This will mark the fifth consecutive week Minnesota plays a team which had a winning record entering Week 13 (New England fell to 6-6 Thursday). The Vikings are 3-1 so far in those games with the only loss the clunker vs. Dallas.
Minnesota faces just one more team with a winning record, the New York Giants (7-4 but losers of three of their last four) the rest of the way.
This Sunday’s opponent, the New York Jets, have been a little uneven lately as well. The Jets are 7-5 but have split their last four games.
The Jets made a switch at quarterback last week to Mike White. Is there more magic left in his right arm?
Can Kirk Cousins and company unleash their potent offense against a stout defense which has allowed more than 20 points just once in the last eight games, holding opponents to 10 or fewer four times?
A potential absence of Christian Darrisaw makes this game more interesting.
Sitting a second in the conference with a 9-2 record, due to the above-noted rest-of-the-way schedule, this is a big game for the Vikings.
Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press: Vikings 26, Jets 20. “If Mike White beats the Vikings (9-2) on the road, he should get a statue at a rest stop on the New Jersey turnpike.”
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times: Vikings 27, Jets 23. “New quarterback Mike White had nothing to lose and blew away everyone last week. But it’s different when you begin the week as The Guy. New York’s defense is good, though. This should be close.”
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: Jets 24, Vikings 20. “It's frustrating to watch how soft the Vikings play defensively in an attempt to prevent big plays, even though they don't prevent big plays. As Jets coach Robert Saleh said about Mike White, the quarterback can make the easy throws look easy. There are a lot of easy throws against this Minnesota defense, and I don't expect the Vikes' offensive line to hold up against this Jets pass rush, especially if Christian Darrisaw is out.”
The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote: Vikings 26, Jets 21. “Minnesota can become first team to claim playoff spot; it will clinch NFC North with win if Detroit loses. Vikes have become a stout home team (6-1 run), but pocket-bound Kirk Cousins could face heat from NYJ’s pass rush. Big question on other side: Can green Mike White in his fifth pro start capitalize on Minny’s generous pass defense? Edge to home team with the more explosive offense.”
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com: Vikings 23, Jets 17. “This game is intriguing because of the battle between the Vikings offense and the Jets defense, two really strong units. I think the Vikings will get the best of that. So what does Mike White do for the Jets offense? I don't think he will play as well as last week. Vikings win it.”
John Breech of CBSSports.com: Jets 26, Vikings 23. “If White plays well this week, the Jets will have a real chance to beat Minnesota. However, even if he goes off, the Jets defense is still going to have to figure out how to stop Justin Jefferson if New York is going to win. The good news for the Jets is that they have the perfect guy to do that: Sauce Gardner.”
Jordan Dajani of CBSSports.com: Vikings 27, Jets 21.
Tyler Sullivan of CBSSports.com: Jets 24, Vikings 21.
Bill Bender of the Sporting News: Vikings 24, Jets 20. “The Jets got back on track with Mike White at quarterback, and they are 5-4 ATS as an underdog. The Vikings also recalibrated with a Thanksgiving victory against New England. The matchup between Justin Jefferson and Sauce Gardner is worth the price of admission, but Minnesota has other options at home.”
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News: Vikings 24, Jets 17. “The Vikings figured out the Patriots' defense well last week with a heavy dose of Justin Jefferson and their key passing principals. They simply have more firepower around Kirk Cousins than the Jets do around Mike White. Dalvin Cook also can be a bigger factor rushing and receiving. White cools off as Cousins stays hot playing off the run.”
Henry McKenna of FOXSports.com: Jets 17, Vikings 14. “The Jets might just eke out a win here. I think the Vikings have been a bit lucky in closing out games. And maybe New York will have an answer to Minnesota's late-game magic.”
Jim Derry of Nola.com: Vikings 29, Jets 24.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Vikings 31, Jets 21.
Don Brennan of the Toronto Sun: Jets 20, Vikings 17.
Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette: Vikings 31, Jets 27.
Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski: Vikings.
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith and Mike Florio: MDS – Jets 20, Vikings 17; Florio – Vikings 24, Jets 20.
David Fucillo of Draft Kings: Vikings (low confidence).
Bleacher Report staff has an average score prediction of Vikings 27, Jets 23.
ESPN’s Eric Moody and Seth Walder: Moody – Vikings 27, Jets 23; Walder – Vikings 24, Jets 19.
Five of eight analysts at CBSSports.com take the Vikings to win.
Three out of five analysts at SI.com are picking the Vikings.
All 12 SB Nation writers pick the Vikings.
Two of three over at For the Win are going with the Vikings.
All four writers at Athlon Sports think the Vikings will win.
All six writers at USA Today predict a Vikings victory.
Only five analysts at ESPN made a pick at the time of this writing with three picking the Vikings.