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Vikings at Jets: Three things to watch, and predictions

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So, people are saying the Jets have a quarterback now?

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings travel to the Meadowlands to face the New York Jets.

Minnesota is coming off two solid wins against the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. The Jets are riding a two game win streak, as well. New York blew out the Denver Broncos 34-16, and beat the Indianapolis Colts in a 42-34 shootout.

The Vikings are only three point favorites. Some people take that as a slap in the face, but what the hay, who cares. Here’s this week’s three things to watch:

The Vikings passing game

The Jets have a couple defensive backs ruled out for Sunday, along with one who is considered doubtful.

Safety Marcus Maye (thumb) and cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion) will not be playing against the Vikings. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson is considered doubtful with quadricep issues. This is will be beneficial for Kirk Cousins and his offense.

Skrine is typically New York’s slot corner. Adam Thielen should have some fun, considering 68 percent of his targets this season have come from the slot. Thielen will be going for his seventh consecutive 100-receiving yard game (apparently that’s not a big deal to some people).

Currently, the Jets’ pass rush is 19th in the league, and 22nd for pass defense. Hopefully this means that Captain Kirk will get some more time in the pocket to find an open man.

Cousins completed 24-of-34 passes, and managed to throw for 240 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It was nice seeing the run game rush for near 200 yards, and Cousins still being able to chuck the ball for over 200 yards. With a banged up D, I can see similar success as last week.

Will Sam Darnold be the real deal?

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold apparently may be the Jets’ savior, or at least giving New York fans hope. But, based off his stats on paper, I don’t really understand all the praise. He’s had three games where he’s completed less than half of his passes. Maybe it’s the future Darnold that fans are excited about. This will be the third rookie quarterback that the Vikings face.

However, Darnold is coming off his best performance so far this season. He completed 24-of-30 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On the season, he has averaged 224 passing yards per game. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Darnold will be without one of his top targets in Quincy Enunwa. While Terrelle Pryor is listed as doubtful and Isaiah Crowell is questionable. That would leave Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson as the two wideouts to get more looks. Bilal Powell could have an increased workload in the passing game.

Sheldon Richardson returns to the Meadowlands

According to a Star Tribune article, Richardson claims that he has no qualms with the team that drafted him 13th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, and the issues that he had in the past were his own fault.

When he was traded to Seattle last year, he was given a new opportunity. Now, he’s embracing every moment of it. Richardson has been a solid presence on the defensive line for Minnesota this season. He has 20 combined tackles on the year, along with one sack. He leads the defense for quarterback hits with 10.

This will be the first time he will face his old team. I’ll be curious to see how the crows reacts to him, if at all. With the absence of Everson Griffen, it’s really paying off that we grabbed Richardson in the off-season.

Predictions:

  • Sheldon Richardson takes Darnold down once for a sack.
  • The defense holds the Jets’ run game (seventh in the league) to only 65 yards.
  • Latavius Murray rushes for at least 100 yards.
  • George Iloka will record his first interception in a Vikings uniform.
  • Vikings win 27-13.

SKOL