Vikings Look to Continue Playoff Push, Host Jaguars
The reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Kirk Cousins, will look to continue his dominant play as Jacksonville visits U.S. Bank Stadium for a pivotal Vikings matchup as week 13 roles on. Cousins has been one of the most consistent and dominant quarterbacks in the NFL in the last two months. He leads the NFL in passer rating (124.3), second in catchable passes (77.9), second in TD-INT ratio (12-1), third in passing touchdowns (12) and third in completion percentage (72.4). Cousins truly stepped his game up when it mattered the most, especially in the fourth quarter, where he leads all of the NFL with a 136.4 passer rating, and now sees his team sitting in second place in the NFC North and are only one game out of the last Wild Card spot in the NFC.
Cousins’ defense will be going up against a 1-10 Jacksonville team that has lost their last 10 games. At this point in the season, the Jaguars are either looking to play spoilers, or are hoping the Jets lose some games so they can get the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Jaguars will be starting their third different quarterback of the season, veteran journeyman, Mike Glennon. This will be Glennon’s second consecutive start of the season after being defeated by the Cleveland Browns last week. However, Glennon had an extremely impressive game, throwing for 235 yards and two interceptions. Impressively, he did not turn the ball over once or even sacked.
This is obviously a game that the Vikings cannot afford to lose. They have everything to lose while the Jaguars have absolutely nothing to lose. With the return of Adam Thielen this week after his COVID-19 stint, the amazing play of Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Jefferson, and emergence of wide receivers the likes of Chad Beebe and Bisi Johnson, I expect the Vikings to be throwing the ball on all cylinders this upcoming Sunday. Cousins has only been picked off once in the past month and a half and has turned this team in to a pass first option team the second half of the season.
With that being said, Dalvin Cook, who leads the NFL with 13 rushing yards, will be looking to get back into the groove of things after a tough performance against the Carolina Panthers last week. Cook was only able to muster up 61 yards on 18 attempts and did fumble the ball once. The lost fumble was his third on the year and the second in back-to-back weeks. In 10 games played this season, he has already surpassed his touchdown total from last year, which was 13 in 14 games played. Cook has been extremely dominant and will look to continue that against a weak Jaguars defense.
It hasn’t been a total waste of a year for the Jaguars. James Robinson, rookie running back out of Illinois State, has had a tremendous year on a team that has only won one game. Robinson is third in the NFL with 890 rushing yards and has recorded eight total touchdowns 11 games this season. Robinson has emerged as the Jaguars running back of the future. However, everything else has gone wrong in every which way possible, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They only have 11 total sacks as a team and 42.5 tackles for loss. The Vikings on the other hand, have 19 sacks on the year and 51 tackles for a loss.
I expect the Vikings to come away with the victory in a close game. We’ve seen it in the past when it comes to the Vikings and winnable games, most recently, against the Dallas Cowboys. This was a game they should have won by a lot but ultimately lost.
The Vikings will look to get to .500 for the first time this year and inch their way closer to a playoff spot. Keep an eye out for the Arizona Cardinals, who hold a one game lead over the Vikings and will be taking on a tough Los Angeles Rams team.
The game will kick off this Sunday at 12:00pm CST/1:00pm EST televised nationally on CBS. Beth Mowins and Jay Feely will be on the call. On the radio, Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will be providing the sights and sounds on KFAN 11.3-FM/KTLK 1130-AM in Minneapolis/St. Paul.