The Minnesota Vikings will make the travel to the Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13. If the NFL season ended now, both teams would make the playoffs as the two Wild Card teams in the NFC.
The Vikings are sitting at second place in the NFC North with an 8-3 record. Minnesota is tied with the Green Bay Packers at 8-3 but the Packers have the tie-breaker.
On the other hand, Seattle owns a 9-2 record to position them right behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers only have a one-game lead over the Seahawks in the division.
With all of that taken into consideration, here are four things to watch and a prediction in the matchup between the Vikings and Seahawks on Monday night.
4. What wide receiver will step up alongside Tyler Lockett?
The Seahawks’ offense tends to rely on their running game and allow Russell Wilson to put the ball in the air when needed. When Seattle does throw the ball, Wilson typically looks in the direction of Tyler Lockett.
This season, Lockett has hauled in 63 receptions for 831 yards and six touchdowns. Besides Lockett though, the Seahawks are going to need another one of their wideouts, whether it be D.K. Metcalf or Josh Gordon, to step up.
Minnesota’s weakness on defense is their pass defense, allowing 244.5 yards per game (20th in the NFL).
3. Dalvin Cook vs. the front seven of the Seahawks
When watching the Vikings, there’s no mistaking that their offense goes through Dalvin Cook. Without Cook being effective on the ground, Minnesota’s offense begins to falter with Kirk Cousins under center.
Given that, the Seahawks will want to do everything in their power to slow down Cook and the Vikings’ rushing attack. The Seahawks have the 10th best run defense in the NFL that has given up an average of 101.5 yards per game.
If Seattle can contain Cook, the Seahawks will definitely put themselves in a position to defeat the Vikings.
2. Who will get the bulk of the carries in Seattle’s backfield?
Since last season, Chris Carson has been the lead running back in Seattle’s backfield. But due to his fumbling woes in 2019, Rashaad Penny saw an increased workload in Week 12 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
With Penny getting 14 carries, he was able to have the most productive performance of his career with 129 yards and a touchdown. Following his latest outing, it appears that both Carson and Penny will share the backfield duties moving forward.
It remains to be seen who comes out on top as the starting running back after Monday night’s game against the Vikings.
1. Will Kirk Cousins perform well on primetime?
Throughout his entire career, Cousins has been scrutinized for how he has performed in primetime games. However, Cousins’ latest game on primetime involved him defeating the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
In that game, the veteran quarterback aired it out for 232 yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota’s 28-24 win. Cousins will undoubtedly look to improve upon his success on primetime on Monday night.
At the same time, if he has a less-than-stellar outing, the narrative that he can’t play well in primetime games will grow stronger.
Prediction: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20
The Seahawks are playing at home in this game and will be riding a four-game winning streak. The deciding factor will be whether or not Cousins can outplay Wilson and this time around, he won’t.