The Wild Card round is upon us and we had a rarity in that all six games are rematches from the regular season, including the Minnesota Vikings taking on the New York Giants.
These two teams played each other on Christmas Eve where the Vikings came out victorious on a 61-yard field goal by kicker Greg Joseph to win 27-24.
Even though we are just three weeks removed from Christmas Eve, these two teams won’t be exactly the same. Because of that, there are opportunities to take advantage of the other with knowledge that you didn’t have before.
Our staff each made a bold prediction ahead of Sunday’s Wild Card round
Tyler Forness-Za'Darius Smith will have 3+ sacks
The Vikings pass rush has been very inconsistent this season, especially in the second half of the season. One of the main reasons was outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith wasn’t at 100%. He suffered a minor knee injury against the Buffalo Bills in week 10 and that hindered him the rest of the season. Now that it’s behind him, a fully healthy Smith and Danielle Hunter will be ready to wreak havoc on Daniel Jones.
Judd Zulgad-Vikings will score out of 13 personnel
Matt Anderson-Justin Jefferson throws a touchdown pass
Throughout the regular season, we’ve seen creativity in spurts when it comes to head coach Kevin O’Connell’s play-calling. I expect to see more of that against the Giants on Sunday. Jefferson has thrown two passes this season and completed both. In 1999, Randy Moss threw a 27-yard reverse pass to Cris Carter for a touchdown. I believe the Vikings will do something similar to Jefferson on Sunday to give the offense an extra boost while also getting the fans at U.S. Bank Stadium hyped.
Randy Moss could throw for 5,000 yards in today’s NFL #Skol pic.twitter.com/7BxbgFABW8
— Not For Long Media (@Not4LongMedia) June 22, 2022
Kevin Fielder-K.J. Osborn scores three touchdowns
Earlier this season, Justin Jefferson torched the Giants for 133 yards and a touchdown. Knowing this, it’s possible — almost likely — that the Giants throw extra resources at making sure Jefferson is contained as best as he can be. If that’s the case, the Vikings will need someone else to step up. It could be TJ Hockenson, who also crossed the century mark against the Giants but let’s go in a different direction.
Enter K.J. Osborn, who is currently enjoying a stretch of four games where he’s reached over 100 yards twice. The Giants cornerback room outside of Adoree’ Jackson is shaky and they like to blitz often, leaving an opportunity for Osborn for take over for a career game.