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Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (Week 13)
The final matchup of Week 13 looks set to be a thriller between two teams that could win their division or have to settle for the sixth seeding in the postseason courtesy of a wildcard berth. That is the fine line that the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks are treading at CenturyLink Field on Monday night, so who will get the win they need to keep the heat on their rivals in the race to win the NFC North and NFC West respectively?
Minnesota head to the North West having seen their quest to win the North receive another boost with San Francisco’s hammering of Green Bay in Week 12, but the Packers probably bounced back against the lowly New York Giants this past weekend (this preview was written prior to Sunday) and that means the pressure is on the Vikings to come away with a win on Monday night. It means the pressure is also on Kirk Cousins to get the job done in primetime for the second time in four weeks. The Vikings quarterback does not have a fantastic record under the bright lights, but he did lead his team to a massive Sunday night win in Dallas back on November 10 and fans will be hoping that victory will have lifted the hoodoo over their QB. They will also be hoping that their team can continue the strong run of form they have been on ever since that miserable defeat in Chicago.
Head coach Mike Zimmer shook things up on offense after seeing his team put just six points on the board in Week 4 and that has clearly got them going in the right direction. Minnesota have gone 6-1 and in their last seven games and while they have faced some poor opposition and did make hard work of some of those victories, all that matters is getting the ‘W’ and the Vikings have been doing just that. Their biggest issue has come on defense. So often one of the best units in the entire NFL in recent years, issues in the secondary this season have hurt their stock and in recent weeks they have been gashed through the air by both Detroit and Dallas. Good quarterbacks have done a great job of attacking the secondary and we all know Russell Wilson, the man they are coming up against on Monday night, is an outstanding quarterback.
Wilson has strapped the Seahawks onto his back this season and he has dragged them to within one win of San Francisco in the NFC West. Seattle are 9-2 at this point and when you look at their losses the have come against two of the very best the NFL has to offer – New Orleans and Baltimore. But that is not to say they do not have wins over top calibre teams – Wilson & Co. are the only team to get the better of the 49ers during the first 12 weeks of the season and not only did that beat their division rivals, they beat them on their home turf too. That was a real statement victory for the Seahawks and if they can at least remain within one win of San Francisco until Week 17, they will go into the regular season finale knowing that a home win over the 49ers would see them snatch top spot in the NFC West and potentially the number one seeding in the NFC half of the postseason.
For that to happen Seattle need to keep their win streak going and I expect them to do just that at Minnesota’s expense on Monday night. The Vikings may have won once on primetime this season, but until Cousins proves that he can consistently deliver against the big boys under the bright lights then I am going to remain cynical. He should enjoy some success against a Seattle defense that pales in comparison to previous units, but I just do not see him keeping pace with Wilson as he dissects that leaky Minnesota secondary and lifts his team to another victory.