Latest point spread: Redskins +14.5, Vikings -14.5
This Thursday Night Football matchup features two NFC teams whose quarterbacks used to play for the other franchise so expect there to be plenty of grudge motivation as Case Keenum and his Washington Redskins take on Kirk Cousins and his Minnesota Vikings.
The Redskins have only one a single game (and that was against the pitiful Miami Dolphins), so they have everything to prove in this road battle, whereas the Vikings have already won five times and are looking at this matchup as a (hopefully) easy conference win.
Washington’s interim head coach Bill Callahan will do his best to match wits with Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer and fight for a win on Sunday, so here we take a closer look at how each of these two teams is set up for Week 8 of the NFL’s 100th season.
Redskins are coming off a slip-and-slide loss to the San Francisco 49ers by three field goals, 0-9, where quarterback Case Keenum completed just 9-of-12 for 77 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions in the pouring rain.
Case Keenum swears it’s not a big deal to return to Minnesota where he once played and took the team to the playoffs (in a year when Minneapolis hosted the Super Bowl), a season that included the “Minneapolis Miracle” but also a 7-38 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game.
Running back Adrian Peterson is also returning to his old team where he spent the first ten seasons of his NFL career and led the league in many offensive categories, so look for him to have a big game in front of his former hometown crowd.
For more on the Redskins go check out “Washington Redskins 2019-2020 NFL Postseason“.
Kirk Cousins will also be facing his former team, the Washington Redskins, who had back-to-back franchise tagged him, refusing to commit to him long term until his eventual departure to Minnesota, but he doesn’t seem to have anything but good feelings towards the team that initially drafted him.
Running back Dalvin Cook is on fire lately, coming off a 2-touchdown game against the Lions in Week 7 where he had 25 carries for 142 yards, so expect him to continue his roll and get big numbers against this struggling Redskins rushing defense.
With wide receiver Adam Thielen listed as doubtful (see below), though, playmaker Stefon Diggs will have to have a huge game and hook up with his latest quarterback Cousins for whatever new miracles they can muster together.
These two NFC rivals have met 26 total times (including 5 postseason games), with Minnesota winning 13 of those times and Washington winning the other 13 games.
The last time these two teams met was during 2017 in November, when the Vikings beat the Redskins in Washington (well, in Maryland, technically) by a score of 38-30.
But if the Vikings come out winners in this one, they’ll be 6-2-0 and stay close to the current NFC North champion Green Bay Packers, who are going into the Week 8 schedule with a 6-1 record to play a Mahomes-less Kansas City Chiefs.
Who’s favored to win this Week 8 Redskins-Vikings 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 Redskins and the Vikings next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Passing attack: The Washington Redskins have the 31st ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 182.9 yards per game through the air after seven weeks.
Quarterback Case Keenum is currently ranked the 25th most productive passer in the league having completed 114-of-172 passes for 1,213 yards and 9 touchdowns with 4 interceptions and a completion percentage of 66.3.
The Redskins’ leading receiver after seven weeks is Terry McLaurin, who is currently 29th in the league with 24 catches for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Rushing attack: The Redskins’ rushing attack is ranked 24th in the NFL after averaging 84.7 yards on the ground per game.
Adrian Peterson is the Redskins’ best runner and he is currently the 26th best in the NFL with 83 carries for 307 yards and 1 rushing touchdown, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
Washington has scored 90 total points this season, or 12.9 per game, which is the 30th best total in the NFL (or second lowest, since there’s currently a tie for 31st).
Listed as questionable for Week 8: running backs Adrian Peterson (ankle) and Chris Thompson (toe), wide receiver Steven Sims (toe), tight end Vernon Davis (concussion), offensive guard Wes Martin (chest).
Injury notes: offensive tackle Trent Williams is listed as OUT, running back Bryce Love is listed as NFI, quarterback Alex Smith (lower leg) is still listed as PUP-R, while offensive tackle Trent Williams (head) is listed as OUT, while tight end Matt Flanagan (undisclosed), tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), tight end Jerome Cunningham (knee), running back Derrius Guice (knee – Meniscus), running back Shaun Wilson (ankle) and quarterback Josh Woodrum (pectoral) have all been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: Minnesota has the 17th best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 231.0 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is now the 14th most productive NFL passer after completing 132-of-189 passes for 1,711 yards and 13 touchdowns with 3 interceptions and a completion percentage of 69.8.
The Vikings’ best receiver is currently Stefon Diggs, who has caught 30 passes for 562 yards with 4 touchdowns in seven weeks, ranked 8th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Minnesota has the 4th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 160.0 yards on the ground per game.
Dalvin Cook is the Vikings’ best runner) and now he is the league’s leading running back with 133 carries for 725 yards and 8 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Minnesota has scored 63 points in 2019, averaging 12.6 per game, which is the 31st highest (or second lowest) scoring average in the NFL right now.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: 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 (leg) have both been placed on injured reserve.
The Minnesota Vikings have the full advantage over the Washington Redskins – through the air and over the ground they are just a whole lot better.
Pass coverage: The Redskins have the 12th best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 236.0 yards through the air per game.
