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This Intriguing NFL Wildcard Game Is A Must See

NFL Wildcard Weekend is here. The season flew by and now only the top 14 teams remain. Each team has just one goal though, which is to be the last one standing. 12 teams get ready to face off while the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles rest as they earned their right to the first-round bye for winning their respective conferences.

This weekend will feature greats such as Tom Brady, last year’s Super Bowl runner up Joe Burrow, and newcomers such as Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence. With recent news of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missing their games due to injury, a couple of the matchups lost their biggest storylines. However, there is just one game that proves it can go either way and come down to the wire. Here is why fans should tune into the rematch of Giants at Vikings, which will occur Sunday at 3:30PM CST in Minnesota.

The Vikings Edged The Giants Earlier This Season

On Christmas Eve, the New York Giants traveled to Minnesota and narrowly lost to the Vikings. In fact, the game came down to a successful Greg Joseph 61-yard field goal as Minnesota won 27-24. The game was evenly matched with Giants QB Daniel Jones passing for over 300 yards and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins throwing for 299 yards and three touchdown passes.

Saquon Barkley was the games leading rusher with 84 yards and a touchdown, while Justin Jefferson was the leading receiver with 133 yards and a score. Both teams controlled the clock for half the game, converted 23 first-downs each, and ran nearly the same number of offensive plays. Unfortunately, for the Giants, they turned it over twice, while the Vikings had zero giveaways. It was a matchup that neither team could put the other one away as it went back and forth until the end.

Two Up and Coming Teams

What is surprising for both teams is that they come into the postseason with first-year head coaches. The Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell is an offensive mind who has taken a .500 team the past four seasons and made them one of the best in the NFC. Meanwhile, New York head coach Brian Daboll steadied one of the NFL’s worst team’s over the past decade and got them into the playoffs.

Each coaching staff deserves a ton of credit for their accomplishments in 2022. Both the Vikings and Giants will be significant franchises to watch year after year.

What Will Happen In The Playoff Game?

The margin of victory on Sunday is expected to be razor thin with Minnesota coming in as a three-point favorite. The Vikings finished 2022 with a 13-4 record and were an incredible 8-1 playing at home. However, their points differential all year was minus three points. The Vikings had several big losses but won all 11 of their one-score games.

New York comes into the game with a 9-7-1 record and 4-4 on the road. The Giants finished the 2022 season 8-3 against the spread, so expect this to be close. New York’s points differential all season was minus six points.

Each side of the matchup has plenty of star power. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has played efficient this year and is aided by one of the best receivers in football, Justin Jefferson. The former first round pick out of LSU led the NFL with 128 receptions and 1,809 yards. He will be the focal point of the offense along with running back Dalvin Cook who is the NFL’s sixth leading rusher. Defensively, The Vikings have Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith in their secondary who have picked off five passes apiece.

New York has seen major improvements from quarterback Daniel Jones, but the team led by their running game. Saquon Barkley has had an outstanding year with 1,312 rushing yards which is tops in the NFC and fourth overall. The Giants won’t do a lot to wow you, but their offense and defense are incredibly balanced.

The Prediction

It would not be a surprise if either team comes out on top. Expect a hard-fought game with plenty of big moments. Whoever plays the cleaner game turnover-wise will likely win the game. However, playing in Minnesota, gives the Vikings the early advantage.

Prediction: Vikings 20 Giants 17

 
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