New Orleans Saints Face Minnesota Vikings in Wild Card Weekend Clash

New Orleans Saints Face Minnesota Vikings in Wild Card Weekend Clash

by January 5, 2020 0 comments

The New Orleans Saints will host the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC Wild Card playoff rematch two years in the making on Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 1:05 p.m. EST, televised on FOX. New Orleans comes into the postseason with a 13-3 record which includes their domination over the Carolina Panthers in the final regular season game last week. The Vikings lead the all-time series between the two teams, 22-12, as well as leading in playoff series history, 3-1, winning the last three out of four playoff games against the Saints. However, the Saints are favored to win this game and advance to the next round of the playoffs.

New Orleans won its third consecutive NFC South division title this year, which is the longest streak in franchise history, and also recorded 11 or more wins for the third straight year which ties for the longest streak in team history. Head coach Sean Payton has led the team to six division titles as head coach and had seven of his players selected to play in the 2020 Pro Bowl, the most of any teams.  The Saints are 9-11 in playoff history and are 4-1 versus common opponents, while Payton is 2-3 against the Vikings and 8-6 in the playoffs.

SEASON LEADERS

Drew Brees posted 281 of 378 completions for 2,979 yards, 27 touchdowns, and four interceptions for a rating of 116.3 on the season in which he was sidelined for five weeks due to an injury. Alvin Kamara leads the team in rushing with 171 carries for 797 yards and five touchdowns while Michael Thomas recorded 149 receptions for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Cameron Jordan led the Saints with 15.5 sacks and Marcus Williams recorded four interceptions for the team lead. Wil Lutz added 144 points to the Saints’ scores this season by kicking 48 of 49 extra points and 32 of 36 field goal attempts.

SEASON NOTABLES

Brees is ranked second in the NFL with his career-high 116.3 passer rating and a 74.3 completion percentage in 2019, which is the second-highest single-season mark in league history. Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns and in the last three weeks of the season, he posted 15 touchdowns versus zero interceptions for an impressive 137.0 rating. In Brees’ last six postseason starts at home, he has recorded 15 touchdowns and six interceptions on the book in his two postseason starts versus the Vikings.

Kamara posted 1,330 scrimmage yards this season and became the third player with 500 or more rushing and 500 or more receiving yards in each of his first three seasons. In the 2017 matchup against Minnesota, Kamara posted 105 scrimmage yards and a receiving touchdown and is going for his third consecutive postseason game with 100 or more yards.

Thomas led the NFL with a single-season record 149 receptions and recorded his career-high 1,725 yards in 2019. In the last matchup between the teams, Thomas recorded seven receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns and is aiming for his seventh game in a row at home with 10 or more receptions and 100 or more receiving yards. In the 2019 season, Thomas had nine games with 10 or more catches, which is the most in a single season in league history.

On the defensive side, Cameron Jordan has dominated in sacks with 15.5, his career-high, and his playoff history has a sack in the last two of three games.  Jordan is tied for fourth place in franchise history for the most sacks in a single season.

Marshon Lattimore has six pass deflections and two interceptions in his four career playoff games and has been a contributing factor in the Saints’ defense when he has been healthy.

With the consistent play of Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas on the offense, the stronger Minnesota defense shouldn’t be an issue, and the Saints have to stop Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs from reaching the end zone in order to win this round of the playoff season.

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