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2018 NFL Divisional Round: 10 fast facts for Vikings v Saints

Opta has provided 10 facts ahead of Sunday's NFL playoff between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints.

10 Jan 2018, 07:10 IST
Harrison Smith (left) and Alvin Kamara
Harrison Smith (left) and Alvin Kamara

The Minnesota Vikings were the better team in week one, defeating the New Orleans Saints 29-19, but they also had Sam Bradford at quarterback and Adrian Peterson as their starting running back. Those facts alone should let you know that game has no effect on how this one will be played on Sunday.

Also, when you add that to the fact the Saints suddenly have a top-10 scoring defense and the best rushing tandem in the NFL with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, you get a pretty good idea this playoff may be a little bit different.

The Saints are the only team in the NFL to have three players amassing more than 1,200 yards on the season (Ingram, Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas) and have one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game in Drew Brees.

But Brees will be going up against the NFL's best defense in Minnesota and one of the more underrated offenses. Those facts and these next 10 collected by Opta should have you more than excited for Sunday's encounter.



—The Saints have won three of the last four meetings against the Vikings. However, Minnesota claimed the week-one clash this season.

— The Vikings are 4-3 in their last seven home playoff games, but have lost two of their last three. They have not lost two straight home playoff games since doing so in 1988 against the Washington Redskins and 1993 against the Chicago Bears.

— The Saints are 1-6 all-time on the road in the playoffs. In their seven road playoff games, they have 18 turnovers and just three takeaways.

— The Vikings allowed just 15.8 points per game during the regular season, the fewest in the league. They also allowed just 13 passing touchdowns, also the fewest in the NFL.

— The Saints allowed the Carolina Panthers to gain 413 total yards in the wildcard game. It was the first time this season the Saints won a game in which the opponent gained 400-plus yards in regulation. They are now 2-4 in games in which they allowed at least 400 yards this year, including their opening round loss to Minnesota.

— The Vikings allowed teams to convert just 25.3 per cent of their third downs this season, the best rate of any defense in the NFL. No other team allowed fewer than 31 per cent conversion on third downs.

— Brees needs 38 passing yards and two touchdowns to move into ninth place on both the postseason career passing yards and passing touchdowns leaderboards. He has averaged 279.5 yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns in 14 career games against Minnesota (including playoffs).

— Vikings receiver Adam Thielen had 1,276 receiving yards this season, the ninth most in franchise history and the most since Sidney Rice had 1,312 receiving yards in 2009.

— Saints receiver Michael Thomas had 131 receiving yards in the wildcard game last week, the fifth-most ever by a Saints player in the playoffs.

— Vikings safety Harrison Smith had five interceptions in 2017, tied for the fifth most in the league. It ties a career-high.

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