Vikings host Giants in playoff matchup of rookie coaches
NEW YORK GIANTS (9-7-1) at MINNESOTA (13-4)
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. EST, Fox
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Vikings by 3.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Giants 13-4; Vikings 7-9-1.
SERIES RECORD: Vikings lead 18-12.
LAST MEETING: Vikings beat Giants 27-24 on Dec. 24 in Minneapolis.
LAST WEEK: Giants lost to Eagles 22-16; Vikings beat Bears 29-13.
GIANTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (4), PASS (26), SCORING (16).
GIANTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (25), RUSH (27), PASS (15), SCORING (17).
VIKINGS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (27T), PASS (5), SCORING (7).
VIKINGS DEFENSE: OVERALL (31), RUSH (20), PASS (31), SCORING (28T).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Giants plus-3; Vikings plus-2.
VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: OLB Danielle Hunter. The eighth-year pass rusher had two of his 10½ sacks against the Giants three weeks ago. Hunter, who has 71 sacks in 102 regular-season games, has a sack in each of his past three postseason games.
GIANTS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Daniel Jones. With his contract expiring after the season, Jones had a career year. The No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft passed for 3,205 yards, 15 TDs and five interceptions and led all qualified NFL QBs with a 1.1 percent interception rate. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers led the league the past four seasons. Jones had 708 rushing yards to set a team QB record. His seven rushing TDs tied for third with Josh Allen among NFL QBs. In the playoff clincher against Indianapolis on Jan. 1, Jones threw for two TDs and ran for two more.
KEY MATCHUP: Giants DBs vs. Vikings WR Justin Jefferson. Jefferson led the league with 128 receptions for 1,809 yards, including 12 catches for 133 yards against the Giants on Dec. 24. Giants FS Xavier McKinney is back from a broken hand that kept him out of that game, and top CB Adoree Jackson (knee) has a chance to play for the first time since Nov. 20.
KEY INJURIES: Jackson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. … Giants DT Leonard Williams (neck) and OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle), who were inactive last week for the meaningless finale, were also limited participants Wednesday and are on track to return. … Vikings S Harrison Smith (knee), who was held out of the game last week, practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday along with C Garrett Bradbury (back), who missed the past five games. … RT Brian O’Neill (calf/Achilles) is done for the season, but top backup Blake Brandel (knee) has been designated for return from injured reserve.
SERIES NOTES: The Giants have won two of the three postseason matchups with the Vikings. The previous one was the 41-0 victory in the 2000 NFC championship game at Giants Stadium on Jan. 14, 2001. … The Giants are 24-25 in postseason games. The Vikings are 21-30. … The Vikings have won both games (2016, 2022) against the Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Those are the only two years the Giants made the playoffs in that span. … The Vikings won the game against the Giants three weeks ago on a 61-yard FG by Greg Joseph on the final play.
STATS AND STUFF: The wild-card Giants and NFC North champion Vikings are two of seven playoff teams that didn’t make it last year. The Giants last appeared in the 2016 season and lost a wild-card round game at Green Bay. The Vikings were last there in 2019, losing to San Francisco in the divisional round. … Brian Daboll of the Giants and Kevin O’Connell of the Vikings are two of three rookie head coaches in the playoffs this year. … Giants RB Saquon Barkley had a career-high 1,312 rushing yards, fourth best in the NFL. He ran for 10 TDs, including one against the Vikings. … WR Darius Slayton led the Giants with 724 receiving yards. … Giants DT Dexter Lawrence had a career-high and team-leading 7½ sacks. … SS Julian Love led the Giants with 116 tackles. … Giants OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 pick in the draft, finished with 48 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a TD. … Ojulari had 5½ sacks, three forced fumbles and a recovery in seven games. … Vikings QB Kirk Cousins passed for 4,547 yards and 29 TDs. He is the fifth player in NFL history with 25-plus TD passes in eight straight seasons. Cousins passed for 299 yards and three TDs against the Giants last month. … Vikings RB Dalvin Cook had 1,468 yards and 10 TDs from scrimmage and played in a career-high 17 games while hitting the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fourth straight year. … The Vikings had four players with 60-plus catches for the first time in franchise history: Jefferson, Adam Thielen, T.J. Hockenson and K.J. Osborn. … Hockenson had career highs with 86 receptions and 914 yards, over seven games for the Lions and 10 games for the Vikings. … Vikings OLB Za’Darius Smith had 10 sacks, his third double-digit season. … LB Eric Kendricks led the Vikings with 137 tackles. … CB Patrick Peterson and S Harrison Smith each had five interceptions for the Vikings. Peterson picked off Jones on Dec. 24.
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