Washington’s defense has 8 team picks and they have 16 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Redskins are the 27th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 134.4 yards per game.
Washington has allowed its opponents to score 176 total points, or 25.1 per game, which is T-24th lowest in the NFL.
The Redskins have a strong safety that can tackle with the best of them, Landon Collins is tied for 8th most NFL total tackles right now with 59 (4 for a loss), plus a sack and a forced fumble.
Watch for Washington defensive end Jonathan Allen, who has 3.0 sacks and 21 total tackles (3 for a loss), plus a pass defended and 4 quarterback hits.
Roaming the Redskins’ secondary is cornerback Quinton Dunbar, a talented defender with 3 interceptions (tied for 2nd most), plus he has 8 passes defended and 22 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: linebackers Josh Harvey-Clemons and Ryan Kerrigan, cornerback Josh Norman, safety Montae Nicholson (ankle).
Injury notes: safety Deshazor Everett (ankle) is listed as doubtful, cornerback Danny Johnson (knee) is listed as PUP-R, while linebacker Jordan Brailford (undisclosed), defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (ankle), linebacker Reuben Foster (knee – ACL), linebacker Myles Humphrey (knee), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle) and cornerback Greg Stroman (undisclosed) have all been placed on injured reserve.
Pass coverage: The Vikings’ defense is 15th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 237.9 yards per matchup.
Minnesota’s defense has 7 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 19 total sacks after seven weeks.
Run coverage: The Vikings are T-7th best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 90.0 yards per game.
Minnesota has allowed their opponents to score 123 total points this season, or 17.6 per matchup, which is 6th fewest in the NFL.
Minnesota’s free safety Harrison Smith is the team’s best tackler right now, with 41 total tackles, plus the guy has an interception, 7 passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The biggest sacker on the Vikings at this point in the season is defensive end Everson Griffen (listed as questionable for Week 8, see below), who has 4 of them, as well as an interception, a pass defended and 17 total tackles.
Defensive back Anthony Harris is a Viking worth watching, already with 2 interceptions and 7 passes defended, plus a fumble recovery and 35 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: defensive ends Everson Griffen (quadriceps) and Hercules Mata’afa (neck) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (knee).
Injury notes: linebacker Ben Gedeon (concussion) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (hip) are listed as questionable, while cornerback Holton Hill (suspension) is listed as OUT with no new players placed on injured reserve.
The Redskins actually have a slightly better pass defense than the Vikings, but Minnesota is so much better against the run than Washington that they will have the defensive advantage on Sunday.
Washington’s punter, Tress Way, is in his sixth NFL season, all with the Redskins, and he has punted 37 times so far this season for a net average of 44.5 yards per punt, which is the 4th best in the league.
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.
Washington’s placekicker, Dustin Hopkins, is in his sixth NFL season, fifth with the Redskins.
Hopkins has made 5-of-8 field goals this year, his longest a 48-yarder, and has missed zero extra point attempts (9/9).
Minnesota’s placekicker, Dan Bailey, is in his ninth NFL season, second with the Vikings.
Bailey has made 8-of-10 field goals this season, his longest a 50 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (22/23).
Washington’s punt returner is slot receiver Trey Quinn, who is currently ranked 27th in average punt return yardage.
Quinn has returned 9 punts for 64 yards this season, averaging 7.1 yards per return, his longest for 15 yards.
Minnesota’s punt returner, defensive back Marcus Sherels, is replacing the injured returner, Chad Beebe, the wide receiver who has been placed on injured reserve due to an ankle injury.
Sherels ranked T-34th in return average, has returned 6 punts for 33 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per return, his longest for 15 yards.
The Redskins’ placekicker has already missed three field goals this season and since he will most likely be called upon to do that on Sunday the Vikings’ will have a slight special team advantage.
Why Will the Redskins Win this Game?
The Washington Redskins will win this game only if Case Keenum taps back into his Minnesota miracle magic and puts up huge numbers, but he’s got to be careful with the ball against the Vikings secondary, who have 7 total picks already.
The Skins could steal a win if the old Adrian Peterson shows up and has a 100+ yards, 2 touchdown game like he constantly did back in the old days, possible against a Minnesota rush defense that’s middle of the road.
A big help would be if the banged-up Redskins roster can even suit up on Sunday, with a few of their star playmakers (see above) listed as questionable, but regardless, Callahan, Keenum and company have a big job ahead of them against this superior Vikings team in front of a boisterous midwestern crowd.
Why Will the Vikings Win this Game?
The Minnesota Vikings should easily win this game because they are the better team on both sides of the ball, no doubt about it, just take a look at the numbers.
Their superior run game should get them marching up and down the field in the first half and their better passing attack will use that to play off.
As nice as he is, Cousins can’t wait to beat the snot out of his old team and prove to them that they should have paid him what he deserved when they could have, so this game has the makings of a potential thumping.
The Minnesota Vikings by three touchdowns, because the Redskins are a drowning team already so the Vikes should be able to easy-stroke past them for a big win.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Vikings 30, Redskins 10.
My prediction for the final score is Vikings 30, Redskins 9.
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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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