seems to have been done, but they must keep it up.
Of course, the defense is still the heartbeat of the team, although recently the sluggish starts have been an issue, as well as the lack of production from Xavier Rhodes at cornerback. He played a career low of 75.1% of snaps against Detroit as Marvin Jones ran riot with a history-making day with 4 TDs. It’s safe to say the player isn’t as elite as he once was and, barring a contract restructure, may see him leaving the Purple State in the off-season. Most notably however, is that Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter now rank second and third for QB pressures in the league, only behind JJ Watt, where it’s added to the 19 sacks recorded this season, meaning that getting to the QB is still the goal of the team, which should be easy against a team allowing 18 sacks on the season. This shouldn’t even be close, but this is the Vikings after all and in prime time? Yeah they might blow it… BUT we’ll see.
Prediction: Vikings 32, Redskins 10
BOLD PREDICTION: Irv Smith Jr. AND Kyle Rudolph will both have 50+ yards and one TD apiece.
Featured Picture – Credit: Rick Osentoski/AP