Early this season, the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars both appeared to be on a beeline to a rebuild. By the time each club reached its bye week, the two sides had combined for two victories. Since then, a whole lot has changed -- for one of them. The Vikings have ridden a remarkable resurgence from Kirk Cousins to a 4-1 stretch that has them knocking at the door in the NFC playoff picture, whereas the Jaguars have rotated through quarterbacks on a slide to a likely top-five pick in the 2021 draft. This Sunday, they'll go head to head as Minnesota looks to carry its momentum into December and Jacksonville looks to build off Week 12's surprisingly effective outing from Mike Glennon.
Are the Vikings a lock to get back to .500 and make a push out of the NFC North? Or are the Jaguars poised to play spoiler with Minnesota fresh off a close comeback win over the Panthers? We'll find out soon enough. In the meantime, here's everything you need to know to prepare yourself for Sunday's matchup:
How to watch
Typically, this would set up pretty nicely (or poorly, depending on how you look at it) as a trap game for the Vikings, who have occasionally played down to inferior opponents on their own turf. There's also the fact they're coming off an emotional win over Carolina and won't have a fully healthy Dalvin Cook. And, hey, the Jags got decent QB play from Mike Glennon their last time out, so maybe they're actually due for win No. 2!
Don't count on it. Minnesota may have looked like a total pretender early this year, but they are a changed team. Cousins is throwing with conviction in a system that rightly doesn't demand him to carry the load, and he should have no trouble picking apart Jacksonville's transitioning secondary with both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen at his disposal. Even if Alexander Mattison sees the bulk of the carries in the ground game, they should have success there, too, working against a Jags defense that ranks 31st in the NFL. There's a reason the Vikings are favored by double digits here; they're just flat-out better.
Projected score: Vikings 29, Jaguars 20
Check out CBSSports.com for even more expert predictions on this game and the rest of Week 13.
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