Fight For Old DC Previews The Vikings

WHAT Skins (4-4) vs Vikings (6-2)
WHERE FedEx Field, Hyattsville, MD
WHEN Sunday Nov 12th, 1pm ET
THE LINE Skins +1.5 (O/U: 42.5)
TV FOX
WEATHER H: 50, L: 34, Mostly Cloudy

Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Rankings

Skins Defense Vikings Offense
DVOA 12 11
Run 13 17
Pass 11 8

(Football Outsiders)

Run Defense vs The Vikings

Versus the Bears’ 5 man defensive line, which is what we play against heavy formations, PFF had not very nice things to say about the Vike’s offensive line:

[The Vikings] were equally bad in the run game, with all five starters grading below 44.2 in run blocking. If you take away McKinnon’s big touchdown run, the Vikings running backs were averaging a measly 0.82 yards before contact.

When Minnesota went against Pittsburgh’s 5 man line Steelers DL Cameron Heyward, son of Tecmo Bowl legend Ironhead Heyward, finished with a top performance, PFF:

Heyward’s biggest impact came in the run game where he had five defensive stops for a whopping 26.3 percent run stop percentage.

After those struggles Minnesota’s run game bounced back against the Ravens’ 5 man line, but PFF attributed part of that uptick to an underwhelming performance from Baltimore’s second year linebacker.

Minnesota also exploited the Ravens’ rookie 5 technique with their Right Tackle and Tight End:

Our 5 tech is McGee who is no rookie and is coming off of his best game.

Minnesota’s only consistent run blocker has been tight end Kyle Rudolph.  He gets to face Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan, for us that means a worst case scenario of an occasional stalemate; Smith and Kerrigan do not get beaten by tight ends.

So.  Throw in our 5 man front, sprinkle in all the slants and stunts, add Zach Brown on top and things are looking prettaay pretty good.

Key Matchup:

MCGEE AND MCCLAIN vs OFFENSIVE TACKLES

Their tackles graded out highly against Baltimore but struggled against all the other 5 man lines.  It seems the Ravens game was more mirage than trend.

Pass Defense vs The Vikings

PFF on Case Keenum after the Lions’ game:

Keenum finished 16-of-30 for 219 yards and was victimzed by two drops and sacked twice. Keenum finished 4-of-11 for 63 yards while under pressure. He shined after a play fake however, completing 6-of-7 for 41 yards using play action. In the end, turnovers by the Vikings offense was too much to overcome.

His best performances have come against the Browns and Bucs who rank 28th and 31st in pass defense DVOA.  Case Keenum is good when the other team is bad.

He can pick his poison between Kendall Fuller, Bree/Dunbar and Josh Norman or he can do what most teams have done: target our flat zone coverage and DJ in the slot.  They have play action packages to open up the flats:

If they can get our cornerbacks crashing down it might open up Corner routes over top.  This isn’t going to kill us between the 20s, but in the red zone they could dial up a misdirection play to get someone open for six.

Key Matchups

INSIDE BACKERS AND OUTSIDE CORNERS vs FLAT ZONE COVERAGE

Responsibility for flats switch between our inside backers and outside corners (and occasionally the outside backers.)  FWIW Breeland was replaced by Dunbar late against Seattle after failing to pass off his route and close down on the flats, so maybe this could be a trouble area for him in the 2 minute drill.  Otherwise, in the red zone, it’s Brown and Compton not letting their eyes be deceived by play action.

STEFON DIGGS vs WHOEVER

So sayeth the PFF scores and anyone whose watched a post-game highlight show.  Obvious Key Matchup is obvious.

Boo if:

  • Compton reverts back to 2016 Compton
  • Diggs finds himself one on one with DJ
  • Them Tackles too skrong for the McLineman

CHEER IF:

  • Smith and Kerrigan laugh at Rudolph’s blocking
  • Keenum tries to test Norman
  • LG #75 gives our backers lanes to run through.  He has shown issues switching off of double team blocks at the line.

Three Predictions

  • Minnesota averages under 4.0 ypc
  • Keenum throws an INT
  • Vikings get one touchdown.

(As of this writing Zach Brown is listed as ‘Did Not Practice.’  I will continue to ignore that until I hear it’s something serious.  As of now no one knows what is going on.)

This feels like a game where their offense gets one drive of scripted plays over on us and then proceed to do nothing.  We know our front can handle lines that struggle (Oakland and Seattle) and can be gashed by stronger ones (Philly and Dallas.)  DVOA has Minnesota ranked right in the middle so this will be a test to see if our battered front can hang with the mean.

Skins 27-13.

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