The NFL playoff action continues with the Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers for the first instalment in the NFC Divisional playoffs. Minnesota comes into the game as the underdog with the team qualifying for the playoffs as a wild card. They have already knocked out the New Orleans Saints who led the NFC overall along with the 49ers and Green Bay Packers. They had a good game against New Orleans but almost let it slip away after allowing a touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter. A lot has been said about Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins but it does seem that he has done a lot to silence critics this season and will be looking to continue to do so in this game.
The San Francisco 49ers come into the game considered the NFC team most likely the to win the Super Bowl this season. This is not all that surprising as they did start the season with an eight-game undefeated streak that only ended when they played the Seahawks in Seattle. Although many had doubts in head coach Kyle Shanahan decisions at the start of the season, they seem to have paid off rather well with the team looking pretty much unstoppable. Who will win in this clash between two seemingly rising teams?
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Prediction
Well, before we get to the prediction-making, here are some things you need to know about the Vikings and 49ers:
- The Minnesota Vikings posted a regular season record of 10-6, finishing second in their division behind the Green Bay Packers. The team had a bit of rocky start to the season struggling to get wins against their division rivals throughout much of the season. However, they were able to turn it around and get big victories where it matters. Although they did not have the most inspiring regular season record, they have shown that they are fully capable of pulling up big results where it counts.
- Vikings quarterback may not have had a record-breaking season like some of the other players in this year’s playoff season but he has proven to be consistent and capable of leading the team to where they need to be. He posted a season rating of 107.4, which is a career high in a year that saw him throw for 3603 yards and 26 touchdowns for six interceptions. Against the Saints, he threw for only one touchdown but it came in overtime when the team really needed it.
- The San Francisco 49ers enter the game with a 13-3 record. The team had a phenomenal start to the season, going eight games undefeated. Their defense was lauded as one of the hardest to get past in the league and unforgiving with errors. Throughout the season, only the likes of Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson and Matt Ryan were really able to press past the defense (two of whom are NFL MVP frontrunners). In short, it is not easy to play against the 49ers.
- 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a 2x Super Bowl champion but as the understudy for Tom Brady at the New England Patriots. There were a lot of questions about whether he would be able to do anything on the field after coming back from a serious injury last season but he has proven himself a capable player in his own right, even if the 49ers defense has saved him on a few occasions. Garoppolo threw for 3928 yards and 27 touchdowns against 13 interceptions throughout the regular season. He is more reckless with the ball than Cousins is, and the Vikings will be looking to capitalize this.
- Offensively, the 49ers outrank the Vikings in every key metric. The gaps are wider for things like average yardage per game but smaller for others like average points per game. Defensively, the only metric the Vikings outrank the 49ers in is average points allowed per game. If anything can be deducted from this, it is that the Vikings seem to play a little more strategically (which could also be the reason for Cousins’ low interception rate.)
With all this said, here is our prediction for the Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers playoff game:
- Moneyline – this is a hard one. While the 49ers seem like the obvious pick, the Vikings are quite good at making calculated plays and this could help lead them to victory against the 49ers. We do think that there is a reason to stick with the underdog in this one though with the Vikings looking as if they could possibly topple the 49ers.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Odds
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