Thanks to a combination of yours truly having to work last weekend and just general forgetfulness, we did not have our weekly prediction post here last weekend. My apologies for that. This week, however, there will be no such issue, as it’s time to make our calls for this week’s contest between the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts from U.S. Bank Stadium.
As we do in these posts, we have your standard prediction widget from our friends at The Crowd’s Line for you to make your weekly predictions on.
This is absolutely a must-win game for Minnesota, as we’ve detailed over the past couple of days. A victory for the Vikings keeps them alive in the playoff chase, while they could be completely eliminated from postseason consideration with a loss and the right sequence of events in other games this weekend.
When Indianapolis has the ball, the key for the Vikings is going to be dialing up the pressure on Andrew Luck. They’re going to have to be smart about how they go about it, however. . .as we’ve seen with certain quarterbacks this season, if the Vikings allow them to get out of the pocket and make plays on the move, they can kill this defense. On paper, the Vikings should be able to get pressure on the Colts’ signal caller, because the Colts could be starting as many as three rookies on the offensive line because of injuries. The Vikings’ defensive line has really stepped things up over the past couple of weeks, and they need to continue that resurgence on Sunday. I think they can do that, and that it’s going to be a long day for Luck and company. The Colts are also dealing with injuries in their receiver corps, with #2 wide receiver Donte Moncrief out for this week and a couple of their other receivers showing up on the injury report.
Indianapolis has not been particularly strong on defense this season, either. They have one outstanding cornerback in Vontae Davis, and I’d expect that he would be following Stefon Diggs around quite a bit on Sunday afternoon. However, as we saw last week in Jacksonville, if Diggs is covered by someone, the Vikings have some capable pass catchers in Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson, and tight end Kyle Rudolph to catch passes from Sam Bradford. The key for the Vikings in this one is being significantly better inside of the 20-yard line than they were against Jacksonville. This might be the area where the return of Adrian Peterson provides the most help for the Minnesota offense. I’d like to think that if the Vikings find themselves with first-and-goal inside the 5-yard line, slamming Peterson up the middle a few times would have a markedly different effect than doing the same with Matt Asiata would. The Vikings shouldn’t have a lot of trouble moving the ball between the 20s against this Colts defense, but they absolutely have to get touchdowns when they get deep into opposing territories, as field goals probably aren’t going to be enough to beat Luck and company.
The Vikings need a victory today, folks, and I think they get one to keep their playoff chances alive and set up a potentially huge showdown at Lambeau Field on Saturday.
Vikings 24, Colts 17 in the penultimate regular season home game in the inaugural season at U.S. Bank Stadium. That’s my call for this one.
Who ya got this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen?