VIKINGS @ SEAHAWKS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW (12-2)!

CAN VIKINGS QB KIRK COUSINS WIN HIS FIRST MONDAY NIGHT GAME EVER AT SEATTLE?

VEGAS ODDS:  SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-2 1/2) vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS  ~  TOTAL: (48 1/2)

MINNY VIKINGS #8 OFFENSE (142 RUSH/236 PASS) vs.  SEATTLE SEAHAWKS #23 DEFENSE (102 RUN/269 PASS)

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS #4 OFFENSE (#137 RUSH/249 PASS)  vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS #14 DEFENSE (94 RUSH/244 PASS)

2018 FINAL SCORE (Also played in December on Monday Night Football): SEATTLE 21 – MINNESOTA 7

Well folks tonight we get to see two of the better teams who now are both just one game behind their Division leaders so this game for both is as big as it gets. This will be a huge opportunity for Vikings QB Kirk “Never Won a Big Game” Cousins to get that bad moniker off his back if he can beat a really good Seattle team. It looked a few weeks ago Kirk somewhat did that beating the Cowboys, but now we see the Cowboys aren’t really a winning team so that win has lost it’s luster. Cousins is a dreadful (0-7) Straight up on Monday Night Football. Last year in this same Stadium he couldn’t do anything as the Vikings ended up putting up a very meek 7 points. Strangely this season the Home Field 12th Man huge advantage hasn’t been there for the Seahawks as they are just (3-2) suffering their only 2 losses at their Home site. 

Right now the numbers and stats show us that this is basically a matchup of 2 of the top 3 QB’s as Vikings Kirk Cousins hasn’t thrown an Interception in 177 passes, and in his last 7 games he is averaging 288 passing yards per game and has 18 TD’s and just 1 Interception. He now leads the NFL with a Passer rating of (114.8). In the Vikings 3 losses, he has had a Passer rating Under 100. On the Road the Vikings have been a mixed bag, scoring 16,6, 28,, 42, 23 and 28. The schedule makers were very kind to Kirk Cousins, as he has gotten to face 5 of the bottom 8 Defenses so far thru 12 weeks and only 1 Top 10 Defense all season. He’s faced 7 Defenses in the bottom 11. 

The Seahawks at Home have also been a mixed bag as they have scored 21. 27, 30, 16 and 40. They did play very well vs. the Niners loaded Defense scoring 27 against them. 

Both these teams have some great receiving corps, but it’s the Run Games for both that have been gigantic successes so far. The Vikings rush it for 142 yards per game and the Seahawks for 137. It’s likely the team that can run ball best will end up with the “W” tonight. Both Offensive Lines have had some weak links though and both need to be at top of their games tonight as both Defenses, although neither is ranked that high, can really pressure a QB. The Vikings young Center Bradbury and LG Elflein have had some really bad games this year.

Last year the Vikings Defense held Seattle QB Russell Wilson to a season low 72 passing yards (career low as well) and his worst ever Passer Rating (37.9). He is “Houdini” avoiding Sacks and he makes his best big pass plays when he is scrambling. One of the most under rated WR’s is the Hawks T. Lockett, who has now caught a TD pass in 6 straight Home games. He hasn’t been fully healthy and was a non factor in low scoring win last week in Philly. The Hawks RB crew is very under rated and Carson and Penny can break tackles and make some big running plays. Tonight they need to establish the run game early as the Vikings Defense not so good when being forced to load the box with an extra Defender. The Vikes secondary is very suspect and has allowed a ton of big plays and pass interference calls. I expect Wilson to target Vikings CB Rhodes early and often as he’s been one of worst corners this season in the NFL. The Vikings secondary has been scorched the past 2 weeks for a combined 663 pass yards. It hasn’t cost them a win in either but tonight it likely will if Wilson goes off for 350+ pass yards.

