Vikings (6-5-1) at Seahawks (7-5)
Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET, CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Danny Sheridan’s line: Seahawks by 3
Vikings’ keys to victory: The Vikings will need to put forth a solid game on the road as they fight to retain a wild-card berth, especially with Seattle right ahead of them. They must find a way to stop QB Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense, which has been on a roll in the second half of the season. DE Danielle Hunter, who has doubledigit sacks this season, is the man to do it. QB Kirk Cousins can’t overlook Seattle’s revamped defensive line and Frank Clark, who is hungry for a contract extension.
Seahawks’ keys to victory: The Seahawks are notoriously difficult to face on the national stage and will look to capitalize on home-field advantage. The defense will need to put the Vikings’ passing attack on hold early, although Cousins is surprisingly effective under pressure. Seattle’s young secondary, including CB Shaquill Griffin, will be tested against Minnesota’s deadly receivers. To control the game, Seattle will look to its running back rotation to put yards on the ground and set Wilson up to find his targets. WR Doug Baldwin, who has been waiting for a breakout game, could shine under the lights.
Matchup to watch: Vikings’ offensive line vs. Seahawks’ defensive line. Seattle must find a way to exploit Minnesota’s offensive line, which ranks near the bottom of the league. CenturyLink Field, an intimidating venue for opposing offenses, might offer just the advantage the Seahawks need.
Who wins? The Seahawks have everything to fight for, and winning the tiebreaker at home is Seattle’s next step in the playoff race.