Three issues to observe for in London’s Vikings-Saints recreation on NFL Community

September 30, 2022

The NFL’s first of 5 2022 Worldwide Collection video games was slated to characteristic the one two passers to ever throw for 400 yards in a London recreation, however Jameis Winston now seems destined to overlook the competition with a again damage. He’s listed as uncertain.

Kirk Cousins, who set a London report with 458 passing yards as Washington’s quarterback in a 27-27 tie towards the Bengals again in 2016, will as an alternative face off towards New Orleans’ backup quarterback, Andy Dalton. 

Though there are new faces, together with two first-year head coaches, the Vikings and Saints have fostered a wholesome rivalry over latest years on the heels of a number of iconic matchups. They’ve twice squared off within the postseason since January 2018, with Minnesota rising victorious each occasions. The primary showdown gave the world the “Minneapolis Miracle.” The second, a 2019 wild-card recreation, ended on a walk-off landing move by Cousins. 

The Saints landed some punches, as effectively. The golf equipment’ most up-to-date assembly on Christmas in 2020 noticed operating again Alvin Kamara tie the NFL single-game report with six dashing touchdowns. 

As for the current day, the Vikings and Saints are two of 5 groups nonetheless undefeated in London (minimal two video games), per NFL Analysis. Each will probably be combating to maneuver to 3-0 all-time whereas nonetheless trying to find a definitive id to run with in 2022.

Listed below are three issues to observe for when the Vikings and Saints meet Sunday in London on NFL Community:

  1. Justin Jefferson on the lookout for return to type. Jefferson proclaimed in July that he’d be the most effective receiver within the NFL after 2022, and he regarded the half to open the season towards Inexperienced Bay. The third-year professional kicked off his marketing campaign for prime WR by torching the Packers’ zone protection with 9 receptions, 184 yards (20.44 yards per catch) and two scores. Towards the Eagles in Week 2, nevertheless, Jefferson regarded mortal, managing solely 48 yards on six receptions. He was shadowed routinely by Darius Slay and definitively took the L within the head-to-head. Slay defended six targets towards Jefferson, surrendered one catch, made two interceptions and allowed a 0.0 passer score, per Professional Soccer Focus. Jefferson had it even worse in Week 3 versus the Lions. He got here away with three catches for 14 yards, a profession low. The Vikings will prioritize getting their star receiver heavier involvement in London — particularly with Dalvin Prepare dinner doubtless taking part in banged up with assistance from a shoulder harness — however the matchup isn’t a certain factor to be a get-right spot. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore figures to line up throughout from Jefferson most frequently. He has a historical past of clamping down on opposing No. 1 wideouts and irritating them out of taking part in their model. In Jefferson’s lone recreation up to now towards the Saints in Week 16 of 2020, Lattimore allowed him 4 receptions for 55 yards when lined up as the first defender.
  2. How a lot better (or worse) will the Andy Dalton-led Saints look? Winston’s uncertain standing places the 34-year-old Dalton in line to begin. It’s been a slog for the Saints offense within the early going underneath the injured Winston, who has thrown for 858 yards with a 63.5 completion proportion, 4 TDs and 5 interceptions up to now on the season. Other than a 17-point fourth-quarter explosion towards the Falcons in Week 1, New Orleans has managed solely 34 factors throughout its different 11 quarters this season, which comes out to roughly three factors per fifteen-minute interval. Dalton’s efficiency in eight video games (six begins) with the Bears final yr doesn’t precisely encourage confidence that he can shake the Saints from their funk — he threw for 1,515 yards, eight TDs, 9 INTs and had a 63.1 completion proportion. However the Pink Rifle will nonetheless have a greater supporting solid to present it a go together with than he did in Chicago, even with out Michael Thomas (foot) within the lineup. Chris Olave has been a goal monster as a rookie (26 in his final two video games), Jarvis Landry (ankle; questionable) has confirmed able to nonetheless making a distinction within the slot and Kamara (questionable) seems to be over his rib damage. The elements are right here for Dalton to show himself worthy of a number of weeks of labor to permit Winston to totally heal.
  3. Each groups must put their stamp on the primary quarter of the season. The Vikings have had an up-and-down begin. After wanting like world-beaters towards the Packers, Minnesota was listless in all phases in a loss to the Eagles earlier than requiring a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback towards Detroit to convey their report to 2-1. That almost all latest win was as a lot concerning the Lions snatching defeat from the jaws of victory because it was the Vikings coming by means of within the clutch. Cousins, who famously struggles in exclusive-window video games the place no different groups are taking part in (11-22-1 report), has but to obtain the enhance many anticipated from coach Kevin O’Connell’s extra wide-open offense. He at present has an 83.9 passer score, far off the tempo of his earlier low as a full-time starter (93.9 with Washington in 2017). Nonetheless, if he recaptures even a fraction of his 458-yard London magic and earns a victory, Minnesota would have to be ok with a three-win September. The Saints have in the meantime had a principally down begin to the yr. The offense has raised eyebrows for its woebegone performances, however the protection hasn’t proven up both. The unit sits nineteenth in factors allowed after rating top-five in every of the final two seasons. It could even be weak to Prepare dinner or Alexander Mattison for the primary time in years — the run protection has given up the seventh-most dashing yards within the league by means of Week 3 after rating prime 4 or higher for 4 straight years. If Cameron Jordan and Co. surrender floor once more right here whereas the offense fails to realize it, a playoff run turns into a little bit onerous to think about within the Massive Straightforward.
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