The Minnesota Vikings are going to be heading into one of the most hostile environments when they face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Playing the Saints on the road in the postseason seems to cause noticeable issues for opposing teams.
The Saints come into this game as possibly the best team that is playing on Wild Card weekend. At 13-3, New Orleans was very deserving of receiving a first-round bye in the playoffs for how they finished the regular season.
Even though they deserved it, their loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10 ended up costing them a top-two seed in the NFC. Nevertheless, with Drew Brees at the helm, New Orleans is capable of making a Super Bowl run.
As for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins is under an immense amount of pressure to deliver in a crucial moment. The handsomely-paid quarterback has played well during the regular season but still has to prove that he can lead Minnesota to their ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.
For Minnesota to pull off the upset in New Orleans, Cousins has to be nearly flawless. With that in mind, here are five bold predictions for the Vikings and Saints Wild Card matchup on Sunday.
5. Alvin Kamara will rush for 100 yards
Before this season, Alvin Kamara was considered as arguably the most valuable running back in the NFL. But this season, the dual-threat running back hasn’t looked the same as he has in recent seasons.
Injuries have definitely played a part in why he’s looked out of sorts at times. To end the season though, Kamara began showing flashes of returning to being the running back he is known to be.
As good as Kamara is, he was unable to have a game with over 100 rushing yards during the regular season. The former third-round pick is going to have his first 100-yard performance on Sunday versus the Vikings.
4. Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs will both have 100+ receiving yards
For the Vikings to win on Sunday, it seems like a game where Minnesota is going to have to win through the air. If that’s the case, then Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are poised to have productive outings for the Vikings.
Due to Thielen dealing with an injury, Minnesota rarely had a healthy duo of him and Diggs on the field together. Furthermore, the duo never had a game during the regular season that both wide receivers contributed 100 receiving yards.
With the Vikings likely needing to pass the ball often to win, both Thielen and Diggs will both record 100 receiving yards versus the Saints.
3. Drew Brees will complete 83 percent of his passes
Over his illustrious career, Brees has made a living off of being an extremely accurate quarterback. Since 2017, the Saints’ franchise quarterback has completed 73.5 percent of his attempts.
Back in Week 15, the veteran signal-caller completed a single-game record 29 of his 30 attempts against the Indianapolis Colts. In addition, his career-high completion percentage in the postseason is 82.05 percent.
Brees achieved that number versus the Colts in the Super Bowl in 2009. The future Hall-of-Famer will set a personal record for completion percentage on Sunday.
2. Dalvin Cook will be contained to under 30 rushing yards
When defending the Vikings’ offense, there’s no doubt that Cook is the engine that gets them going. The Florida State product had a remarkable season but finished a bit banged up due to a shoulder ailment.
As a result, Cook had under 30 rushing yards in three out of his last four games to end the season. Without a doubt, the strong-suit of New Orleans’ defense is their run defense.
The Saints had the fourth-best run defense in the NFL during the regular season. New Orleans will be the fourth team to contain Cook to under 30 rushing yards in his past five games.
1. Michael Thomas will break the single-game playoff record for receptions
If you were able to watch the Saints this season, you would already know how special of a season that Michael Thomas had. The Saints’ No. 1 wideout finished the season with an NFL record 149 receptions for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns.
No matter what defenses throw at him, Thomas has been able to deliver insane production for the Saints. There’s no reason to believe that won’t continue on Sunday versus the Vikings.
The single-game playoff record for receptions in the playoffs is 15 receptions by James White and Darren Sproles. The All-Pro wide receiver for the Saints will eclipse that record on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.