NFL Game of the Week: Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills
The 7-1 Minnesota Vikings travel to Buffalo this week for a matchup with the 6-2 Bills at Highmark Stadium. Both teams are coming off underwhelming performances last week and seek to right the ship this week.
The Vikings are coming off a come from behind victory against the Washington Commanders last week. Kicker Greg Joseph kicked the game winning field goal with 16 seconds left on the clock to secure his team’s seventh win of the season by a score of 20-17.
The Vikings were expected to win this game with ease, but after they scored on the first drive of the game, the Commanders scored 17 unanswered points and led 17-7 in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings’ offense then came alive, scoring 13 unanswered points of their own to win the game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins finished the game with 22 completions on 40 attempts for 265 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Vikings’ pass catchers were also a large part of the offense’s success last week. Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson caught seven of his 13 targets for 115 yards and a touchdown, and trade deadline acquisition, tight end T.J. Hockenson caught all nine of his targets for 70 yards.
The Bills are coming off a shocking loss last week, as they lost 20-17 to the New York Jets.
The Bills heavily rely on their passing attack, and quarterback Josh Allen’s struggles were a big reason they couldn’t pull out the victory. Allen completed 18-of-34 attempts for 205 yards and two interceptions. Allen also added 86 yards and two touchdowns on nine rushes.
Bills’ star wide receiver Stefon Diggs was also kept quiet in this one, catching only five of his 10 targets for 93 yards, 42 of which coming on the first play of the game.
Not only did the Bills lose to a team they should have beat, but they came out of the loss with some major concern as well. During their last drive, Allen suffered an elbow injury when Jets’ defender Bryce Huff hit his arm as he was throwing the ball.
Allen stayed in for the Bills’ last two plays of the game afterwards, but the injury has him listed as day to day, putting his status for Sunday’s matchup up in the air.
For the Vikings to come out of this matchup victorious, they will have to play much better on offense. In order to beat a team as explosive as the Bills, the Vikings offense must get off to a quick start and stay red hot. They will also need to establish more of a run game this week as well, as they only managed to rush for 56 yards last week.
It’s important that Cousins avoids throwing interceptions. Bills’ safety Jordan Poyer is tied for second in the league in interceptions with four, and he’ll be looking for more to give Allen and the offense more opportunities to score.
If the Bills want to come out of this matchup with a win, Allen will have to suit up and play. Allen is the Bills’ entire offense.
In addition to his big numbers through the air, Allen is also the team’s leading rusher, and the offense would just sustain too big of a hit to beat the Vikings without him.
If Allen is healthy enough to play, this should be a great back and forth game.
The Bills look to stay at the top of their division with a win, and the Vikings hope to add onto their division lead as they chase the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC’s number one seed.
Allen always plays with a big chip on his shoulder after losses, and this should propel the Bills to victory.
Jonathan Hartley is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.