Most Important Thing For Saints Win Over Vikings?
What is the one thing that the New Orleans Saints must absolutely do, if they expect to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday's NFC Divisional contest?
This one is easy.
They unquestionably have to win the turnover battle.
Understand; the Vikings who are 13-3 on the season, lost the turnover battle in each of their three losses.
In other words, they don't lose, unless they lose the turnover battle.
In a 26-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Vikings finished -1 in turnover margin.
In a 14-7 setback to the Detroit Lions, the Vikings finished -3 in turnover margin.
Finally, in a 31-24 defeat to the Carolina Panthers, the Vikings finished -2 in turnover margin.
So, it's really very simple, when Minnesota has won the turnover battle, or at least finished even, they're undefeated.
The Vikings are playing really well, winning 11 of their last 12 games, while holding the opposition to a combined 17 points over their final three games of the regular season.
For New Orleans to win, they're going to have to protect the football on their end, while putting pressure on Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum, forcing him to make some bad throws, while also hoping for a fumble or two to go their way.
The Vikings defeated the Saints, 29-19, in the season opener, in a turnover-free affair.
Yes, that was a long time ago, and yes, the Saints got a lot better following that game, but how much of that was the Vikings just being a bad match-up for the Saints and making them look bad?
Also, since that game, the Saints have lost starters Kenny Vaccaro, A.J. Klein, Alex Okafor, Coby Fleener, Andrus Peat, and Alex Anzalone to injury.
The Saints have placed an incredible 20 players on injured reserve this season, and while they deserve a ton of credit for overcoming hat, expecting them to overcome a 10-point loss that they suffered earlier in the year to this Minnesota team, with all of the injuries, is probably expecting too much.
Unless, of course, they win the turnover battle.
Remember the 2009 NFC Championship Game? You know; that 31-28 overtime win over the Vikings that sent the Saints to the Super Bowl?
Well, the Vikings outgained the Saints, in terms of total yards, 475-257, while finishing with a 31-15 edge in first downs, yet lost.
How in the world do you finish with a 2-1 edge in first downs, as well as a 218-yard advantage in total yardage, yet lose?
The Saints forced 5 turnovers in the game, while committing only one.
They might not have to finish +4 in the turnover battle to beat the Vikings on Sunday, but they'll have to finish with at least a +2 margin.
If the Saints don't force turnovers on Sunday, reasoning says their season will likely come to an end.
If the Saints do force turnovers on Sunday, then their Super Bowl run just might continue.