For the Vikings, last year their stud RB D. Cook gained only 55 rush yards on 13 carries. He must carry it at least 22x tonight or they won’t win. He has been sensational this season as he is finally healthy. Much of Cousins success is because Cook has run the ball so well. Cousins isn’t ever going to be a winning QB if forced to pass it 38-40x in games. He will be facing a Seahawks Defense tonight that has greatly improved since Week 10, allowing only (16.5) points per game and allowing only 226 passing yards per game. I watch a ton of tape and for years the Seahawks had the best Defensive Player in the league in LB Bobby Wagner. But the past 3 weeks I saw a guy just swarming all over the field, in on what it seems was every play. That guy was Hawks LB KJ Wright, who had made double digit tackles and numerous pass break ups. Last year the Seahawks two young secondary guys S. Griffin and T. Flowers smothered the Vikings wide receivers. Seattle is (+24) in turnovers this year (3rd best). They’ve had some great Defensive games this year, but some huge clunkers too. The Vikings will once again be at a huge deficit as one of the best WR’s in the league, Adam Thielen, will again miss due to hamstring issues. He wasn’t missed as much vs. some of the weak Defenses of late the Vikings played, but tonight he likely could be the reason they don’t win. 

SOME STRANGE STATS:

The Vikings are very well coached under HC Mike Zimmer (one of best HC’s at Home of all time), but they are just (2-7) straight up after the “Bye” week the past 9 seasons. Seattle is just (1-5) ATS their last 6 games at Home. Vikings also just (2-10) ATS on Monday Night games. 

SEATTLE DOMINANCE IN PRIME TIME GAMES

The Seahawks are possibly the best team in decades in Prime Time TV games and total opposite of how poor Vikings QB Cousins has been. Seattle is (28-5-1) in Prime Time under HC Pete Carroll. The Seahawks are even more amazing going (18-2) in those Prime Time games at Home. 

ONE QUARTER TO WATCH IF YOU BET BY QUARTERS:

Seattle is best in league with 100 points scored in Quarter #2 and Vikings not too shabby right behind with 90 points scored. Clearly both QB’s get settled in by Quarter 2 and they have been able to pile up the points. Second Quarter OVER may be a solid play for this game tonight. The other huge scoring stat that stands out is the Vikings Defense has allowed only 34 points in the 4th quarters this season. Seattle has allowed 89 points in the 4th quarter.

FINAL KICK:

Both teams are solid winning teams, but both just (6-5) ATS this season. Seattle QB is (5-0) straight up vs. the Vikings in his career. The whole world tonight is backing the Vikings, moving the line of the key (-3) to now (-2 1/2). Very shocking with Thielen being OUT way before kick off time. The same question asked for years is being asked it tonight again: “Can Kirk Cousins win a big game”?  Yes he beat Dallas a few weeks ago, but had Dallas scored a TD on it’s final drive inside the Vikings 10 yard line and not imploded on Offense, the Vikings would’ve lost and Cousins resume would still be only 5 wins ever vs. teams with a winning record. He has been great of late, I’ll give him that. But I know this dude too well and when he’s on Prime time or playing a super team he almost always IMPLODES. Hard to bet on a guy using the theory “this is the game he finally does it”. I have been a winning sports better for decades and I can tell you this it’s best to wait until a guy who struggles or a team that struggles in certain things to finally break thru before betting him or that team. Seattle seems to have lost that once magical 12th Man Advantage and it really asks so much of QB Wilson to win games. This is one tough game to handicap. I’ve read other moron Sportswriters claim Thielen’s injury not that big of a deal as he only has 391 yards so far so not big loss/deal. I read that and want to scream as this guy is one of best WR’s in league and huge weapon for Cousins. His loss is gigantic and this will be by far Cousins hardest game without him. This game gets played 100x and it’s likely won by Seattle 54x and Minnesota 46x. The only reason slight edge is to Seattle is they are at Home. And let’s face it HC Carroll is just “lights out” at the top of his game on Prime Time games and Monday Night games at Century Link Field. These aren’t just very good records. They are off charts almost even hard to believe and nearly impossible to achieve records. I’d say sit back and enjoy the game without a bet. Should be close throughout. 

Enjoy the game tonight and have a great new week ahead.

God Bless,

Gary Greene