Vikings Capitalize on Charger Mistakes to Move Closer to Playoffs

Going into this matchup, it was expected that the Minnesota Vikings would dominate the Los Angeles Chargers, and that was exactly what happened.

Los Angeles’s defense held strong until about the middle of the second quarter, but after that, it went all downhill from there. Quarterback Philip Rivers reverted back to playing the way he had most of the season, propelling the Chargers turnover total to seven.

The Chargers’ only noteworthy drive came early in the second quarter and resulted in the only touchdown of the game. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen each had a great catch that showed why they continue to be the biggest threats on the Chargers offense.

With Rivers consistently throwing interceptions and turning the ball over, fans are left wondering how much longer he’ll be donning a Chargers uniform. The offensive line doesn’t necessarily do him any favors as he is constantly under pressure, but he has been under siege for most of his career, so it hardly is considered an excuse at this point.

The defense is holding on the best they can, but there is some room for improvement. It is hard to judge how much improvement is really needed when they spend the majority of the time on the field and the offense helps the opposing team score more than their own. Three interceptions and four fumbles equal seven shortened rest periods for a normally strong defense, and they eventually wore down against the Vikings.

Meanwhile, Minnesota had two negatives on the day. The first was that Kirk Cousins threw one interception. The interception led to a fumble by Rivers. The other negative was that running back Dalvin Cook left the game in the third quarter and was not able to return.

Most games that are played with teams on equal footing come down to taking advantage of turnovers. The Vikings did just that. While they scored on their own accord, they also scored two field goals and two touchdowns for 20 of their 39 points from the turnovers LA handed them.

While this was mainly a game to showcase just how far the Chargers have fallen from last year, it also proved Minnesota is really a contender for the playoffs this year. Thanks to an injury by Matthew Stafford on the Lions and the complete collapse of the Chicago Bears over the course of the season, the NFC North is being battled out between the Vikings and the Packers.

The Vikings have won 10 of their games with Cousins only throwing for over 300 yards in four of them and never more than 338. The defense is clearly a huge component of the team’s success. The defense’s ability to create situations for both fumbles and interceptions along with the offensive ability to convert them makes the Vikings a dangerous team.

Any flaws an opponent produces could be detrimental to them. The main worry that should be on the Vikings’ minds right now is Cook’s injury. They need him to secure their playoff spot and with a huge battle in Green Bay next week, it will ultimately decide who gets first in the division and who will be competing for a wild card spot.

This game was a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions, and the better team won thanks to making the most of extra opportunities with the football.

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