There’s a golden alternative accessible for the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night time. After the San Francisco 49ers misplaced to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Seahawks have the chance to take the NFC West management and place themselves for a first-round goodbye in the event that they handle to defeat the Minnesota Vikings on Monday.
The Vikings are in an especially strong wild card place proper now, however they should safe a victory to maintain up with the Inexperienced Bay Packers within the NFC North. The Packers hit the New York Giants on Sunday to maneuver their report to 9-Three, and though the Packers have the tiebreaker presently, the Vikings management their very own future.
How one can look
Date: Monday, December 2, 2019 | Hour: eight:15 p.m. ET
Location: CenturyLink Area (Seattle, Washington)
TV: ESPN | Observe: CBS Sports activities App
After all, this sport is of nice significance even when not one of the groups wins the division, as a result of the winner could have a bonus to have the ability to face any decrepit staff of the NFC East that involves the playoffs, in contrast to one of many winners of the actual division, within the first spherical. With that in thoughts, let's analyze issues.
When the Seahawks have the ball
The soiled little secret about defending the Minnesota Vikings is that it’s now a lot simpler to throw them than ever. Minnesota ranks 16th on the DVOA protection cross, and its cornerbacks are nonetheless preventing as badly because the final time we wrote about them on this area. (The numbers within the excerpt beneath have been up to date till week 12).
Nook No. 1 Xavier Rhodes is just not so good as it was once. Rhodes has allowed a passer score of 124.6 in photographs in his route, in response to Professional Soccer Focus, which ranks 154 out of 168 cornerbacks and bodyguards who’ve performed a minimum of 200 snapshots in protection. Evaluate that to 2018 (88.four), 2017 (73.2) and 2016 (47.zero), and it’s clear that Rhodes is just not the identical.
Convey Waynes has not been a lot better than Rhodes, as he acquired a passer score of 109.5 in photographs, which ranks 126th among the many identical group of gamers.
Vikings typically line Rhodes in the fitting nook and Waynes on the left, which implies Rhodes will see extra of rookie-sized monster DK Metcalf. Metcalf has primarily turn into a full-time participant after getting used situationally originally of the season (greater than 87 p.c snap price in every of the final 4 video games after reaching that mark solely as soon as within the first seven video games), and has taken over many of the objectives throughout that point as effectively. It isn’t but probably the most dynamic route runner on the earth, however its mixture of dimension, power and size provides it one of many widest seize radios within the NFL, and Russell Wilson has developed a very good quantity of confidence in him.
After all, Wilson's No. 1 purpose is Tyler Lockett. Webetween the 2 gamers final week:
Lockett was concerned moderately throughout the first a part of his profession, by no means noticed greater than 71 objectives throughout any of his first 4 seasons. He’s 78 to 11 weeks this season, however has managed to keep up spectacular effectivity. It appeared not possible that Lockett might replicate the seize price of 81.four p.c final season if the quantity elevated this season, however is at 80.eight p.c this yr, the third finest mark amongst 31 gamers with greater than 75 objectives. Whereas his loopy landing price (10 in 70 objectives) has dropped a bit (six in 78 objectives), he’s nonetheless changing 7.7 p.c of his objectives into scores, which locations him within the sixth finest among the many identical group of 31 gamers
One thing extremely given its dimension, Lockett is probably one of the best receiver in the whole league to make use of his physique to guard a defender in a deep ball. He has glorious higher physique power and is aware of precisely when to make use of his shoulder or arm to forestall the defender from leaping over to deflect a cross. He and Wilson have great chemistry in this sort of play, and Wilson is aware of the right way to put a further small bow underneath the ball when he factors to Lockett on the sector. And Lockett is unbelievable to trace the ball over his shoulder and lift his arms and put the ball in simply time to hook it, maintain it to the chest and forestall the defender from throwing it.
The Seahawks transfer Lockett all through the formation, however he does his finest job within the slot, the place he can use his pace to separate himself from rival cornerbacks. The Vikings are ranked 25 in DVOA towards slot widths this season, in response to Soccer Outsiders, and that's not a fantastic place to face a participant like Lockett. The Vikes have a minimum of carried out a very good job of limiting the closed wings, which is essential given the looks of Jacob Hollister in latest video games.
