Saints at Vikings Wild Card Prediction
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (Minn -5)
Welcome to the divisional round of the playoffs in the NFC. The Saints are coming off a wildcard win against the Panthers in a wild game. Drew Brees has been one of the best QB’s this year with the best completion percentage (72%). But the Vikings QB Case Keenum has a better overall QBR rating of 69.6 which is second in the entire league only behind Tom Brady. That doesn’t mean Keenum is a better QB than Brees, he has just played better this season. The fact remains, Brees does have a significant advantage. That advantage is playoff experience. Brees has been to multiple playoffs, including a run into the Superbowl in which he won. Keenum on the other hand has never started in a playoff game. But on this team, with the weapons he has and being at home. Keenum has a great shot of winning.
The Saints have a very good offense and are balanced in running and passing the ball. This team is one of the best offenses in the league if not the best. They are certainly the best running team according to Footballoutsiders.com. and as far as passing, they rank 8th. But with Brees playing his best, the passing offense is as good as anyone. Their offensive line may be the best in the league, allowing the fewest pressures to the QB this season. Despite the Saints having the best rushing attacks in the league, last game their rushers were held to just over 40 yards. Forcing Drew Brees to have play great football. If Brees didn’t play great, the Saints probably would have lost. The Saints might have lost anyways if it weren’t for dropped catch in the endzone by the Panthers.
If they thought playing against the Panthers defense was hard, then they have another thing coming against the Vikings in Minnesota. The Vikings rank 2nd in overall defensive efficiency. They rank 5th in stopping the run which is 1 better than the Panthers who like I said held the Saints rush to just over 40 yards. The Saints were fortunate Brees played great and was able to put up enough points in the passing game to come out with the victory. Against the Vikings, it is going to be much harder to have a great game passing the ball. The Vikings rank 4th in pass defense and have probably the best safeties in the NFL.
The Saints defense is still suspect. They have bright moments, but they struggle at times. Especially against the run. They rank 23rd against the run according to footballoutsiders.com. They are pretty good against the pass ranking 5th. The Vikings offensively have been one of the most consistent units all season, their receiving core is underrated. (passing offense ranks 3rd) and they have a tremendous o-line. The Vikings running attack is still suspect ranking 18th this season, but they are good enough to get the job done, especially against the saints rushing defense.
There is a reason why the Vikings are 5 point favorites here. Vegas clearly sees them as the better team. The Saints offense is very good, especially in the running game. But with the right game plan, their rushers can be shut down just like they were against the Panthers. The Vikings are fully capable of doing such especially at home. Don’t expect Drew Brees to have a great game again this weekend, the Vikings secondary is one of the best in the league. Brees does have playoff experience and that could come into his favor but its going to be tough. The Saints need to take a lead early if they want a shot. The Saints defense also needs to play better. The Vikings offense isn’t as explosive as the Saints but are still well good enough to put up points. The Saints defense needs to hold their ground if they do get a lead. All in all, this game should be very good and close. This Vikings team is to good from top to bottom. And with the game being in Minnesota, the Vikings will have a huge home field advantage.
Prediction Vikings 26 – Saints 24