Sunday Afternoon – Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
When the Vikings and Panthers clash down in Carolina, it’s going to be another potential playoff preview. Each team could win their division and if they don’t, they’ll be frontrunners for the Wild Card. This matchup gives us the unstoppable force (Cam Newton) meeting the immovable object (Vikings defense). Who wins? Let’s find out.
Keys to the Game
We already know that the Vikings are going to need find a way to slow down Cam Newton, that’s obvious. What may not be so obvious is that the Vikings will need to protect their QB in order to stay in the fight. Carolina’s pass rush is fearsome and Minnesota will struggle to put points on the board if their QB winds up on the ground every time he drops back. Establishing the run game with McKinnon and Asiata will be an important part of keeping Bradford upright as it will force those defensive linemen to hesitate for a second, ensuring it’s not a running play, before they crash upfield. Do that and the Vikings will find this a much easier game to win.
Carolina is going to need to stay patient on offense. The Vikings are a formidable opponent and they’re going to make Newton and company earn every yard and every score. Newton can’t let that fluster him, because the Minnesota won’t miss opportunities to create turnovers. Staying within the offense and being patient will be paramount if Carolina wants a late-season victory over a playoff-bound opponent. A couple big plays from the defense will only help lock this one up for Carolina.