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Giants - Minnesota
Game 15 preview
Saturday Dec 24, 1:00 PM - Giants at Minnesota

Giants (8-5-1) Minnesota (11-3)
Last Saturday the Minnesota Vikings staged the biggest comeback in NFL history. They were down 33-0 at the half, and managed to score five touchdowns tie the game. The Vikings ended up beating the Colts 39-36 a 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in overtime.
Last Sunday the Giants had a rematch with the Washington Commanders. Their first meeting ended in an overtime tie. The Commanders scored first with a field goal, but the Giants pulled away. They kept the lead and ended up with a 20-12 win

Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. The Vikings had appeared in four Super Bowls in 1970, 1974, 1975, and 1977, but lost each time. Their new head coach, Kevin O'Connell has them headed in the right direction. Kevin O'Connell replaced Mike Zimmer, who held the position from 2014-2021, guided the team to three playoffs, twice getting in after winning the division, and the last time in 2019 as a wild card team.
In 2020 the Vikings finished at 7–9, and it was Zimmer's first losing season. In 2021 their record was 8-9 .
After two losing seasons, the Vikings moved on from their long time head coach. The last time the Vikings won the NFC North Division title was 2017, and they have already achieved that goal this year with O'Connell.

Minnesota Vikings Offense
Kirk Cousins has had seven game winning drives this season. That's more than any other quarterback in the league. It's not the easiest way to win games, but it shows the Vikings can score points when they need to, and they rank 8th in the NFL in that category. Last year Justin Jefferson lead the team in receptions and receiving yards. Jefferson is currently the NFL leader in both categories, as well as yards after the catch, and touchdowns with 7. Adam Thielen is second on the team, as he was last year, and he has 5 touchdowns.
ight end T.J. Hockenson, a former first round pick acquired from Detroit, has played in just 7 games for the Vikings, Hockenson has been heavily targeted by Cousins, especially in the last two games. Dalvin Cook has been the top rusher on the team, and has scored 8 touchdowns, half of the team's total 16. Last week Cook rushed 17 times for 95 yards, caught all four passes for 95 yards and 1 touchdown.

Minnesota Vikings Defense
This defense ranks last in the NFL in total yards allowed per game. Though they rank 18th in the league in rushing defense, the Vikings have not allowed any one player to get past 90 rushing yards this season. Their major weakness passing defense where they rank 31st in passing yards allowed, and 30th in passing yards per play. To exploit that opposing teams will still have to hold off pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter. Smith leads the team and the league with 72 pressures, and has ten sacks. Hunter is tied for 9th in the league with 55 pressures, and has 8.5 sacks.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Harrison Smith, who has five interceptions, are the strength of the secondary. Cornerbacks Cameron Dantzler and Chandon Sullivan have had their struggles. Daniel Jones will have to be selective when he throws, and he's done that well this year. The Vikings defense will certainly have taken notice of how Washington slowed down the Giants rushing attack in the first half of their game last week and see if they can do as well.

Giants Offense
Last week the Giants staged an 18 play, 97 yard drive that ended with a touchdown and gave them a 14-3 lead over the Washington Commanders. That has not been the norm for this offense, but it did show what they may be capable of. Their longest drives after that didn't go nearly that far, were of 10 and 9 plays that ended in field goals as Washington tried to close the gap. Take away the defensive touchdown, and the two long field goals that Graham Gano kicked (50 and 54 yards), and you're left with an offense that scored 1 touch down in the 20-12 win.
Daniel Jones had the passing game working well in the first half of that game, especially that one long drive. When Washington shifted their defense to shut that down, the Giants running game became effective, and it showed the offense can do both. They just can't do it on a consistent basis. Saquon Barkley despite the slow start, finished up strong, and his 11 second half carries totaled 74 yards, giving him a 4.8 average on the day.
Teams know they have to cover Darius Slayton, and as they do so more opportunities have opened up for Richie James. He's taken advantage of that, and has moved ahead of Slayton in catches with 42, and has 3 touchdowns. Isaiah Hodgins, since he's joined the team has caught 21 of the 25 passes Jones has thrown his way, and he has 2 touchdowns.

Giants Defense
Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft,, was named the Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Washington. He recorded a career and game-high 12 tackles, and had a one yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter of that game. This week Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari will be dealing with left tackle Christian Darrisaw and right tackle Brian O'Neill, who made the Pro Bowl last year.
The Vikings are at a disadvantage as their starting center, Garrett Bradbury will miss this game, and the the rest of their line is not the best in providing pass protection. The Giants will have to do what they can to disrupt Kirk Cousins as he can be very effective with his throws to his talented receivers. The defense will still be without starting safety Xavier McKinney, and cornerback Adoree' Jackson,
The Giants rank 30th in run defense, and they will have to deal with Dalvin Cook who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

The Giants took a step closer to securing a playoff spot last week with their win over the Washington Commanders. The Minnesota Vikings made NFL history last week with their 39-36 overtime comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts. It also won them the division title, and they have a chance to be the No. 2 seed in the NFC Playoff standings. Both teams are coming off inspiring victories. The Giants will be looking for another upset, and if they get ahead in this game, hope the Vikings won't stage another comeback.

NFC East Games
Saturday at 1:00pm Giants (8-5-1) at Vikings (11-3)
Saturday at 4:05pm Commanders (7-6-1) at 49ers (10-4)
Saturday at 4:25pm Eagles (13-1) at Cowboys (10-4)
The Cowboys are the only NFC East team favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Jan 1 Indianapolis at Giants
Jan 7/8 at Philadelphia

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