NFC Divisional Playoff Preview and Prediction: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Who takes it?
Source: 49ers.com

When: Saturday, Jan. 11, 4:35 p.m. ET

Where: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California

Channel: NBC

Line: 49ers by 7

The Vikings will be hoping for a little back to the future circa 1987. That is when a barely above .500 Vikings squad upset a heavily favored 49ers team behind the heroics of Vikings wide receiver Anthony Carter. Can it happen again?

The Trenches

These teams possess two of the best defensive lines in the NFL and that could make for a long day for both quarterbacks. The Niners have one advantage over the Vikings and that is the better offensive line. If Dalvin Cook has another big game that would make life much easier for Kirk Cousins because his best bet for success is with the play-action pass. Cook could set that up for him.

QB Play

Jimmy G. has never played in the playoffs and Kirk Cousins has but that experience was limited and on the losing end when all was said and done. I would give a very slight advantage to Cousins here just on the experience factor. Plus with Diggs and Thielen he has the better receivers, that’s if Thielen can be close to 100 percent come game time.

The 49ers Defense

San Francisco’s defense in the team’s first seven games allowed an average of just 11.0 points per game, allowing 20 or more only once. They yielded 224.4 yards and 12.4 first downs per game and forced 2.3 turnovers per game. In the final nine games of the year, San Francisco allowed an average of 25.9 points per game, allowing 20 or more in eight of those nine contests. They also allowed 326.4 yards and 22.0 first downs per game, while forcing just 1.6 turnovers per game. Now, I know injuries had a large role in this but those players like Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford that are returning will most likely not be playing at their best.

Pick

As I break this one down, the Niners defense worries me, as does Jimmy G. in his first playoff start. Overall I feel the 49ers are a more complete team, especially on the offensive line, but the injuries are a concern. On the Vikings side, the Adam Theilen injury worries me also. In the end, I will side with the 49ers in a close one.

49ers 27  Vikings 24

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