5 Bold Predictions: Vikings vs. Saints – NFC Wild Card

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

Cousins will rebound in New Orleans

The last time we saw Kirk Cousins on the field, the results were not pretty. Hindered by the offensive line’s inability to produce a rushing attack or stop Za’Darius Smith, Cousins turned in one of his worst performances of the year, throwing for 122 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Green Bay Packers.

The effort by Cousins was reminiscent of his Week 17 meltdown against the Chicago Bears last season (132 yards, one touchdown, 4.61 yards per attempt) and has everyone asking the question if he has “it” in him to win a big game.

The Saints qualify as a big-time opponent for Cousins, but they’re not a matchup that he should fear. With the addition of the front seven defenders banged up, the Saints are also missing some key pieces in the secondary including cornerback Eli Apple, who was ruled out on Friday.

The Vikings should also have their full array of weapons at Cousins’ disposal. The biggest change will be the return of Dalvin Cook, who also played a big role in the play-action game, on which Cousins posted the fourth-highest quarterback rating (129.2) this season.

With a successful track record against the Saints (335 passing yards per game, nine touchdowns, and one interception in three career starts vs. New Orleans), this should be a game that Cousins plays well in. If not, the Vikings may have to start their search for a new quarterback earlier than expected.