For the first time since 2015 both NFC Wild Card games will be played on the same day. That year the story of the day was Blair Walsh missing a chip shot to send the Vikings home earlier than they had hoped. That chip shot was against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Both of those teams are back in action (not Blair Walsh) this weekend, but both will be facing new opponents.
The Seahawks are traveling to Philadelphia while the Vikings travel to New Orleans for what is sure to be a great day of football!
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints-Sunday at 12:05 CT
The New Orleans Saints will host the Minnesota Vikings in their first playoff game since this.
This is a Saints team that is ready to put this play behind them and win a second Super Bowl for the sure fire Hall of Famer, Drew Brees.
The last time these two teams played was an instant classic. The game ended in improbable fashion…with the Minneapolis Miracle.
Brees has set too many records to count and the one thing that seems to continue to go against him is his lone Super Bowl win. The connection of him and Michael Thomas has been almost perfect this season. Thomas broke the record for receptions in a single season by a pretty wide margin. He has also set some NFL records in his first 4 years in the league and I am sure there are more to come.
The overlooked part of this team though is the defense. The Saints rush defense has been one of the best in the league this year allowing only 91 yards per game, good for 4th in the league. They were also third in the league in sacks with 51 on the season.
Obviously, this front 7 has been doing some fucking work and that is in huge part due to Cameron Jordan. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate finished 3rd in the league with 15.5 sacks and has been the leader of this defense. He will have his eyes set on Kirk Cousins as he tries to help the Saints make it to the Divisional Weekend.
Kirk Cousins may have more to prove than any other QB in the league. The narrative has been that he can’t win the big games or that he can’t win the primetime games. Well he can silence all the haters this week with a huge upset over the Saints.
Kirk quietly put together a phenomenal season finishing 4th in the league in QB Rating among starters. All season long Kirk has proved that he can play with the best of them and now it’s time for him to show the world.
Behind him, Dalvin Cook is expected to make his return after a 2 week absence following a shoulder injury. Cook finally broke out in a huge way this year and kind of took the league by storm before his injury. Even while missing the last 2 weeks, Cook finished 7th in the league in rushing and 4th in the league with 13 TDs.
Cook against this run defense will be the key to this game. If Cook can pick up chunk gains, that will open up everything for Kirk Cousins and his duo of receivers.
On the outside Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen will both be matched up with Marshon Lattimore throughout the day. Kirk should be able to take advantage of whoever Lattimore is not shadowing.
With all of that said the Saints are going to win this game. It will probably be the widest margin of victory of the weekend. Brees is going to go for 300+ and 3 TDs against this pedestrian Vikings secondary. Kirk makes one too many mistakes and the Saints get their revenge from their loss 2 years ago.
Saints 31 Vikings 20
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles-Sunday at 3:40 CT
The Seahawks have been one of the most confusing teams of the year in my eyes. In Weeks 1 & 2 they beat the Bengals and Steelers (without Roethlisberger) by a combined 3 points and then they got fucking SMOKED by the Saints at home in Week 3. Then they went on a run of winning 8 out of 9 games including a road win over the previously undefeated 49ers. Finally they ended the season by getting blown out by the Rams and Cardinals before losing a heartbreaker to San Francisco in Week 17.
My point is…I have no idea if they are actually good or not.
What I do know is Russell Wilson is a bad man and if he has the ball with a chance to win the game, bet on him. They are in the bottom 10 in the league in both pass and rush defense. They always rode the hot hand of either Russell Wilson or Chris Carson (who they will not have in the playoffs). Now they will rely solely on Wilson while mixing in Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch.
The Eagles are pretty much on the same side of the fence as the Seahawks. We don’t know if they are actually good. They limped into the playoffs at 9-7 by winning the AWFUL NFC East. Carson Wentz is good, but his receivers at the moment are schmucks! Miles Sanders finally started coming out of his shell, but he got hurt in Week 17 (reports are stating that he will play). This offense has been inconsistent for most of the season, but we know what the ceiling can be.
The defense is the real issue. They have been great against the run finishing third in the league in yards allowed per game. The issue is, teams have not had to run against them because their secondary absolutely fucking blows! It improved drastically over the last couple of weeks, but if they are not careful Russell Wilson will tear them a new asshole. The secondary needs to be on point. Jalen Mills needs to shut down rookie sensation DK Metcalf and Jim Schwartz is going to need to design some creative blitzes to force Wilson into some bad throws. Otherwise the Eagles will be shit out of luck.
This has shootout written all over it, but I think the defenses come to play. I think Wentz makes some big plays down the stretch and the Eagles move on to face the 49ers in San Francisco.
Eagles 20 Seahawks 17
Recaps on all four games will be done next week as well as previews for the divisional round!