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Can Minnesota Avoid A Trap-Game Against Jacksonville?

The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost the last 10 games in a row after a week 1 win against the Indianapolis Colts. The matchup between the Vikings and Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium features the Vikings as a 10-point favorite.

Are the Vikings feeling too comfortable heading into week 13? Let’s hope not because Jacksonville has managed to keep games close. Against Green Bay, Tennessee and Cleveland the games were decided by 4 points or less, so I expect the same could happen against the Vikings.

I realize the banged up Jaguars’ defense is giving up a league worst 8.3 yards per pass attempt and Kirk Cousins is one of the best at getting the ball down field (8.4 per attempt), but I highly doubt the Vikings will abandon Dalvin Cook and the running game. Also, keep in mind that the struggling Vikings’ special teams unit might once again find a way to keep the game in jeopardy.

If turnovers and poor special teams play don’t factor into the final score, than yes, on paper the Vikings should win this game. If the Jaguars are successful in slowing down Cook and the run-first philosophy, than Cousins might need to prove he can win another game on his own merit.

Cousins has thrown multiple scores in all but three games this season despite finishing six games with fewer than 30 pass attempts. On the other side of the coin, Jacksonville has given up 23 touchdown passes (tied for second most) on the year.  The table appears to be set for Cousin to toss a couple more touchdowns on Sunday.

The Vikings have enough firepower in the passing game to win this one through the air if it turns into a shoot out. Mike Zimmer is comfortable in a low scoring ball-control type of game and I think that is what it will be. Vikings win 21-17.

Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter, anticipates a lots of points in his game forecast below.

The Jaguars will win if: Quarterback Mike Glennon has a big day throwing downfield. Minnesota does allow a lot of points and they will focus on stopping Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson. Glennon will have to take some chances. If so, the Jaguars could snap their 10-game losing streak.

The Vikings will win if: Running back Dalvin Cook runs effectively. Cook has been arguably the best back in the NFL this season. He is banged up with a bad ankle. If he’s healthy, he’s very difficult to contain. With rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson and the return of veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen against a young and beaten-up Jaguars secondary, Minnesota should be able to score plenty.

As Ballou sees it: Minnesota has played much better football lately, winning four of their last five games. They must continue their winning to grab a Wild Card in the NFC. The Jaguars once again will play hard and it will be a 60-minute game, but the Vikings will give Jacksonville its 11th consecutive loss.

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