New Orleans will get finally get another postseason shot against the Minnesota Vikings, which will be the first meeting since “The Minneapolis Miracle” in the 2018 NFL Playoffs. The Vikings scored on a 61-yard touchdown in the divisional round, sending Minnesota to the NFC Championship. This year’s meeting will take place in New Orleans, where the Saints are heavy favorites against the Vikings in the Wild Card game.
Vikings look for Cook to provide offensive sparkMinnesota rested its starters last week, losing to Chicago and finishing 10-6 in the regular season. The Vikings are expecting to get Dalvin Cook back for this game, after he missed time last month due to a shoulder injury. Cook has only averaged 36 rush yards per game during his last four contests. With Cook on the sidelines, starting quarterback Kirk Cousins only threw for 190 yards per game, throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions. With Cook in the lineup in the previous four games, Cousins was averaging 258 passing yards. He threw 10 touchdowns and one interception in that stretch.
Cousins leads the Minnesota offense with 3,603 passing yards and 26 touchdowns this season. He has thrown six interceptions. Cook is the signature back, rushing for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on 250 attempts. He is also the second leading weapon in the passing game, catching 53 passes for 519 yards. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs is the leading receiver with 63 receptions for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns. Adam Thielen has not been himself since returning from a hamstring injury, catching just 30 passes for 418 yards. Thielen has done a decent job of finding the end zone, scoring six times. Minnesota’s defense has held opposing offenses to just a 43.7 percent touchdown conversion rate in the red zone, which is the second-best in the NFL.
New Orleans hopes for different result than 2018New Orleans enters the postseason with a 42-10 win against Carolina last week, which improved the Saints’ overall record to 13-3. They won six of their final seven games in the regular season, including 34 or more points during six of those seven games. New Orleans is allowing just 1.7 red-zone trips per game, which is the best in the NFL. Opposing offenses are only converting 34.8 percent of their third downs against the Saints, which is sixth-best in the league. New Orleans’ offense has scored touchdowns in 80 percent of its red-zone trips during its last three games.
The Saints are led by veteran quarterback Drew Brees, who has thrown for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns this season, despite missing several games with an injury earlier in the year. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in career pass touchdowns, career pass completions, career completion percentage and career passing yards. Running back Alvin Kamara has not been as effective as the Saints hoped he would be, but Kamara has still tallied 797 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 171 carries. Latavius Murray has added 637uards and five scores on 146 attempts. Wide receiver Michael Thomas led the NFL with 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. Tight end Jared Cook added 43 receptions for 705 yards and nine touchdowns of his own.
New Orleans is:
- 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games as a home favorite
- 1-4 ATS in its last five home playoff games
- 0-4 ATS in its last four playoff games as a favorite
- 38-14 ATS in its last 52 games following a loss
- 42-18-1 ATS in its last 61 games on turf
- 20-6 ATS in its last 26 games after totaling less than 150 passing yards in its previous game