The New York Giants (8-5-1) will travel to Minneapolis on Christmas Eve to take on the Minnesota Vikings (11-3) at 1:00 pm (EST). The Minnesota Vikings are a 4-point favorite and are given a 70.4% chance to win according to ESPN’s FPI. Saturday’s game will be a “white out” at U.S Bank Stadium. With that, let’s take a look at what to expect from the Giants vs. Vikings matchup.
The New York Giants are coming off of a big Sunday night win over their NFC east rival Washington Commanders 20-12. It was a big win for the Giants who now hold a one game lead over Washington for the sixth spot in the playoffs. The Giants now look to Minnesota as they continue to fight to keep a hold of their playoff spot.
After the Vikings, the Giants have the Colts and Eagles. This is an important game for the Giants. A win would put them at 9-5-1 and in a good spot to make the playoffs. A loss would drop them to 8-6-1 and put them in a potential win out situation to guarantee their spot in the postseason.
What To Watch
How will the Giants offense do against one of the league’s worst defenses? The Giants rank only 22nd in yards per game with 325.2. They are however sixth in rushing yards per game (146.2) but 28th in passing (179). The Vikings give up the most yards and it’s starting to transition into more points as they give up 24.9 per game (though they score 25.1). This is a great chance for Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones to have monster games, and they’ll need to, in order to compete with the Vikings offense.
Minnesota has struggled, but last week wasn’t a complete defensive meltdown as many would have thought. A special teams and a defensive touchdown were scored by Indianapolis. So, 14 of the Colts 33 first half points weren’t the defense’s fault, and I’m betting that they won’t give the Giants the same opportunities. It’ll be up to the Giants to move the ball and score in the red zone. Field goals are okay, but the Vikings defense makes a living off of red zone field goals. If they can avoid doing that they’ll give themselves the best chance to pull out the win.
How will the Giants slow down Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense? The Giants this season ranked 26th in opponents’ yards per game (the Vikings are 32nd) with 367.3 yards allowed per game. The Vikings have played four teams (five games) who are in the bottom 12 of opponents’ yards per game. In those games they are 4-1 with wins over Arizona, Chicago, Miami, and Detroit (who is also their only loss). In those five games they averaged 27.6 points.
The Giants will have to find a way to slow down Minnesota. It will be crucial given how their offense ranks 20th in points per game and 22nd in yards per game. The Giants will need to be able to find a way to generate more offense than their typical 20.5 points per game. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley must find a way to move the ball and score points. Not field goals, touchdowns. As I mentioned above, the Vikings make a living off of forcing teams to kick field goals in the red zone. Avoid that and it’ll give them the best chance at keeping up with the Viking,s offense.
The New York Giants have seven players currently on their injury list.
- Nick Vannett (TE) – Shoulder
- Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE) – Elbow
- Evan Neal (OT) – Shoulder
- Leonard Williams (DE) – Neck
- Shane Lemieux (G) – Toe
- Adoree’ Jackson (CB) – Knee
- Joshua Ezeudu (G) – Neck
Joshua Ezeudu was placed on the IR with a neck injury and is expected to be out for the foreseeable future. Vannett was a limited participant at practice on Tuesday. Thibodeauz, Neal, Williams, Lemieux, and Jackson status are all unknown at the moment.
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off another monumental win in the largest comeback in NFL history. The Vikings rallied from 33 points down in the second half to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 in OT. It was a big win for Minnesota who outscored the Colts 39-3 in the second half and overtime. The Vikings will now look to find a way to keep their momentum rolling after winning the NFC north. A win for the Vikings would get them to 12-3 and keep them in the hunt for the one seed (still some hope with Hurt’s being injured).
If not the one, then the two seed. The Vikings are currently one game ahead of the red-hot San Francisco 49ers (10-4) who have won their last seven games. A loss for the Vikings would drop them to 11-4 and likely put them at third in the NFC playoff picture (though they won’t be able to drop any lower than that seed due to the abysmal NFC south).
What To Watch
What I’ll be watching, or in this case who I will be watching, will be Kirk Cousins. Cousins in his last two games (against the Lions and Colts) has thrown for 885 yards with a 68.4% completion percentage with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Even more impressive, Cousins threw for over 400 yards in the second half and overtime against the Colts. He has played very well the past two weeks (excluding the first half of last week).
He has also seemed to have found his stride with his receivers, specifically Justin Jefferson who has had back-to-back games of 100-plus yards receiving. K.J Osborn got involved as well, bringing in 157 yards. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense have seemed to finally unlocked a bit more of their potential. This offense when at its best is arguably one of the best in the league, if not the best. It just needs to stay consistent. If they can put together an entire four quarters this offense could average 35-40 points game.
Can the Vikings play a full four quarters the way they did against the Colts in the second half and overtime? Seriously, this is what I’ve been dying to see all season long. A full four quarters of complete domination by the Vikings. This is what has been holding them back from being seen as a true Super Bowl contender.
The defense, while it has struggled with giving up a ton of yards this year, has had moments like last week where they completely shut down the Colt’s offense in the second half. This still doesn’t excuse Ed Donatell and he still needs to be fired. They only allowed three points, outscoring them 39-3. This team has shown the potential to be able to beat anyone anywhere, any week; they just have to consistently show it here over the next three weeks to be taken seriously come the postseason.
The Minnesota Vikings have four players currently on their injury list.
- Eric Kendricks (LB) – Hip
- Brian Asamoah II (LB) – Ankle
- Garrett Bradbury (C) – Back
- Patrick Jones II (LB) Illness
Asamoah, Kendricks, and Jones II were all limited participants at practice on Tuesday. Bradbury was a non-participant at practice on Tuesday.
My bold prediction is that Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley will combine for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Both teams give up a lot of yards, but both allow a good number of yards on the ground. The Vikings are better than the Giants at stopping the run, ranking 18th in rushing yards allowed per game. The Giants on the other hand are far worse ranked at 30th, giving up 150.4 yards rushing per game.
Both Cook and Barkley haven’t had great years, but they both have similar numbers. Barkley has rushed for 1,170 yards and nine touchdowns, while Dalvin has 1,045 and eight touchdowns. Expect some explosive plays on the ground on Christmas Eve as Barkley and Cook go off for big games.
The following betting lines are according to ESPN’s Pick Center.
- New York: +4.0
- Minnesota: -4.0
- New York: +176
- Minnesota: -201
Where To Watch
The Giants vs. Vikings will air on Fox at 1:00 pm (EST) on Saturday. Commentating the game will be Adam Amin (play-by-play) and Mark Schlereth (analyst). You can watch the game on the Fox Sports app or on FoxSports.com. The game will also be on NFL Sunday Ticket (Directv). Streaming services that have Fox are fubo TV, Hulu (with live TV), Sling TV, and Youtube TV.
The last time the Vikings came off a huge win they got routed by Dallas 40-3. That won’t be the case against the Giants. The Vikings this year are 4-1 against teams in the bottom 12 in total offense allowed. The Giants just won’t be able to keep up with the Vikings high powered offense on Saturday as they carry their momentum over from last week’s win in their final regular season home game. The Giants will be able to keep up for a bit. In the end Cousins and Co. will pull away late and get another big win for the Vikings. Minnesota wins 31-20.
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