[Preview] Week 16 (Friday): Minnesota in trouble? | Touchdown Actu (NFL Actu)
Kick-off Friday at 10:30 p.m.
New Orleans Saints (10-4) – Minnesota Vikings (6-8)
And if Minnesota spoiled the party? Defeated last week, the Vikings do not have much to play as it would take a miracle for them to reach the playoffs. However, they may well have another goal in mind: to annoy the Saints until the end. New Orleans has the opportunity to win the NFC South in case of victory. But if they were to lose, they would give the opportunity to Buccaneers to come back to height and everything would be decided on the last game.
A good reason to play the spoilsport on the side of Vikings in this Thursday Night Football postponed the day of Christmas. On paper, Minnesota does not have the level of the men of Sean payton, but on a good day they can cause problems for any team. For that, it will be necessary to be much better than last week against Bears.
The priority for Minnesota will first protect Kirk cousins (3,569 yards, 29 TDs and 18 turnovers including 13 INTs). Franchises know it now, when they face New Orleans, their quarterback is likely to have a restless evening. The Saints put a lot of pressure on the opposing pitcher like their game last week when they reached Patrick mahomes 4 times. In total, the players of Louisiana display 40 sacks (6th in the league), worn by the doublet Cameron Jordan Trey Hendrickson who also has 11 tackles for loss each. The offensive line has moved a lot this season at Minnesota and it will be necessary to find stability on Friday to put Kirk cousins in the best conditions, he who has already been sacked 34 times this season.
If he has time, the former Washington will be able to rely on his new toy: Justin jefferson (73 receptions, 1,182 yards and 7 TDs). The rookie is delivering a terrific season averaging 16.2 yards / reception. Since the start of the year, only four players have exceeded 100 yards in the air against the Saints (Allen Lazard, Darren waller, Calvin ridley and Mike williams). If he was the 5th this Friday, the former of LSU would do his team a lot of good. Especially since if the air is sometimes clear at the New Orleans, the ground is blocked like the Parisian ring road during rush hour. Since the start of the season, New Orleans allow less than 100 yards per encounter in this area (95.6 units / game, 4th in the league). This is Dalvin cook (1,484 yards for 15 TDs) who will be happy.
Michael Thomas orphan
On the other side of the ball, there are still a lot of questions that the teammates of Drew Brees will try to lift. First because after three matches orchestrated by Taysom Hill (3 wins and 1 loss), the 2010 champion returned without really convincing. Last week, number 9 looked rusty, especially early in the game. We will therefore observe if he succeeds in (re) gaining pace and confidence. In any case, he faces a defense that has passed Mitch trubisky (15/21, 202 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT) and David Montgomery (32 races, 146 yards and 2 TDs) for an unstoppable duo last week. The other issue will mainly reside in the capacity of the receivers of Saints to make a difference. Orphan of Michael thomas, his best ball catcher, facing Kansas City (and until the playoffs), New Orleans saw his players in great difficulty to create separation against the individual defense of Chiefs.
The keystone of this attack will once again be Alvin kamara. The running back has already exceeded 1,500 yards from the scrimmage line (777 running and 10 TDs + 739 receiving and 5 TDs). He is the handyman of Sean payton and it is he who will try to break the lock of Vikings which is not the most solid this season (378 yards conceded per game, 23rd in NFL). An opposition between New Orleans and Minnesota which therefore seems unbalanced but which always delivers exciting encounters.