The first NFC playoff game on Sunday offers a rematch of a 2018 NFC Wild Card game, as the Vikings head down to New Orleans to square off with the Saints. Of course, this time they meet in New Orleans instead of Minneapolis, and the Saints hope to thwart off any last-second miracle plays.

Also this time, it’ll be Kirk Cousins out there throwing for the Vikings, with no Case Keenum in sight. Stefon Diggs is still out there running routes, though, so the Saints had better keep an eye on him.

The Vikings finished out 2019 with a 10-6 record, stumbling against the Packers and Bears in the final two games of the season. Their season definitely had its ups and downs.

The 13-3 Saints didn’t do much stumbling this season, even when Drew Brees was out due to injury, as Teddy Bridgewater kept the squad on top of the NFC South. Brees and head coach Sean Payton are 6-1 in home playoff games during their time together and are looking for lucky number seven.

The Saints are favored by eight points in this one, with an over/under of 50. Here’s our betting preview for this exciting playoff rematch.

Dalvin Returns

After missing the final two games of the season with a shoulder injury, Dalvin Cook will return against the Saints this Sunday. Cook has practiced in full all week and is ready to go. Cook had 1,654 yards from scrimmage this season, as well as 13 touchdowns.

He averaged 5.5 yards per touch this year. He propelled Minnesota’s rushing offense to sixth in the league, averaging 133.3 yards per game. Cook is facing a rushing defense that ranks fourth in the NFL, though, so he will have his work cut out for him.

Cousins comes into the game, as well as most of the second half of the season, reeling. Minnesota’s passing offense ranks 23rd in the league, averaging only 220 yards per game. They’ve only averaged a measly 138 yards over the last three games.

Another issue for Minnesota could also come in the form of an injury to defensive leader Eric Kendricks. His availability is unknown, and that would certainly be a massive loss for the Vikings.

Papal Support

Maybe the #Saints tweet from the Pope himself this season wasn’t accidental. Maybe it was fate. The right team at the right time.

Payton and Brees have been no slouches in the playoffs during their respective tenures with the Saints, and neither one looks to be done. Payton arguably pulled off one of his most well-coached seasons, leading New Orleans to the playoffs after losing his starting quarterback for five starts.

Payton led the team to a 5-0 record without Brees, with a little help from Bridgewater.

The combination of Brees and target monster Michael Thomas has been lethal for a few seasons now. Thomas set an NFL record for receptions in a single season this year with 149, tallying 1,725 yards and seven touchdowns.

Alvin Kamara, while he started a bit slow, still racked up over 1,300 yards and has four touchdowns in his last two games. It’s a great time to get hot for the young stud, just as the Saints head into the playoffs.

Wild Weekend

Prepare yourself for some fantastic finishes this Wild Card weekend, where it seems every year offers us some new craziness. New Orleans is 11-5 against the spread this season and 4-4 against the spread at home. Minnesota is 9-7 against the spread and 4-4 on the road. It’s laid out perfectly for what could be a great game, as long as Cousins brings it.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more Wild Card weekend action, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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