Divisional Round: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers: Preview, Predictions, and Pick

Game: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Date & Time: Saturday January 11th, 2020, 4:35 (EST)

Location: Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco, CA

The Line: San Francisco 49ers -7, O/U 44

TV Channel: NBC

After an Overtime victory in the Wild Card Round, the Vikings travel to San Francisco looking to pull another playoff upset.

NFL Regular Season Record: 60-50-3

NFL Playoff Record: 3-1

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Preview

For a while, it seemed like Kirk Cousins and the Vikings would never win a big game. He had been 0-9 on MNF, and his record against teams with a .500 record or better had left much to be desired. After walking into the Superdome last week and beating Drew Brees and the Saints in the Wild Card Round, nobody is asking those questions anymore.

The Vikings defeated the Saints 26-20 in OT. They received the opening kickoff and never gave Drew Brees the chance to touch the ball. The Vikings won the game in a way we’ve become accustomed to seeing. They rode Dalvin Cook early and often, to the tune of 94 yards of 26 carries, and 2 Touchdowns. While Cousins wasn’t spectacular, he was efficient, throwing for 242 yards and targeted Adam Thielen whenever the going got tough, who finished with 7 catches for 142 yards. This is the formula Minnesota will be looking to repeat in another tough road matchup.

The San Francisco 49ers finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC. They won the NFC West in the final game (final play?) of the regular season, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 to secure the bye. 

Much of the 49ers success this season was due to their dominant defense and running game. While Jimmy Garappolo has shown signs of being a superstar, he hasn’t been called upon often because most of their games aren’t close going into the 4th quarter. San Francisco finished the season with a +169 point differential, a truly dominant stat that shows just how successful they’ve been this season.

While there is no true “#1” receiver in San Francisco, Tight End George Kittle fits the bill perfectly as their go-to target. Kittle is in the conversation as the best Tight End in football, and he is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Look for Jimmy G to look for Kittle early and often up the seams to push the Vikings safeties back, opening up holes at the line of scrimmage for the running game.

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Key Stats

  • This is Jimmy Garappolo’s first playoff start
  • The 49ers were 6-2 at home this season
  • The 49ers had 3 RBs rush for 500+ yards

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Betting Lines

  • The O/U for the game is 44
  • The 49ers are 7 point favorites on Draftkings
  • The 49ers are -295 on the ML, Vikings +255

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Prediction

I’ll be honest, the Vikings surprised me last week. I gave them little chance to beat the Saints, and I expected that game to be closer to a blowout than anything. There’s a reason why the games are played, right?

The 49ers are coming off a bye, and have had a chance to rest their ailing players. They enter this game as 7 point home favorites against a team that had to play an overtime game last week. It will be important for them to start fast, as this is Jimmy Garappolo’s first playoff start, and as with any QB, you have to think he’ll be feeling the pressure early.

While I expect the 49ers to win this game and advance, I’m expecting a close game. The Vikings defense essentially shut down the Saints in their victory, and they have the formula to do it again. If Cousins can make some plays down the field, don’t be surprised when this is a 1-score game going into the 4th. In the end, the 49ers running game will wear the Vikings defense down just enough to plunge it in at the end. Take the Vikings with the points however, and buy a half-point to 7.5.

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