After narrowly escaping a battle between undefeated teams last week, the 4-0 Minnesota Vikings will go up against one of the NFL’s 0-4 squads that have faceplanted to start the season — the New York Giants.

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This game, to put it lightly, projects to fall much more heavily in the Vikings’ favor than last week’s tight win.

When asked earlier this week what the team’s plan at quarterback was Sunday, Giants coach Jay Gruden said, “We don’t have one right now.” By Friday, he had an answer, giving the nod to longtime backup Colt McCoy over established starter Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins.

The Vikings may be favored by over two touchdowns, but weirder things have happened. Here’s a look at the weather, key matchups and the betting line for Sunday’s game.

This is the same key we opened with last week since, honestly, not much changed. The Vikings didn’t have a great outing offensively in Buffalo. A big part of that was a result of receivers struggling to break open against a talented Bills secondary.

Fortunately for New England, there won’t be quite as big a challenge Sunday. The Giants have fallen to an 0-4 start for a reason and lack the talent (and depth) on the backend that Buffalo had. If Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett can get open, they should be good.

The Vikings’ struggles in the passing game and rushing attack in Buffalo last week was largely related to a lackluster performance by the offensive line. The unit is still working with two fill-ins, but will have another week of cohesiveness (and health for tackles Marcus Cannon and Marshall Newhouse).

The Vikings have yet to really force their will in the run game this year. But they have kept Brady well-protected at times. If they can keep that up, they should be in the clear.


– Can the Vikings force Colt McCoy into mistakes

The Giants have scuffled so far in 2019 thanks to some rough play out of the quarterback position. With Case Keenum as the starter, Washington has been in the middle of the pack in yards per game, but ranks 25th in passer rating this year. The Giants have also tied for the most interceptions in the NFL with seven.

The Vikings? They have 10 picks on defense, more than double any other team in the NFL.

That may change Sunday with longtime backup Colt McCoy getting the start. McCoy is a veteran who comes in with four years of experience in Washington. He’s well-established — much more than the mistake-prone Josh Allen from a week ago.

So far, the Vikings have preyed on mistakes by young QBs. Will they eat up the veteran?

– The Vikings should swallow the run game

As bad as the running game has been in New England, it’s been worse in Washington. The Giants rank 29th in the NFL in yards per carry (2.9 a pop) and yards per game (49.8 a game).

This projects as a great matchup for the Vikings, who have the fifth-best run defense in the NFL, holding opponents to 3.5 yards a pop.

Breakdown: Despite Bill Belichick’s reputation for special teams, the Vikings are actually underdogs in the special teams department, via DVOA.

That’s before you even get to the fact that they’ll be breaking in a new kicker this week with Mike Nugent, who hasn’t kicked since the 2018 season.



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