New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) scores a touchdown as Carolina Panthers free safety Tre Boston (33) defends in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium.

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Garic: Saints face dangerous & rested Vikings squad in Wild Card playoff round

Kristian Garic
January 04, 2020 - 7:58 pm

Wild Card weekend is here, and the Saints face a dangerous and rested Vikings squad.  The NFL playoffs have arrived, where the best of the best, battle tested teams put their talents, strategy & endurance on the line, and the No. 3 New Orleans Saints face the No. 6 seed Minnesota Vikings Sunday in the Superdome. 

The Saints were alive for the No. 1 or 2 seed through the final week of the regular season.  The Vikings were locked in as the No. 6 seed after week 16.  Coach Mike Zimmer decided to rest his starters last week in Minnesota’s finale. 

Running back Dalvin Cook is back to full strength, after dealing with a shoulder injury in week 14.  He will be the key for Minnesota on offense.  The Vikings average 130 yards a game on the ground.  It’s paramount for the Saints to stop the run against the Vikings. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins thrives off the play action passing game.  When the Vikings running game is working, Cousins is deadly.  If the running game isn’t rolling, Cousins is average. 

The Vikings are pretty much middle of the road on defense in both stopping the run and pass.  However, Minnesota can get after the quarterback with 48 sacks this season.  In this situation I give the Saints the advantage with the two best tackles in football,Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk.

The Saints offense is a unit on the rise.  Drew Brees is red hot, since returning from his thumb injury.  The future Hall of Fame signal caller has thrown 25 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions, since week eight.  The Black and Gold offense averages 28 points per game.  Since Brees’ return, the offense has scored 30 or more points in six out of the eight games.

The bottom line is this, the Saints have to stop the run against the Vikings and continue their offensive surge in the playoffs.  I’m being honest here, I don’t like this matchup.  The Vikings possess the two components of a team that can win on the road...a tough defense and a running game that travels well in the NFL post-season. 

Prediction:  The Saints are favored by 8, but I don’t see it that way.  Saints 33 Vikings 30. 

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