The query for the Seahawks, because it at all times is towards groups just like the Vikings, is whether or not they may actually depart Russ Prepare dinner. It’s well-known presently that Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer have a powerful desire for establishing the profession. They’ve stubbornly bumped the ball into elite defenses previously, together with final yr's playoff loss to the Cowboys. Nevertheless, after they confronted the Buccaneers earlier this season, they got here out with a heavy cross plan and led to a victory. It could be clever to exit with the identical sort of sport on Monday night time as a result of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny are prone to discover tough sleds on the bottom.
Minnesota ranks fourth within the NFL in DVOA profession protection, with opponents averaging simply four.1 yards per carry and have misplaced the ball virtually as many instances (two) as they’ve taken it by means of the purpose line (three). The Seahawks appear to have an incredible quantity of religion in Carson, they usually insisted on the finish of final week that he’ll stay his #1 man regardless of his accountability for 2 unfastened balls final week. Carson is a rig demolition machine, which is sweet to be towards a protection the place it is going to be tough to search out yards, however clumsiness issues led him to a bench in favor of Penny final week. Penny has as much as 5.9 yards per carry after his explosion towards the Eagles final week, however 95 of his 296 yards on the bottom this season have had two performs and has collected solely 201 yards in his different 48 carries (four.2 per carry).
When the Vikings have the ball
Keep in mind when folks had been anxious that Kirk Cousins would undermine the Viking season, in Week four? They had been enjoyable instances. Since then, all Cousins has carried out is finishing 162 of 221 passes (73.Three p.c) for two,020 yards (9.1 per try), 18 scores and just one interception. That may be a passer score of 126.5, which is by far one of the best within the NFL throughout that interval. (Ryan Tannehill is second with a 113.9 score).
Cousins is a completely scorching staff with sport and motion passes, with 55 of 78 for 864 yards, 11 touchdowns and no pitch choices after faking a race within the final seven video games. And he has carried out virtually all of that with out Adam Thielen, who has primarily been out since week 6 and might be sitting once more on Monday night time.
In opposition to the Seahawks, there may be an apparent place of weak point to assault in highschool. Tre Flowers is far simpler to seize in protection than Shaquill Griffin, though Flowers has performed higher in latest weeks. Even so, it is sensible to align Stefon Diggs with the left facet of the offensive discipline more often than not, permitting him to work towards Flowers whereas Olabisi Johnson sacrifices himself for Griffin's protection.
Seattle nonetheless performs extra grassroots protection than virtually every other staff within the league, even towards units of three and 4 receivers, however that's not as related towards this Vikings staff that has moved to greater than 12 employees lineups (a runner, two tight ends, two receivers) with Thielen in restore. Nevertheless, Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. obtain extra threats than Laquon Treadwell, however Seattle supporters and securities have had fairly dependable protection this yr, with Bobby Wagner and Ok.J. Wright doing his normal job and Bradley McDougald doing a very good job changing Earl Thomas behind them.
Nevertheless, just like the Seahawks, the Vikings would favor to run the ball if that possibility had been accessible to them. Dalvin Prepare dinner has been one of many few finest runners within the league this season, profitable 1,zero17 yards in his 214 carries and discovering the ultimate zone 11 instances. He added a further 455 yards over the air, changing into among the finest reception threats within the league as effectively. Alexander Mattison has run far behind him (82 carries for 394 yards and a rating), which permits the Vikings to maintain Prepare dinner's workload underneath management for probably the most half.
The 2 gamers have mixed for 21 explosive carries (greater than 15 yards) this season, in response to Professional Soccer Focus, with Prepare dinner breaking 13 of them and Mattison accumulating eight. Every of them has additionally carried out a wonderful job of breaking tackles, occupying the eighth and ninth place within the elusive PFF qualification among the many 53 runners with a minimum of 50 carries within the yr. Seattle has the No. 17 race protection unit ranked by DVOA this season, however solely the Browns and Ravens have actually discovered such success towards them on the bottom. Prepare dinner is a distinct problem than lots of the runners they’ve confronted, but it surely was not way back that the Seahawks saved among the finest video games within the NFL (49ers) underneath management, permitting solely 87 yards to drive Kyle Shanahan.
Prediction: Seahawks 26, Vikings 24