The Vikings were the better team in Week 1 dropping the Saints 29-19, but they also had Sam Bradford at quarterback and rookie Dalvin Cook as their starting running back. Both have since been lost for the season and those facts alone should let you know that game has no effect on Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game.
When you add that to the fact the Saints all of a sudden have a top-10 scoring defense and the best rushing tandem in the NFL with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, you get a pretty good idea this game may be a little bit different.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees needs 38 passing yards and two touchdowns to move into ninth place on both the postseason career passing yards and passing touchdowns leaderboards. He has averaged 279.5 yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns in 14 career games against Minnesota (inc. playoffs).
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen had 1,276 receiving yards this season, the ninth most in franchise history and the most since Sidney Rice had 1,312 receiving yards in 2009.
Atlanta steamrolled Seattle and Green Bay on the way to facing New England last season. As expected, everything has been more of a grind in the conference title defense.
The Saints might have let one get away in their own season finale, but they swept the Panthers, including an early-December win in the Superdome that bore similarities to the Panthers’ loss to the Falcons. The Saints also avenged a loss to the Falcons two weeks before in Atlanta with one at home in Week 16, which put the Falcons on the bubble and solidified their own division title hopes.
Newton, after being so much of his old self most of the season, suddenly became the least reliable link in the Panthers’ chain. That puts the Panthers’ stellar defense in the hot seat, needing to slow Ingram, Kamara, Thomas and triggerman Brees to give them a chance. That’s a tall order … too tall.
Henry secured a first down — and the come-from-behind victory — for the Titans with his run. Revis had an angle to at least get a hand on Henry before the running back reached the marker, but the corner pulled away at the last second.
Revis played in five games with the Chiefs this season, starting two and securing 10 tackles in the process. It was the first time since the 2010 season that Revis didn’t come away with an interception.