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What: Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, November 3 at 1:00 pm ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
How (TV): FOX
Latest point spread: TBD
In this exciting Week 9 cross-conference matchup, the 6-2 Minnesota Vikings were hoping to face a Mahomes-less 5-3 Kansas City Chiefs, but word on the football street is that Patrick Mahomes might actually play in this one.
The Vikings have the NFL’s 3rd best rushing attack and its best overall running back, but the Chiefs have (arguably) the league’s best non-GOAT quarterback (when healthy), and both teams could certainly use another victory here on their way to the postseason.
Let’s take a quick look at how these two teams actually measure up against each other for their Week 9 showdown.
For more on NFL Week 9, check out our weekly video podcast on NFL Week 9 – Picks & Best Bets.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is finally starting to earn his big Minnesota money, completing over 72 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and 3 interceptions this season and leading his Vikings to near the top of the NFC North behind the impressive Green Bay Packers.
Helping Cousins on the offensive side of the ball is the star running back Dalvin Cook, who leads the league in rushing with 823 total yards and 9 touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, putting the fear of run into every opponent they face.
It also doesn’t hurt that Minnesota has a top-5 defense that holds its opponents to under 17 points per game and has 8 total interceptions and 23 sacks so far this season, looking every bit that part of a playoff-worthy franchise.
It’s no secret that the defensively light Kansas City Chiefs win football games by simply outscoring their opponents’ best efforts, but that strategy doesn’t work when your main point-getter, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is sitting on the sideline with a kneecap injury like he has been for the last game and a half.
At this point, Mahomes has “an outside chance” to play against the Vikings on Sunday, good news for a team that seemed to struggle offensively in his absence, losing by one score to the Green Bay Packers at home in Week 8, 31-24.
With a defense ranked in the bottom third of the league (once again), Kansas City needs to figure out how to stop the Vikings’ powerful run game while head coach Andy Reid has to game plan a winning offensive strategy, one that includes the now healthy deep threat receiver Tyreek Hill and the soft-handed tight end Travis Kelce, regardless of who ends up under center for his Chiefs on Sunday.
These two teams have met 12 total times (including 1 postseason game), with Kansas City winning 7 of those times and Minnesota winning the other 5 games.
This matchup hasn’t happened since October of the 2015 season when the Chiefs traveled all the way to Minneapolis just to get beat by the Vikings by a score of 16-10
If the Vikings come out winners in this one, they’ll be 7-2-0 and that will truly help them in the NFC North, where currently they sit in second place to the Green Bay Packers, who are going into Week 9 with a 7-1 record.
But if the Chiefs win this matchup, they’ll move to 6-3-0 and prove that, as important as Mahomes is to the team, they can win even without him at full power (and win the AFC West), proving head coach Andy Reid’s overall genius once again.
Who’s favored to win this Week 9 Vikings-Chiefs matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Vikings and the Chiefs next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Passing attack: The Minnesota Vikings have the 16th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 236.4 yards per game through the air after eight weeks.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is currently under center in Minnesota and ranked the 130th most productive passer in the league having completed 155-of-215 passes for 1,997 yards and 13 touchdowns with 3 interceptions and a completion percentage of 72.1.
The Vikings’ leading receiver after eight weeks is Stefon Diggs, who is currently ranked 4th in the league with 37 catches for 706 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Rushing attack: The Vikings’ rushing attack is ranked 3rd in the NFL after averaging 160.1 yards on the ground per game.
Dalvin Cook is the Vikings’ best runner and he is also currently the best in the NFL with 156 carries for 823 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
Minnesota has scored 211 total points this season, or 26.4 per game, which is the 7th best total in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring).
Injury notes: tight end David Morgan (knee) is listed as PUP-R while wide receivers Chad Beebe (ankle) and Josh Doctson (hamstring) have both been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: Kansas City has the 2nd best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 309.5 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Matt Moore (filling in for the injured Patrick Mahomes, see below) is the 41st most productive NFL passer after completing 34-of-56 passes for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions and a completion percentage of 60.7.
The Chiefs’ best receiver is currently tight end Travis Kelce, who has caught 42 passes for 604 yards with 2 touchdowns in eight weeks, ranked 13th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Kansas City has the 26th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 83.0 yards on the ground per game.
LeSean “Shady” McCoy is the Chiefs’ best runner and now he is the 23rd most productive in the NFL with 69 carries for 362 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Kansas City has scored 226 points in 2019, averaging 28.2 per game, which is currently the 2nd highest scoring average in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: offensive guards Andrew Wylie (ankle) and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle).
Injury notes: quarterback Patrick Mahomes (kneecap) is listed as doubtful, offensive tackle Eric Fisher (sports hernia) is listed as OUT, while quarterback Chad Henne (ankle), wide receivers Felton Davis (shoulder) and Marcus Kemp (knee) and tight end David Wells (undisclosed) have been placed on injured reserve.
Typically, it would be Kansas City with the offensive advantage here, but without Mahomes in the Chiefs’ lineup (and WITH Cook in the Vikings’ lineup), Minnesota has a slight offensive advantage on Sunday.
Pass coverage: The Vikings have the 8th best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 224.5 yards through the air per game.
Minnesota’s defense has 8 team interceptions and they have 23 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Vikings are the 7th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 89.4 yards per game.
Minnesota has allowed its opponents to score 132 total points, or 16.5 per game, which is the 3rd most in the NFL.
