NFL 2019 (Week 13): Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 13): Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

By Jesse Pierson

Special to Pro Football Guru

The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks are two of the best teams in the NFL, let alone the NFC. Neither one of them, though, is in first place within their division and thus are battling for wild card spots at the moment. A Seattle win would actually vault them ahead of San Francisco (whom they beat two games ago), and while a Minnesota win would even their record with Green Bay, they would still be behind the Packers due to a Week 2 loss that breaks the tie. Despite the fanfare of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III being selected with the top two selections of the 2012 draft, Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson have now positioned themselves as the most successful quarterbacks selected that year. In fact, they have the two highest passer ratings through 11 games in the entire league--Cousins’ 114.8 leads the way, and Wilson’s 112.1 is just behind. Combining for 45 touchdowns and six interceptions will do that. Whichever quarterback can walk out of this game with a victory is setting his team up for a big December, and the playoffs are just around the corner.

Vikings: Cousins has surely benefitted from the stellar play of running back Dalvin Cook to this point in the year. Cook has run for the third-most yards going into Week 13 (1,017) and is tied for second in rushing touchdowns with 11. His effectiveness has allowed Cousins to find Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Irv Smith Jr. and Kyle Rudolph through the air. Thielen will be missing his fourth straight game with a nagging hamstring injury, however. Cousins and Cook have been taking care of the ball, which, coupled with a physical defense, has allowed them to amass this 8-3 record. Defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen have combined for 15.5 and 21.5 tackles for loss, while Griffen is one of eight Vikings to have recorded an interception. This is as complete a team as Mike Zimmer has had in his tenure in Minnesota, but he needs to start to win games like this to prove that his team is a legitimate championship contender.

Seahawks: Pete Carroll’s team has won a Super Bowl and played in another, but they were bounced in the Wild Card round last year, missed the playoffs the season before that, and were eliminated in the Divisional round in consecutive postseasons after coming up a goal line interception short against New England in Super Bowl XLIX. With apologies to any angry Seattle fans reading this, the point is that those Super Bowls seem like a long time ago. The “Legion of Boom” disbanded and Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are leading their own championship contenders elsewhere. This is Wilson’s team and while he has been playing better than ever, a defensive resurgence would help bring another Lombardi Trophy back to Seattle. One area for improvement is the pass rush, which ranks 28th in the NFL with only 23 sacks recorded. In spite of that, the turnovers are still coming, with 24 forced and a plus-9 differential. Those numbers are good enough to carry a team in January, although they will need to force the sure-handed Vikings into a few turnovers to win this game in early December.

Prediction: Cousins and Cook don’t turn the ball over, yet they are limited in their effectiveness thanks to a raucous Seattle home crowd.

Seattle Seahawks 29, Minnesota Vikings 21

Jesse Pierson (@jessetpierson) is a former teacher and high school football coach who has written about the Colts for over a decade. He loves football, dogs, food, and comedy, and you can follow his work on his Facebook page, Jesse Pierson, Mediocre Writer.

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