‘Twas the day before Christmas last year, when the Vikings and Giants last met on the field. A franchise-record 61-yard field goal in the last seconds by Greg Joseph saw Minnesota take the “W,” 27-24.
Right after the game, New York’s star running back Saquon Barkley told the media he wanted a rematch. Now, with the chance to move forward to the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs, the time has come for that rematch to happen.
As two of the more entertaining teams in the NFC gear up to throw down in Minnesota once again, what are some of the most important factors to consider when trying to tip the scale in favor of the Giants or Vikings?
Let’s check the latest NFL picks, stats, injury reports, and NFL predictions. We’ve plenty of NFL expert picks for you to consider.
Playoff Experience Will Come in Handy
You can have a team with some of the best talents in the league. People that blaze up the field on every down and make fans go wild. But without any experience in the games that matter most, all that talent and hype can amount to virtually nothing.
Take the Giants for example. They are one of the most exciting, young teams in the league. If you watch them play on the field, they bring a level of energy that’s almost unmatched. Sometimes though, their lack of experience playing in critical scenarios usually gets the best of them.
Now take the Vikings. They have a QB that while volatile at moments, still knows what it’s like to win in the playoffs. Their roster hoists tons of playoff experience in comparison to New York. So where does that leave us?
Experience is key when playing in games like these. Knowing how to handle the pressure, being able to keep cool, calm, and collected even in the most stressful situations, and playing through everything are essential.
While the Giants have a ton of explosive, young talent to rely on, Minnesota’s playoff experience could help them in their goal to take New York out of the equation and continue in the playoffs.
Rookie Coaches Meeting
New York’s Brian Daboll and Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell have taken to their first head coaching gigs in the pros with ease. While Daboll was able to turn the Giants from afterthoughts to contenders, O’Connell managed to make the Vikings go from a team in need of balance between to a strong, effective, and exciting team.
Both coaches know what it’s like to be part of championship-winning teams, with Daboll winning five Super Bowls in his time with the Patriots and O’Connell being the Rams’ OC in last year’s Super Bowl triumph. But who takes the edge here?
As both prepare to meet in what will be the fourth time in league history that rookie coaches duel in the playoffs, I have to go with Daboll here.
O’Connell had a much easier job taking over the Vikings HC job in comparison to Daboll. New York’s coach had to work on creating a winning culture.
He had to work on putting together an offense with a QB that had more doubts than anything else surrounding him. Lastly, Daboll managed to get Barkley’s best version once again, and made New York’s defense a force.
Between all that, and Daboll’s previous Super Bowl-winning experience, the advantage here goes to the Giants.
New York’s Secondary vs Minnesota’s Receivers
From the get-go, the advantage here goes to Minnesota. Why? Justin Jefferson, that’s why. The former LSU star had a career year, coming close to breaking the all-time season receiving yards record while making highlight reel plays week in and week out.
New York’s secondary is a good unit, especially with Adoree’ Jackson coming back, but that still won’t be enough to stop Jefferson. Add to that what Adam Thielen and TJ Hockenson can bring as Kirk Cousin’s second and third targets and what do you get? A Giants secondary that might get run over.
I love the fight that New York brings to the field. It’s a testament to Coach Daboll’s style. Yet, in a game where physicality runs into speed and agility, it’s hard to rely solemnly on brash force to get through.
This is the kind of game in which players like Jefferson can thrive, as long as Cousins can get in sync. A lot of whatever happens for Minnesota on offense will rely solely on what version of its QB they get.
Still, playing at home, and having much more playoff experience than the Giants, it’s easier to see the Vikings winning this game than the Giants. So roll with Minnesota to win at home and move forward.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.