Minnesota welcomes the New York Giants into US Bank Stadium on Monday night for a showdown between two possible NFC title contenders. The Vikings own an impressive 3-0 record with wins over the Packers, Panthers and Titans; while the Giants stumbled for the first time against the Redskins in Week 3 after defeating the Cowboys and Saints in the first two weeks.
The Vikings have put together 3 stellar defensive performances to remain unbeaten heading into this matchup. They have seen impressive play from all three levels of the defense, and have created 3 turnovers in each of their first 3 games. The offense has shown itself to be capable through the first three weeks, yet only scoring 3 total Touchdowns. Minnesota will need to see improvement from an Offensive Line that has been very disappointing early in the season with a few new offseason acquisitions. They will be without LT Matt Kalil on Monday night with his replacement being 2nd year Tackle TJ Clemmings. This unit could be in big trouble going against a Giants’ Defensive Line that is also filled with big-time offseason acquisitions who tossed around the Cowboys’ Offensive Line in Week 1.
The Giants have been clicking on both sides of the ball through 3 games, and are a little unlucky to not be sitting at 3-0 atop the NFC along with the Vikings. New York suffered a rash of crucial penalties against the Redskins, and saw the Redskins convert on a couple of trick plays that were instrumental in a two point Washington victory. After two weeks of solid play, Eli Manning stumbled against the Redskins by throwing 2 INTs despite gaining 350 yards through the air including a TD. The Giants can’t afford to make any of those same mistakes if they expect to come out victorious versus the Vikings.
Both teams come into this game with a multitude of injuries, especially in the trenches. Each squad will also be without their top Running Back, and the Giants will be missing their top two ball carriers. The Giants have even had to resort to using Wide Receivers as Defensive Backs in practice this week because of a banged up secondary. Neither team will look to be making excuses, but these aren’t the starting lineups they envisioned on opening day.
I expect to see a low scoring affair between two solid defenses that both match up well against their offensive counterparts. The Giants’ Defensive Line should be able to feast on a feeble Vikings’ Offensive Line, while the Vikings’ secondary should match up well with the Giants’ talented receiving corps. Both Quarterbacks have shown themselves to be prone to mistakes in the past, but I expect Manning to commit a turnover or two to shift the game in the Vikings’ favor.
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 20 – New York Giants 17