In last week’s matchup against the AFC North’s Baltimore Ravens, we saw some stark parallels between the Vikings and their opponent. Both teams were similar in terms of TD drives, red zone scoring, points off turnovers and 3rd down conversion rate.
In this week’s matchup against the Steelers, I see some contradictions that will make for just as interesting a contest. Some of the contradictions favor the Steelers, while some favor the Vikings.
– The Steelers preferred method of moving the ball is through the air, where QB Ben Roethlisberger leads an aerial attack that ranks 2nd in the NFL. Roethlisberger and Co. go against a Vikings pass defense this week that ranks just 24th in yards allowed and has given up 9 passing TDs on the season. The Vikings offense, meanwhile, prefers to move the ball on the ground and boasts the NFL’s best RB. Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing and is 2nd in rushing TDs.
– Pittsburgh’s defense, while tough against the run, has a few loopholes, one of which is 3rd down defense. The Steelers are allowing opponents to convert 41.8% of their 3rd down tries, while the Vikings offense is the NFL’s 3rd best at converting 3rd downs, with a 46.4% conversion rate.
– One area in which the Vikings have been exceptional this year is turnover differential. The Vikings are +8 on the year and tied for 4th in the NFL with 12 takeaways. The Steelers, meanwhile, are -4 in turnover ratio, including -3 in their 2 losses to Chicago and Cincinnati.
– Pittsburgh has a +49 point differential against opponents in the 1st half, tied for 3rd best in the league, while the Vikings are +25 (10th) in the first 2 quarters. On the other hand, the Vikings are tied for the 2nd best point differential in the 2nd half at +43, while the Steelers are just 26th in the NFL with a -24 second-half point differential.
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