If you’re into tackling, you have a lot in common with Vikings’ middle linebacker Eric Kendricks, who right now is tied for the 8th most total tackles in the NFL with 68 (3 for a loss), also with 2 quarterback hits, half a sack, 10 passes defended and a forced fumble.
Defensive end Danielle Hunter is one of the best quarterback sackers in the league, right now with 8.0 total (T-4th most), as well as 13 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and 39 total tackles (10 for a loss).
One of the best players in the Minnesota secondary (and in the league) is defensive back Anthony Harris, who has 3 interceptions (T-3rd most), 9 passes defended, a fumble recovery and 37 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: no defensive Vikings are listed as questionable in Week 9 at this point.
Injury notes: N/A
Kansas City Chiefs Overall Defense
Pass coverage: The Chiefs’ defense is 11th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 232.0 yards per matchup.
Kansas City’s defense has 6 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 25 total sacks after eight weeks.
Run coverage: The Chiefs are 30th best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 145.0 yards per game.
Kansas City has allowed their opponents to score 181 total points this season, or 22.6 per matchup, which is 17th fewest in the NFL.
Chiefs’ outside linebacker Damien Wilson continues to be the team’s best tackler with 50 total tackles (2 for a loss), plus 1.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hits, and a forced fumble.
The Emmanuel Ogbah acquisition is paying off for the Chief – so far, the defensive end has 4.5 sacks, 0 quarterback hits, 3 passes defended, a forced fumble and 28 total tackles (5 for a loss).
The Chief with the most picks right now is cornerback Charvarius Ward, who has 2 of them with 7 passes defended, a forced fumble and 43 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: defensive ends Frank Clark (neck) and Alex Okafor (ankle), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) and cornerbacks Kendall Fuller (thumb) and Bashaud Breeland (shoulder).
Injury notes: defensive end Tim Ward (knee – ACL) and linebacker Darius Harris (undisclosed) are listed as NFI, while defensive end Breeland Speaks (knee – MCL), cornerbacks Michael Hunter (groin), defensive tackle Xavier Williams (ankle) and Keith Reaser (Achilles) have been placed on injured reserve.
The Vikings will have a major defensive advantage over the Chiefs for one main reason – Dalvin Cook will be running against the league’s 3rd worst rush defense, so expect a big day from him.
Minnesota’s veteran punter, Britton Colquitt, is in his tenth NFL season, his first with the Vikings, and this season he has punted 24 times for a net average of 42.7 yards per punt, which is the 12th best in the league.
Kansas City’s veteran punter, Dustin Colquitt, is in his fifteenth NFL season, all with the Chiefs, and this season he has punted 25 times for a net average of 42.0 yards per punt, which was the 17th best in the league.
Minnesota’s placekicker, Dan Bailey, is in his ninth NFL season, second with the Vikings.
Bailey has made 12-of-14 field goals this season, his longest a 50 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (23/24).
Kansas City’s placekicker, Harrison Butker, is in his third NFL season, all with the Chiefs.
Butker has made 15-of-18 field goals this season, his longest a 46 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (25/26).
Minnesota’s punt returner is listed as running back Ameer Abdullah, who is replacing the injured returner Chad Beebe, the wide receiver who has been placed on injured reserve due to an ankle injury.
Abdullah has yet to return a punt this season.
Kansas City’s punt returner, wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, is ranked 42nd in punt return average this year.
Thomas has returned 13 punts for 55 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per return.
Both of these teams are about equally matched when it comes to special teams, except the Vikings placekicker has booted a 50-yarder and the Chiefs placekicker has a 46-yarder as his longest, so if the game comes down to a big game-winning kick, Minnesota may have the special teams edge on Sunday.
The Minnesota Vikings will win this one if Kirk Cousins can continue his dominant play on the field and get the ball to his main targets Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, assuming Thielen is healthy enough to suit up on Sunday (see above).
Dalvin Cook must dominate from the backfield for the Vikes to come out on top here, something very possible given that the Chiefs’ rush defense is ranked 30th in the league right now and the fact that much of their roster is hurting right now.
Regardless of who is quarterbacking the Chiefs on Sunday, the Vikings’ defense must get after him if they expect to win, a task that defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen certainly seem capable of with 12.5 sacks between the two of them.
The Kansas City Chiefs will win if they can stop (or at least slow down) the Vikings’ run game, which is primarily Dalvin Cook, and that won’t be easy given that Kansas City has the third-worst run defense in the league.
It sure would help matters if Patrick Mahomes is healthy enough to play, and if he does manage to start, the Chiefs’ offensive line must keep him safe like they have been, allowing only 8 sacks on Mahomes this season, a feat made more difficult by his sore kneecap and limited mobility.
The Chiefs will beat the Vikings here because they just lost at home, and this Arrowhead Stadium crowd will do everything in its power (its power being an arena full of screaming voices that distract opponents) to make it impossible for Cousins and his offense to communicate, the 12th man chipping in to make this necessary Week 9 victory possible.
The Minnesota Vikings by two, pulling out a squeaker win against a Chiefs team being run by either a backup or gimpy quarterback who returned too soon, neither of which will be able to get the offensive job done.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Vikings 30, Chiefs 27, but if Mahomes doesn’t play, his prediction is Vikings 30, Chiefs 20
My prediction for the final score is Vikings 26, Chiefs 24.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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