03-15-2019, 01:49 AM
UPDATE: Thought I’d bump this up to the top since we’re now just one day out from Championship Weekend. The poll will be open until the kickoff of the NFC Championship Game tomorrow.The National Football League is down to its final four teams now that the Divisional Playoffs are in the books. We want to know who you think is going to be facing off in Atlanta on 3 February in Super Bowl LIII.Championship Weekend will kick off at the Superdome Cheap Customized Minnesota Vikings Jerseys , where the New Orleans Saints will play host to the Los Angeles Rams. These two teams met earlier on in the season at the Superdome, with the Saints emerging with a 45-35 victory.The Rams advanced by taking down the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night by a final score of 30-22, while the Saints moved on by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday by a score of 20-14.That game will be aired on your local FOX affiliate, with kickoff scheduled for 2:05 PM Central time.That will be followed by the AFC Championship Game, live from Arrowhead Stadium. Much like the NFC, the top two seeds in the AFC will square off as the Kansas City Chiefs will square off against the New England Patriots. This is also a rematch of a game that took place earlier in the season, and the Patriots emerged victorious by a score of 43-40 on a last-minute field goal. That game was in Foxboro, however. . .things might be a little different in Kansas City.The Chiefs advanced to the title game by thrashing the Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 31-13 on Saturday afternoon. The Patriots advanced to their eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game by beating up on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon, 41-28.That game will be aired on your local CBS station, with kickoff scheduled for 5:40 PM Central time.As of right now, both home teams are three-point favorites, which means that Vegas sees both matchups as relatively even, as home-field advantage is usually worth about three points. For entertainment purposes only, obviously.So Youth Anthony Barr Jersey , we have four potential Super Bowl matchups, folks. Who do you think will be meeting in the final game of the 2018-19 NFL season? We’ll keep the poll open until the NFCCG kicks off next Sunday afternoon. After watching the New England Patriots systematically disassemble the Minnesota Vikings in the cold and calculated way they usually dispatch of opponents at home, I was left with one burning question:Are the Vikings the NFL’s worst good team or the NFL’s best bad team?Think about it. They’re 6-5-1, yet they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season. They have taken care of business against the teams they’re “supposed to” beat (excluding the still-baffling Bills game, of course) but they don’t have a single “signature” win this season. Matthew Coller provided a breakdown of the win-loss records of Vikings opponents this season:Losing at New England is nothing to hang your head about—after all, just about everyone loses when they visit Gillette Stadium. Bill Belichick remains the master at making teams “play left-handed.” They take away what you do best and make you beat them another way. A perfect example of this: nobody on the defensive line outside of Danielle Hunter was credited with a pressure on Sunday. Tom Brady and the New England offense counteracted Minnesota’s pass rush by running the ball effectively on first down and using quick-hit passes to avoid pressure. Brady attempted only one pass of over 20 yards the entire day but was still extremely effective. His NextGen passing chart is basically a giant cluster of green dots all over the line of scrimmage. But despite losing their top two cornerbacks for a large portion of the game, the Vikings defense still kept the team hanging around for the majority of the contest.The offensive side of the ball continues to stick in the craw of Vikings fans after losses this season. The usual culprits have been turnovers, the offensive line giving up a ton of pressure, and the run game being completely ineffective. The first one proved true again; the Vikings lost the turnover battle and are now 1-4-1 in such games this season. However, the other two pain points didn’t really show up on Sunday.According to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings gave up only ten total pressures against the Patriots, which was their fourth fewest of the year. Kirk Cousins had a clean pocket in 33 of his 46 dropbacks. On those plays where he had decent time to throw, Cousins was 24 of 33 for 152 yards, one touchdown http://www.authenticsminnesotavikings.co...ers-jersey , and two interceptions. Not great.The run game was working when the Vikings actually decided to use it. They averaged 7.3 yards per carry on Sunday; unfortunately they only ran the ball 13 times while Cousins chucked 44 passes. The Vikings were trailing for most of the contest, but it wasn’t like they were getting blown out either. The lack of balance and ineffective play calling have Mike Zimmer openly questioning John DeFilippo once again. Many fans are already calling for the Offensive Coordinator’s job just twelve games into his tenure. While I personally think that may be a bit premature, I certainly understand the frustration with the under-performing offense. Something needs to change, and fast—another loss at Seattle next Monday would officially put the Vikings’ season on the brink.Before we move ahead and start looking at the Seahawks, let’s take our weekly look back at the five most important plays from Sunday’s game.Play 1: Patriots ball, 1st & 10 at the New England 45. First quarter, 11:57 remaining. T.Brady pass short left to