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Sports

Monday Night Football Preview (Week 13): Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks

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Monday Night Football Preview (Week 13): Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks

2019-12-02 13:07:47

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. (Image Source: Scott Eklund/Associated Press)

Here’s a look at the matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings:

Series: Seahawks lead 10-5; Streak: Seahawks have won the past four; Last Meeting: Seahawks 21, Vikings 7 (12.10.18)

Time: 8:15 PM ET; TV: ESPN (Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters)

Where They Stand:

Heading into Week 13, the NFC had five teams with eight-plus wins and two will square off on Monday Night Football. At 9-2, the Seattle Seahawks are just behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West and they can create at first-place tie with a win tonight. Among the conference’s teams with winning records, the ‘Hawks have the lowest point differential at plus 29. The Minnesota Vikings also need a win tonight to keep pace in the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers atop the division. Only San Francisco has a better point differential than the Vikings (+84) in the NFC. Both teams are hot. Minny has won six of seven, but are just 3-3 on the road, while Seattle has won seven of eight, including four straight.

When the Vikings Have the Ball:

A big part of Minnesota’s success is the play of Kirk Cousins, who has a 110-plus rating in six of his past seven games with 12 TD passes to no INTs (120.8 rating) in his past five, including three straight with multiple touchdown passes. A week ago, he completed 82.9 percent of his passes for 319 yards and three TDs (133.2 rating). Stefon Diggs had 121 yards last week and is one of four receivers with 800-plus yards and at least five TD catches in each of the past three seasons. With Adam Thielen out, tight end Kyle Rudolph (touchdowns in his past three) has emerged as an even bigger weapon in the throw game. What makes this offense different this year is the play of Dalvin Cook who has gone for at least 115 scrimmage yards in four straight. Cook travels well, as he’s posted 927 scrimmage yards in six road games this season.

The heart of the Seattle defense is their linebacking corps which features Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Wagner has posted 11-plus tackles in two-straight games and he leads the team with 103 tackles, just ahead of Wright, who has 95. Wright is one of two linebackers with over 1,000 tackles since 2012, including 12 last week. Coming off a strong game is edge rusher Ezekiel Ansah, who recorded 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble last week. Ansah played most of his career in the NFC North and has recorded a sack in his past two against the Vikings. Quietly emerging as a playmaker in the secondary is safety Bradley McDougald, who is one of two players with at least five interceptions and four forced fumbles since 2018.

When the Seahawks Have the Ball:

As good as Cousins has been, no quarterback in the NFC is playing as well as Russell Wilson. Last week, he became the first QB in the history of the NFL to win at least nine games in each of his first eight seasons as a pro. In five home games this year, Wilson has thrown for 1,488 yards and accounted for 16 touchdowns (14 passing) with just one INT for a rating of 113.9. Veteran Tyler Lockett has seven TD catches in his past six games at home, while DK Metcalf is tied for second among rookies with his 630 receiving yards and five touchdowns (on 38 receptions). The running game is shared by Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Carson has rushed for over 100 yards in two of his past three at home, while Penny is coming off a career-high 129-yard game, including a 58-yard scoring scamper.

Minnesota’s defense is strong up front with bookends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen both capable of getting after the quarterback. Hunter leads them with 8.5 sacks, just ahead of Griffen, who has seven on the season, including one last week. Six of his tackles for loss and 3.5 of Griffen’s sacks have come in his past four road games. Eric Kendricks is a versatile second-level defender with nine PDs in his past seven games and 12 on the season to lead all linebackers. They’re also getting a lot of production from safety. Harrison Smith’s 61 tackles are second on the team, Andrew Sendejo had seven tackles with an INT in their last game, while Anthony Harris (45 tackles, 7 PDs, 3 INTs) and Jayron Kearse (22 tackles, 5 PDs) are also very active contributors. 

Score: Seahawks 24, Vikings 23

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe, Maxwell, Bednarik, and the Rotary Lombardi Awards, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.                        

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