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Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens: First Quarter Open Thread

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport


Date: 8 December 2013
Location: Baltimore, MD
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium
DirecTV Ch 704
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 228 (BAL)
Sirius Ch 132
TV Announcers: Chris Myers
Tim Ryan
Know Thy Foe: Baltimore Beatdown
Line: Baltimore -7, O/U 41 (thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Ravens 24, Vikings 20
Final Score:

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The 2013 season is drawing to a close, and the Minnesota Vikings are starting the final quarter of their season by visiting the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams are coming off of hard-fought victories, but while the Vikings are teetering on the edge of elimination from post-season contention, the Ravens would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

So, what do the Vikings have to do to try to dash Baltimore's post-season plans?

1) Play to your strengths - The Vikings have rushed for a total of 478 yards in the past two weeks, with Adrian Peterson accounting for 357 of those yards en route to re-taking the top spot in rushing yardage in the NFL. Baltimore still has a very good defense against both the run and the pass, but the Vikings shouldn't let that deter them from trying to get Peterson (and Toby Gerhart) a lot of work early in this one.

2) Get off the field on third down - The Ravens haven't been great on third downs this year, converting just 38% of the time (approximately the same percentage as the Vikings). The Vikings' defense, which had been atrocious on third downs earlier in the season, has upgraded themselves to merely "not very good." They're not dead last in the league in that category any more (the Atlanta Falcons are worse now), but they still have their struggles. If they want to win this one, they can't let Joe Flacco and company sustain drives.

3) Pressure Joe Flacco - After becoming one of the league's highest-paid quarterbacks this off-season, Flacco has been pretty average in 2013, with 15 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions in 12 games. He's also been sacked 39 times this season, four more times than he was sacked in 16 regular season games in 2012. The Ravens have had their issues on the offensive line, and if guys like Jared Allen and Brian Robison can help them to prolong their struggles, they can force Flacco into some bad throws.

This game looks like it has the potential to be a bit of a slop fest, as the weather forecast for Charm City today looks like this:


You would think with the way the Vikings' rushing game is currently rolling and Baltimore struggling with that aspect of their offense (they're 30th in the NFL in rushing this season), it might be advantage Vikings. But, as always, we'll have to see how that goes as the game wears on.

We're about an hour and fifteen minutes away from kickoff in Baltimore, folks! We'll let you know when the Game Thread for the next quarter is ready to go, and we hope that you enjoy all of today's action.