The Vikings (10-3) are preparing to return to U.S. Bank Stadium to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Vikings have played three straight games on the road and won two out of three, but lost to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday.
Cincinnati allowed 482 yards of offense to the Chicago Bears at home in a 33-7 defeat last week.
Let’s see who the experts pick to win the matchup between Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
It would be so Bengals-y for them to go into Minnesota and win, then lose the rest of their games. Not seeing it. Running will be a problem against this *Vikings front, for the following reasons: *
A) The *Vikings are surely [mad] about their performance in Carolina last week. *
B) Andy Dalton is not the running threat that *Cam Newton *is. Thus, the Vikes can dedicate the numbers and attention to the tailback, *be it Joe Mixon or Giovani Bernard. **
A.J. Green *will get a score, though. He's a beast, even for the likes of Minnesota corner *Xavier Rhodes *to handle. Still, the bottom line is, Cincinnati will be facing an incentivized *Vikings *defense that has been especially stout on third down -- Minnesota is the first D to post a third-down conversion rate of sub-40 percent in each of its first 13-plus games since 1991.
Vikings 30, Bengals 14 — Elliott Harrison, NFL.com
Noon (CT), Sunday, CBS
Counting the number of times it's been said, "This debacle has got to be the end for Marvin Lewis," is a game in itself. It’s been said the last two weeks, after the flag-filled, blown-lead loss to the Steelers, and after they got run out of their own stadium by the Bears. The odds of them putting up a fight at this point, against a Vikings team with a home-field Super Bowl in its sights, are extremely long.
This is the Mike Zimmer bowl, as the Minnesota Vikings head coach used to be the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. These types of games always make for some intriguing matchups since they have a personal aspect attached.
Ultimately, though, the Vikings are one of the best teams in football, while the Bengals look broken. Cincinnati can be physical on defense, and it can make some big offensive plays with *A.J. Green — though Xavier Rhodes being on the other side may limit Green. However, Cincinnati looked like a team with zero heart in a loss to the Bears last week, and it's hard to see it having more fight in this game.*
The Vikings are better overall, they're at home and they're still fighting for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Minnesota is going to want this game a lot more than Cincinnati.
*The Vikings are home after three straight on the road. The Bengals seemed to fold up shop last week. Minnesota's defense will control this game, and the Bengals are banged up on defense, so Case Keenum and the Vikings should have success. *
The Vikings have a good shot at earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and they’re not throwing away their shot against the Bengals.
Old friends Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis meet, with Marvin on the hot seat.
FiveThirtyEight’s 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of winning each week.
Pre-game win probabilities: *Vikings 83 percent *— FiveThirtyEight.com