Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Fear Not These Vikings: Why 49ers Win

Gilbert Brink
Jan 10, 2020 at 8:01 AM


As soon as Kyle Rudolph snagged that fade from the sky in New Orleans, it began. The search for magic in a maze of logic. The #6 seed Minnesota Vikings were headed to Santa Clara to face the #1 seed San Francisco 49ers and the doubts, questions and concerns were rearing their ugly heads. Spend some time scrolling your newsfeed and you'll be quite surprised by the amount of people, whether they be media analysts, fans or former players, all picking the Vikings to win this game. The puzzling reasoning ranges from what happened in the 1988 playoffs to Minnesota's top ranked pass defense vs. TEs to Kirk Cousins "monkey off the back moment". Whatever the reason may be, you need not go far to find a fool doubting these 49ers. In a world filled with insanity, let us please return to reason. Take my hand and put aside the mythical, magical quest for something divine and step into the realm of January 10th, 2020 as we examine why the 49ers will beat the Minnesota Vikings.

Recency Bias


This one is quite obvious. If you asked anyone six weeks ago who would win if the Vikings played the 49ers in the division round at Levi's Stadium you would be hard-pressed to find someone who would pick the Vikings. Oh, what a week can do. The majority of media analysts picked these Vikings to get decimated by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The same Saints who many picked to win be the NFC Champions come early February, well, we know what happened to the Saints. So here we are, the Vikings gaining the shine of beating the media darling Saints in OT on the road, have now succeeded the Saints as the newly-crowned media darling. On the other side of the spectrum, the 49ers have not played since their thrilling win over Seattle to clinch the #1 seed. As much as some want to create a "New Vikings" narrative, this is the same team that lost to the Matt Moore-led Chiefs.

Quality of Quarterbacks


It's amazing what one pass can do. If you asked most fans prior to last Sunday what Kirk Cousins is most known for the resounding answer would be; coming up short in big situations. When comparing the two quarterbacks it is painfully obvious who is the better player, and in the playoffs usually the better quarterback gets the win. Comparing career records alone, Kirk Cousins is 44-42-2 roughly a .500 record, Jimmy Garoppolo is 20-5. I`m not a mathematician but that seems fairly better than .500.

The antithesis to Cousin's choker reputation would be Garoppolo's clutch gene. In 25 starts, Garappolo has had 7 fourth quarter comebacks and 7 game-winning drives. Once again, bad with math, but that seems to shake out around over 1/3 of the games Jimmy has won have been directly related to him coming up big when the game is on the line. Plain and simple, having Jimmy Garoppolo over Kirk Cousins, we like that!

Viking Conquests?


Minnesota won its biggest game of the year last Sunday, that cannot be debated. What can be noted though, is the fact that when Minnesota beat the Saints in the Wild Card round, that was only the second team with a winning record that the Vikings have beaten. The other winning team the Vikings beat were the mediocre Philadelphia Eagles. Against winning teams the Vikings had a record of 2-4, which doesn't sound like it will transfer well into the playoffs. On the contrary, the 49ers were 5-2 vs. teams with winning records.

Key Injuries



Throughout the second half of the season the 49ers have been decimated by injuries. In a fortuitous twist of fate, it appears that the 49ers are nearly at full-strength just in time for their playoff run. It is a lock that Jaquiski Tartt and Kwon Alexander will be returning for this divisional playoff game, with Dee Ford still being listed as questionable. Getting even two of these three back would be a tremendous shot of life into an exhausted 49ers defense coming off a much needed bye week. In November and December the 49ers defense was unrecognizable to the defense of September and October. The key being these three defensive standouts were watching from the sideline (Ford & Alexander for the majority of that time, Tartt from December 1st until now). Expect the 49ers defense to look much more like the unit from September that suffocated offenses at will.

Peering at the other sideline, Minnesota may be without its best WR, Adam Thielen. During practice this week Thielen went down with an ankle injury, the cause of which wasn't known initially. Now we are hearing it was a laceration on his ankle that required stitches. It's hard to imagine a top-flight WR playing at a high-level, or playing at all, with stitches in his ankle. It's one to keep an eye on, but don't be surprised if Thielen is not his usual self, or not on the field at all.

