Heading into the final quarter of the season, can the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings keep their eight-game win streak going & ride the table the rest of the way?
The Minnesota Vikings extended their win streak to eight games with an impressive 14-9 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Behind an outstanding defensive performance, Case Keenum and the Vikings offense were able to score two touchdowns, enough to muster a victory.
While the offense has received much of the credit for Minnesota’s lengthy win streak, the defense made a huge statement by shutting down a high-powered Falcons offense to nine points. An offense that had averaged just over 31 points over the previous three games, all wins.
Most impressively, the Vikings held Matt Ryan to only 173 yards and zero touchdowns, ending a 30-game streak of at least one touchdown pass. In addition, Julio Jones, arguably the top receiver in the NFL, was shut down by Xavier Rhodes, catching only two balls for 24 yards. This after putting up a season-high 12 catches and 253 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.
Basically, the Vikings defense was as good as they’ve been all season long, showing why they are a top-five defense in the league. Given how well they’ve played against some of the game’s best over the last three weeks, Mike Zimmer may have this defense playing at its highest level since taking over as head coach. Quite a scary thought. Along with a top-five offensive unit, this could be the most complete team in the NFL. Although, the Philadelphia Eagles may have something to say about that.
Moving forward, Minnesota enters the final quarter of the season with the NFC North division in hand. In fact, they just have to win one game the rest of the way to wrap it up. With this in mind, the clear goal for the Vikings is to win home-field advantage in the playoffs. If that happens, they would have home-field advantage for the entire playoffs considering the Super Bowl is being held at U.S. Bank Stadium.
With the Eagles fighting for the first seed as well, the Vikings still have to earn it down the stretch. As matter of fact, it may take wins in the final four weeks in order to accomplish that goal. Knowing this, let’s preview Minnesota’s remaining schedule and speculate on whether they can run the table the rest of the way.