Cleat Geeks

Monday Night Match-up Giants @ Vikings Predictions & Results

Last Monday night, the first presidential debate captured most of Amercia’s eyes, but this week it will the Giants vs. the Vikings. The number one defense in the league takes on the potentially explosive NY Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. The Vikings look to stay unbeaten, and the Giants would love a win to not fall behind in the NFC East.

New York Giants (2-1)
The Giants were fresh off a very close loss to the Redskins. They had good success in all aspects of their offense and will at least be happy with the performance of their receivers as of late, especially their rookie Sterling Shepard. Eli also played well but still needs to limit the turnovers; he really needs to step up against the aggressive Minnesota D if the Giants want any shot to win. Rashad Jennings (thumb) will not play in Monday’s game, and Orleans Darkwa will get the start. Darkwa and Jennings split carries last week, and the team had success with both backs. Jordan Raanan will back up Darkwa, but expect Darkwa to see the ball more. The Giants will need to be near flawless to compete against Minnesota’s top ranked D. Odell will also need to find the endzone at some point this season.mikezimmervikings

Minnesota Vikings (3-0)
Early on, one of the big talks of the season has not only been how well the Vikings defense has played, but also how they have been able to win without Adrian Peterson and with Sam Bradford. Clearly, the teams success starts with their phenomenal defensive play. They lead the league in sacks (15), takeaway giveaway difference (+8), and had 9 turnovers in the last three games. Eli Manning has been very turnover prone with 14 picks and only 5 TDs. I think the Vikings will exploit Eli, make him panic, and throw some mistakes. Minnesota’s O hasn’t looked bad either. Bradford had an excellent game against the Packers and played good enough vs. the Panthers. Stefon Diggs has been a nice surprise in the the Viking passing attack tearing it up the first two games, and when he had a down week against Carolina, Kyle Rudolph stepped up. The Vikings are a solid team all around and are an exceptional defense. I’m thinkin’ their defense is too much this week for the G-Men.

Prediction: Vikings-24 Giants- 10

What Actually Happened

It is not every day in the NFL that you pick the right team as the victor. It is even more rare that you pick the exact final score. This week, the author of this weekly article did both! Very impressive Mr. Calles, very impressive indeed.

Since making his debut with the Vikings in Week 2, Sam Bradford has outplayed the 2014 MVP (Aaron Rodgers), the 2015 MVP (Cam Newton) and a two-time Super Bowl MVP (Eli Manning). Not a bad few weeks, against some of the best talent the NFL has to offer. Bradford did miss a few throws versus the Giants, but made plays under pressure, dialed up twin deep strikes to Charles Johnson and answered the Giants’ fourth-quarter touchdown with a textbook, eight-play, 76-yard scoring drive of his own to effectively seal the victory. Playing the best ball of his six-year career, Bradford has completed 66 of 95 passes (69.5 percent) for 719 yards (7.57 YPA), a 4:0 TD-to-INT ratio and a 105.6 passer rating.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

“He’s pretty poised in there,” Viking’s coach Mike Zimmer said about his QB after the game. “He made two great throws to Charles Johnson, he made some throws to (Kyle) Rudolph. The touchdown throw to Rudolph I thought was big. He continues to do the things that we ask of him to do.”

Coach Zimmer has featured strong secondary play going back to his days as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. Along with Vikings DC George Edwards and secondary coach Jerry Gray, he has developed a physical, rangy defensive backfield that shrinks the field practically taking away intermediate passes away from an opposing offence of 10-20 yards. Forcing the other team to either settle for check downs or trying to frequently launch the ball deep. The unit’s effectiveness has reached a new level since star cornerback Xavier Rhodes returned from a knee injury in Week 3. Against Beckham and Kelvin Benjamin the past two games, Rhodes allowed a total of three catches on seven targets for 23 yards and a 11.9 passer rating, per NFL Research.

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

Rhodes was the clear victor in a one-on-one battle with Beckham that featured plenty of hand-fighting, shoving and a 15-yard taunting penalty on the Giants’ wideout. Manning didn’t test the Vikings downfield until a miscommunication with Beckham led to a Rhodes interception in third quarter. Much will be made of Beckham’s disappointing production at the quarter-season mark, with zero touchdowns and 303 yards on 22 receptions. Keep in mind, however, that Beckham was slow out of the gates last year as well, catching 24 passes for 307 yards and two scores in his first four games.

“I think this team likes to win,” Zimmer said after Monday’s game. “I think they like to compete and prove to everybody that they can be talked about as good of a team as any … the attitude of this team is they like to win and it’s good.”

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