2020 NFL Playoffs Preview: Vikings vs. 49ers

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The sixth-seed Minnesota Vikings and the top-seed San Francisco 49ers will kick off the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs this weekend. The teams will do battle at 4:35 pm EST on NBC at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The Vikings come into this meeting following a huge win over the New Orleans Saints. Minnesota needed overtime to win 26-20 over New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempts a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jimmy Garoppolo attempts a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Getty Images)

Despite the playoff win, they are 5-4 on the road this season.

The 49ers have only lost twice at home all season. They bring a 6-2 home mark into this contest.

The 13-3 Niners lost at home in a 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football on Nov. 11th. Then, on Dec. 15th, the team lost again, this time in controversial fashion to the Atlanta Falcons, as they lost 29-22 after Julio Jones had a play overturned to a touchdown.

The Falcons also recovered a late fumble and returned it for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.

According to SportsBettingDime, the 49ers are the outright favorites with odds at -7 to win the game.

This will be a battle of Top 10 offenses. Minnesota has the eighth-best offense at 25.4 points per game.

San Francisco has the second-best offense at 29.9 points per game.

Also, their defense are also in the top 10. The Vikings have the fifth-best defense at 18.9 points per contest.

“They don’t give you anything easy,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “They make you work for everything down the field. There’s really no easy completions, no easy 8-yard run that you’re going to get. We’re going to have to earn everything.”

The 49ers are also the eighth-best defense at 19.4.

The Vikings have a 21-29 all-time playoff record. On the other hand, the 49ers are 31-21 all-time in the playoffs.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has gone 307-of-444 for 3,603 yards. He threw 26 touchdowns and six interceptions.

“I think he’s always just steadily climbed,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Cousins, who was on the Washington Redskins staff that coached the Vikings signal-caller early on in his career. “Every time he’s gotten more opportunities, he’s only gotten better. I know when he’s had bad games, he’s always learned from them, come back and respond. I think he’s been given the right opportunity. Whenever he’s been given the right opportunity, I think he’s shown people he’s one of the better quarterbacks in this league.”

Dalvin Cook leads the backs with 250 carries for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns. Stefon Diggs leads the receivers with 63 receptions for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns.

49ers’ Garoppolo went 329 of 476 for 3,978 yards. He also threw 27 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.

Raheem Mostert led the backs with 137 carries for 772 yards and eight touchdowns. George Kittle led the receivers with 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and touchdowns.

“When a lot of people get in the playoffs, they think they’ve got to do more,” Emmanuel Sanders said of the 49ers lack of playoff experience. “At the end of the day, you’re in the playoffs, you’ve already been winning games. Just remain who you are.”

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