C.Patterson pushed ob at MIN 31 for 24 yards (A.Harris).We all knew this was bound to happen.The Vikings could never really figure out how to use Cordarrelle Patterson outside of kick returns and a few gadget plays. Naturally, he’s thriving with the Patriots in a variety of ways. This easy catch and run from Flash put the Pats in Vikings territory on their first drive, and they scored four plays later. It set the tone that Belichick is still the best at coaching to his players’ strengths. It also set the precedent that Minnesota would be chasing New England both literally and figuratively throughout the afternoon.Minnesota had a chance to answer on their ensuing drive, but it was a chance they couldn’t capitalize on.Play 2: Vikings ball, 2nd & 9 at the New England 22. First quarter, 6:20 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins sacked at NE 30 for -8 yards (A.Butler).After going three-and-out on their first drive, the Vikings had already gained 53 yards on five plays, 42 of which came on three runs by Dalvin Cook http://www.authenticsminnesotavikings.co...son-jersey , to get themselves just outside of the red zone. Cue the drive-killing sack!Cousins had Adam Thielen open underneath in the middle. He also had Latavius Murray open in the flat. He also had plenty of time to just throw the ball away if he didn’t like either option. Instead, he took the sack from Adam Butler, which led to a third & 17, which led to a missed 48-yard field goal by Dan Bailey. (Fun side note: Bailey has already dropped from second all-time to sixth in career field goal percentage since joining the Vikings earlier this season.) Instead of answering New England’s score with one of their own, they came away empty-handed. The Vikings didn’t score until the final minute of the half, but they still trailed by only three points heading into the locker rooms.Minnesota’s defense held firm for most of the third quarter, thanks in part to Stephen Gostowski missing a field goal of his own. It appeared that the Vikings might be able to take their first lead on a drive just before the fourth quarter.Play 3a: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the New England 40. Third quarter, 3:51 remaining.(Shotgun) D.Cook right guard ran ob at NE 22 for 18 yards.See, the run game really was effective on Sunday!Once again, the Vikings had 1st & 10 just outside of the red zone thanks to a Cook run. They ended up scoring on this drive, but maybe not the score they deserved.Play 3b: Vikings ball, 3rd & 9 at the New England 21. Third quarter, 2:28 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass incomplete deep right to A.Robinson.On second down http://www.authenticsminnesotavikings.co...ejo-jersey , Cousins tried to hit Thielen in the end zone, but J.C. Jackson prevented Thielen from getting close. Thielen complained to the referee about pass interference, but it looked like Jackson was in good position. On third down, Jackson made another play; this one was a bit more questionable.You could argue that the ball was uncatchable, but it certainly appeared as though Jackson grabbed the arm of Aldrick Robinson before the ball arrived.No penalty was called and the Vikings had to settle for tying the game on a Bailey field goal instead of possibly taking the lead.The tie didn’t last long.Play 4: Patriots ball, 1st & 10 at the Minnesota 24. Third quarter, 0:42 remaining. (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short middle to J.Gordon for 24 yards, TOUCHDOWN. NE 12-Brady 508th career TD pass, ties Favre for 3rd-most all-time. NE 12-Brady 579th career TD pass (including postseason), ties P. Manning for most all-time.You only get so many chances to take down the GOAT at home. The Vikings didn’t take theirs, and Brady made them pay posthaste.In four ruthlessly efficient plays, the Patriots sliced through the Vikings defense to reclaim the lead for good. This touchdown pass to Josh Gordon tied Brady with Peyton Manning for most touchdown passes all-time. The Vikings went backwards on their next drive, Julian Edelman returned the ensuing punt to midfield, and before we knew it the Patriots were up 24-10. I’d be more impressed if it didn’t happen against my favorite team.The Vikings tried to make it a game again on their next drive White Danielle Hunter Jersey , but one play that perfectly summarized all the offensive woes stopped any chance of a comeback.Play 5: Vikings ball, 4th & 11 at the New England 48. Fourth quarter, 6:15 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass short middle to L.Treadwell to NE 44 for 4 yards (S.Gilmore).It’s fourth down, and any inkling of a comeback is on the line. If you don’t convert this, you’re going to lose. So what do you do?Well, that isn’t exactly what we had in mind. Going to Laquon Treadwell acres short of the sticks on fourth down against Stephon Gilmore is unacceptable on just about every level. Throwing it up for grabs like a game of “500” would have been a better option here. It’s an inexcusable play call (and probably personnel decision) by the coaching staff and an inexcusable pass by Cousins. When that’s your play on a must-have down, you deserve to lose. It was a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong for the offense this season.Due to how the rest of the NFC playoff hopefuls have been performing, all is not lost after the New England loss. That story could change if the Vikings drop another game on Monday night in Seattle. Being the best bad team or the worst good team isn’t going to help meet the lofty goals this team had before the season. As always, we welcome you to vote in the poll to tell us which play you thought was the biggest and encourage you to suggest any we may have missed in the comments.