Giants (2-2) Vikings (2-2)
The Vikings lost last Sunday in Chicago, 16-6.
The Bears defense was just too much for them. The Vikings weren't able to score
until the final three minutes of the game.
Last week the Giants overcame a
number of mistakes in their 24-3 win over the Washington Redskins. The defense
showed up when it counted.
Kirk Cousins was in high demand going into the 2018 season. He was the only quarterback
to be franchised twice, and in his three years as a starter with the Washington
Redskins, Cousins had thrown for over 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns in each year.
The Vikings wanted that, and felt sure that Cousins was the missing piece they
needed. They had finished up with a 13-3 season, won their division title, and
the first game of the playoffs before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, who then
went on to win in the Super Bowl game. The Jets wanted his skills as well, and
offered more money than the Vikings. Cousins, despite his glowing numbers, was
just 24-24-1 with the Redskins, and looking for a Super Bowl ready team, chose
Kirk Cousins put up high numbers
in his first year with the Vikings, but much the same as in his win-loss career
record with the Redskins, the team ended up with an 8-7-1 record. Cousins threw
for 4298 yards and 30 touchdowns. Taking 40 sacks, throwing 10 interceptions,
and fumbling the ball away 7 times, some of his turnovers led to losses. This
year the Vikings are running the ball on over 50 percent of their plays. As a
result, Cousins overall passing numbers are way down.
With a quarter of the
season gone, he's thrown for 735 yards and has 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
The team's top receivers last year, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen each totaled
over 1000 yards with their receptions, and each had 9 touchdowns. Now, with the
Vikings pushing a strong ground game, they're on track for less than half as many
receptions, and there have been some rumblings.
The Vikings knew they had
to improve the ground game, and it has really taken off. Dalvin Cook is the main
ingredient. Cook had missed five games last year, and has taken the team from
ranking near the bottom in the NFL to 3rd. The team is averaging 155.2 yards a
game. That's 62 more yards a game than last year. Cook is averaging 5.8 yards
a carry, has 5 rushing touchdowns, and he also leads the team with his 15 receptions.
Rookie running back Alexander Mattison is in the mix as well, averaging 5.1 yards
The Vikings pass and run defense
is ranked 9th and 10th in the league. Former Giants defensive tackle, Linval Joseph,
has 2 of the teams 7 sacks. The leader with 3, is Danielle Hunter, who had 14.5
last year. Hunter has Everson Griffen (2 sacks) working from the other side. Their
combined pressure on opposing quarterbacks is extremely effective, and their secondary
provides tight coverage as well. They've had a chance to see how the Giants are
handling their running game without Saquon Barkley, as they saw last week when
Wayne Gallman stepped up and averaged 3.5 yards
on his 18 carries.
Gallman ended up with 118 total yards from scrimmage, with
one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown. Linebacker Eric Kendricks will
try to do as well as he did last week in slowing Gallman down. Tight end Evan
Engram is the Giants leading receiver with 27 catches for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes is working well in his return to the secondary
after missing the first two games of the season. The Giants will also have to
watch out for safety Harrison Smith, who has 21 career interceptions.
So how's it going with Daniel Jones
at quarterback? The Giants have two wins to show for it as he learns from his
rookie mistakes. Jones took five sacks, and lost two fumbles in his first start,
and while there were no sacks, last week, he threw two interceptions. Jones mobility
helped him in the first game, where he ran for two touchdowns, and the defense
limited his two interceptions in the second to just 3 points for the Redskins.
This week he faces the worst of those two defenses combined. Like Tampa Bay, the
Vikings are very strong up front, and can get those sacks.
The Redskins got
interceptions off Jones, and the Vikings secondary is much better. The Giants
still will be without Saquon Barkley, but Wayne Gallman has shown that his running
has to be respected. Jones will have Golden Tate on hand, back from his four-game
suspension, and the home crowd will be able to see for the first time what Tate
can bring to the table. In the past, his skill has been adding yardage after the
catch by breaking tackles. That's what he's known for.
They played their best game of the
season last week, and even put points up on the board with a pick-six touchdown.
They managed to contain running back Adrian Peterson in the process, limiting
him to 28 yards on 11 carries. Dalvin Cook comes to town this week, and his combination
of running and receiving skills, makes him tougher to defend. The Bears managed
to hold Cook to 35 yards on 14 attempts after he ran for over 100 in the first
three games. Even if the Giants have anywhere near the same success, they'll then
have to deal with what that brings. Containing Kirk Cousins and his talented receivers.
Minnesota is one of two teams that has run more than it has passed this season,
but when the running game was shut down in Chicago, they gave up on that. Stopping
Kirk Cousins won't be as easy a task as the Giants had last week, facing the Redskins
semi-injured backup quarterback, and then a rookie seeing his first action of
the year. The Bears did manage to shut down wide receiver Adam Thielen, but couldn't
stop the Cousins to Stefon Diggs connection. Diggs went 7 of 7 for 158 receiving
yards. It doesn't help that the Giants will be missing linebacker Ryan Connelly,
who sustained a season-ending knee injury. Connelly was instrumental in their
last two wins after taking over from Alec Ogletree, who's been sidelined with
a hamstring injury.
The Giants have put together two wins in a row. They'll have to work harder at
scoring points as Minnesota ranks in the top five, limiting their opposition to
less than 16 points a game. The Vikings have taken two division losses, and are
last in the NFC North. They're at an advantage having their tough defense up against
a rookie quarterback. On the other hand, Pat Shurmur is very familiar with this
Vikings team, and that could be an overlooked edge for the Giants in this game.
Sunday at 1:00pm Vikings (2-2)
at Giants (2-2)
Sunday at 1:00pm Jets (0-3) at Eagles (2-2).
Sunday at 1:00pm
Patriots (4-0) at Redskins (0-4).
Sunday at 4:25pm Packers (3-1) at Cowboys
The Eagles and Cowboys are the only NFC East teams favored to win in
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Jenkin was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, responsible for 3 of 4
Golden Tate leads the
NFL with 4,048 yards after the catch since his rookie season of 2010.
Tate forced 65 more missed tackles than any other receiver in his 2010 NFL Draft
Pat Shurmur was the offensive
coordinator for the Vikings before becoming the Giants head coach.
Oct 10 Giants at New England.
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Oct 20 Cardinals at Giants.