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New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The New Orleans Saints have a chance to earn a spot in the NFC Championship on Sunday, but beating the Minnesota Vikings on the road won't be easy. The Vikings were 7-1 at U.S. Bank Stadium this season and are ...

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Old 01-13-2018, 07:50 AM   #1
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The New Orleans Saints have a chance to earn a spot in the NFC Championship on Sunday, but beating the Minnesota Vikings on the road won't be easy.

The Vikings were 7-1 at U.S. Bank Stadium this season and are 12-4 thus far in their new stadium. The Saints finished the regular season 4-4 on the road, and they lost their last three road games.



There will be some external pressure on the Vikings this weekend as they're the first Super Bowl host to play a divisional-round game at home. Minnesota is surely hoping for the Vikings to become the first Super Bowl home team, but the Saints have a chance to spoil that dream.

Here are three matchups that could determine the outcome of Sunday's game:

Saints quarterback Drew Brees vs. Vikings safety Harrison Smith

No, it's not a one-on-one matchup, but the cat-and-mouse game between Brees and Smith will likely play a huge role in how successful the Saints offense can be Sunday.

With the Vikings having an elite defensive line, expect Brees to try to throw quickly for most of the game, and he'll have to pay attention for Smith laying in the weeds trying to bait him into throws. Smith had already established himself as a top-tier safety before this season, but he still had five interceptions because he has a nose for the ball.

Brees this season threw just eight interceptions, which were the fewest he's had in his 12 seasons with the Saints. Some people will point to his decreased passing attempts -- 536 were his fewest since 514 in 2009 -- but just 1.5 percent of Brees' passes were interceptions in 2017. That's the lowest mark of his career and an indication of how well he's protected the ball.

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Old 01-13-2018, 09:04 AM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

This will be as tough as going to Seattle...
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:46 AM   #3
 
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Re: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

PFT’s divisional round picks – ProFootballTalk
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:07 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

Win the turnover battle
Capitalize in the red zone
Play great on special teams
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

Originally Posted by K Major View Post
Win the turnover battle
Capitalize in the red zone
Play great on special teams
Be better on 3rd down is also a big one IMO. Gotta keep their defense tired.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:34 PM   #6
 
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Re: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

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Old 01-13-2018, 01:40 PM   #7
 
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:44 PM   #8
 
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:48 PM   #9
 
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:20 PM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: 3 key matchups

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
I couldn't disagree more. The saints are a completely different team than they were in week 1. The Vikings have not played an opportunistic defense like the Saints yet. They beat the bucs by 17, the falcons by 5 and the Panthers beat them in week 13 by 7. The saints only lost to them by 10 in week 1 and there is speculation that was intentional because Peyton wanted to trade Peterson. This will most likely be a close game but I believe in our saints. I take the Saints by 3. Who Dat!!

Key players from week 1 that aren't playing in the divisional round in Sunday.


1. Kikaha
2. A.J. Klein
3. Alex Okafor
4. Nathan Stupar
5. Kenny Vacarro

Top 5 played in week one but are now on I.R. There are others but they didn't contribute as much. The offense is a 2 headed monster with an all pro quarterback as the backup plan. If the Vikings look past the Saints they WILL lose.
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