The Minnesota Vikings head to Oakland to take on the Raiders and their passionate fan base. The Raiders are infamous for a section near the end zone called the Black Hole. Its an area opposing teams are intended to fear, because of all the fans ramping up the noise.
The Vikings started their four game winning against an AFC West opponent and they look to extend that winning streak to five this Sunday, when they take on another AFC West opponent in the Raiders.
The Raiders have an extremely talented offense that is red hot coming into Week 10. Quarterback Derek Carr has thrown 11 touchdowns in the last three games, and has really looked the part of an franchise quarterback this season. He is ranked 5th with a 92.98 PFF QB rating. (PFF) Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are absolutely having a feeding frenzy putting up huge numbers over the last couple of weeks as well. Look for Carr to try to keep slinging the ball around to his play makers, and attempt to keep up his hot streak of touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Derek Carr is going up against Mike Zimmer and the Vikings this week, a team that’s second in the NFL in terms of points allowed per game. (ESPN) This defense is shutting teams down, and in Week 10 it will be a clash of two different worlds. Either the Vikings defense will simmer down the Raiders offense , or the Raiders offense will torch the Vikings defense.
There are some familiar faces in the Raiders organization in Jack Del Rio, and Bill Musgrave. Its interesting because in Minnesota Musgrave was known for his small play call sheet, and his conservative approach by many Viking fans. But it seems that the problem wasn’t Musgrave, and instead it was the Vikings quarterback situation. He must have had no faith in the quarterbacks he was working with, because with Derek Carr, he is spreading the ball around through the air early and often.
The Vikings defense needs to be bringing some exotic blitz packages to confuse this Raiders offensive line and really bring the pressure on Derek Carr. Linval Joseph is the anchor of this Vikings bunch right now, and he’s making his presence felt each and every week. Joseph was named the Defensive Player of the Week in Week 9 with his disruptive performance. If the Vikings want to win this game, they need to ramp up the pressure and win the turnover battle.
The Raiders cornerbacks are struggling mightily, and Teddy Bridgewater has to be able to move the ball through the air to exploit those match ups. The key for the Vikings offense is going to be controlling the time of possession and keeping the ball out of Derek Carr’s hands. If they are able to run the ball to control the clock, and finish drives with touchdowns, I believe they will be able to beat the Raiders on the road. Personally, I thought last week against the Rams the Vikings would find a way to lose, but that wasn’t the case.
I think Zimmer and company know the narrative of this team not doing well on trips to the west coast, and he’ll have the team ready to tackle that problem as usual. I believe the Vikings eventually slow down the Raiders, and improve their record to 7-2 with a 23-17 victory.
Image courtesy of StarTribune.