Overwhelming Home-Field Advantage


The 49ers battled tooth and nail to gain the home-field advantage and the bye in Week 17. Little did we know then, just how big that advantage would be. Not only do the 49ers come equipped with a crowd that is experiencing the first 49ers playoff game at Levi's stadium, but the actual field will become a huge advantage. Of those two wins the Vikings had against winning teams, both came in a dome on artificial turf. The 49ers play in an open-air stadium on natural grass. When you dive into the numbers, Kirk Cousins on natural grass field: 5 TDs/3 INTs, 60.2% completion rate, and a QB rating of 83.8. Compare those numbers to his artificial turf statistics: 21 TDs/3 INTs, and a QB rating 117.3. Playing Kirk Cousins on a grass field in front of a crazed Levi's Stadium, we like that!

So, 49ers fans, take a breather. Don't fall victim to manufactured Minnesota mumbo-jumbo. While any team can win on any given....Saturday, there are so many more reasons to be confident than cautious. Sit back, crack open a brew and get your popcorn ready for the first time in six years. It's playoff football in San Francisco.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


3 Comments

  • Steve
    Great article Gilbert. You've successfully calmed my nerves a bit.
    Jan 10, 2020 at 3:14 PM
    0
    Response: Glad you enjoyed it As niners fans we have been burned by hope in the past, but we have to let go of history and embrace the present This is a great team who will be great when it counts
  • GM
    Excellent article. Very well written. I hope you will be contributing more!
    Jan 10, 2020 at 10:30 AM
    0
    Response: Thank You, I appreciate that. I hopefully will be, just started this week and hopefully there's a lot more to talk about in the coming weeks.
  • TLH Cash
    Yea, probably true but I still have the memory of when the Vikings came into Candlestick Park with the Niners as heavy favorites and the Vikings coming away with the upset. Has me worried.
    Jan 10, 2020 at 9:53 AM
    2
    Response: Yea, but what does that team have to do with this team. It's mumbo-jumbo as there is not a single thing that is connected to that game and this one besides the colors of the shirts the teams will be wearing.

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



NFL Network to air these two 49ers preseason games live

By David Bonilla
Jul 19, 2021

Out-of-market San Francisco 49ers fans will get to see their favorite team live twice during the preseason, so long as they have access to NFL Network. That means the only 49ers game that will not be nationally accessible by fans is the first one, when the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Levi's Stadium on Saturday, August 14. That one will air on KPIX-5 in the Bay Area. Below are the two 49ers preseason games scheduled to air live on NFL Network. 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, August 22 at 4:30 pm PT Las Vegas Raiders at 49ers, Sunday, August 29 at 1 pm PT The two games will be the first opportunity for many fans to



Frelund: Return of these two star players set 49ers up for playoff return

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 24, 2021

Earlier this week, on a segment of Game Theory, Cynthia Frelund gave her argument as for why the San Francisco 49ers will make the playoffs in 2021 after missing out in 2020. Frelund attributed their recent Super Bowl appearance as a factor in her decision as well as the multitude of injuries that affected the team last season. "They were in the Super Bowl just like five minutes ago and they had a whole bunch of injuries, but they get all those players back." Looking at the offensive side of the ball, Frelund highlighted star tight end George Kittle, who, according to Next Gen Stats, has averaged 8.0 yards after the catch per reception since 2018, which is the highest in the NFL given a minimum of 25 receptions. In addition to Kittle,



49ers signing former Bills, Vikings DE Eddie Yarbrough, per report

By David Bonilla
21 hrs ago

According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, the San Francisco 49ers are signing defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. The 49ers are signing former Bills and Vikings DE Eddie Yarbrough, according to a source.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) July 26, 2021 The Denver Broncos signed Yarbrough (6-3, 259) as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming in 2016. He registered eight tackles and a quarterback hit through four games with



Jim Trotter breaks down why 49ers are high on DeMeco Ryans

By David Bonilla
Jul 20, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers promoted DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator after Robert Saleh left to become the head coach of the New York Jets. Ryans was asked in June what fans can expect to see from his defense this season. Was he planning to follow the same blueprint that Saleh laid out, or were some bigger changes on the horizon? "Our defense will be a fast, attacking, aggressive defense," Ryans responded. "I want guys to play fast. I want guys who are smart. I want guys who are going to play physical. That's one thing for me is just growing up, watching the 49ers play defense. The defense has always stood out here. This has been a defensive organization. They


Featured

More by Gilbert Brink

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone