Game Overview ::
By MIKE JOHNSON >>
- Both of these defenses have struggled in all phases this season and have some injury situations they are dealing with.
- Minnesota’s passing offense is loaded with talent and will be a problem for Carolina’s beat-up secondary.
- The Panthers offense appears to be a matchup-sensitive group that will look to take advantage of this juicy setup.
- Frank Reich and Kevin O’Connell have these teams playing with pace, as they both rank in the top 10 in the league in tempo through three weeks.
- This game has the makings of a sneaky shootout due to struggling running games and beatable defenses.
How MINNESOTA Will Try To Win ::
The Vikings are a team that is clearly reeling and quickly has their season slipping away from them. After a 13-4 regular season record in 2022, the Vikings are one bad game away from matching their loss total already. The Vikings 0-3 record is not the same as some other teams, as they have lost those games by three, six, and four points respectively. After great luck in close games last year, the Vikings have been unable to make enough winning plays in 2023. This has some people suggesting they trade Kirk Cousins and “tank” the season to get a shot at one of the heralded class of 2024 QB prospects. The ironic part of this is that Cousins has been terrific, as he currently ranks 1st in the NFL in passing yards, 7th in completion percentage, 1st in passing TDs, 5th in yards per attempt, and 3rd in QB rating. There are a lot of issues in Minnesota, but the quarterback hasn’t been high on that list. The Vikings defense has struggled in all facets and their running game has been able to get nothing going – ranking 31st in the league in rushing yards despite two of their three games coming against the Chargers and Buccaneers, which rank 29th and 30th in the league in PFF run defense grade.
Let us be clear. The Vikings are the best passing offense Carolina has seen this season. While the Seahawks have a good on-paper skill group, their offensive line is beat up and they’ve had to adjust what they do a bit early in the season. Still, Seattle managed 37 points against this Carolina team, and given the hot start for the Vikings offense along with their talented personnel, we can expect Minnesota to maintain their brisk pace of play and aggressively attack Carolina’s banged-up secondary from the outset of this game. Their running game should once again have some success as they did against the Chargers after running into brick walls from the Bucs and Eagles to start the year, but the passing game will be the focal point. The expected relative success for the running game is critical mainly in the fact that it will help Minnesota sustain drives and therefore increase its likelihood of scoring points.