While the Vikings sit at 1-1 on the campaign, their competition has been less-than-stellar. Close games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts—two teams not even close in comparison to the type of team they will be up against this week—won’t cut it against stiffer competition.
After two games, the 49ers are arguably considered the best team in the NFL. Decisive victories against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions (two of the more potent offenses in the league) has San Francisco’s defense riding high.
Though at home this Sunday, the Vikings have shown nothing this season that indicates they will keep this game close.
Minnesota’s defensive statistics, while decent thus far, have come against two bottom-feeder offenses. And while the 49ers don’t necessarily march up and down the field at will, they are efficient enough to control this game from the opening kick.
Here is one bold prediction for each team in Sunday’s matchup:
Alex Smith Is Picked Off Twice to End His Franchise-Record Streak (216 passes)
The 49ers have employed some of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. Y.A Tittle, Joe Montana and Steve Young all laced it up for San Francisco over the franchise’s storied history. Even Jeff Garcia had a solid successful run with the team.
It is Alex Smith, however, who holds the franchise record for consecutive passes without an interception at 216.
The same Alex Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick, who was on his way out of town before resurrecting his career in 2011.
Interceptions are a product of being pressured, making wrong decisions and luck. And while the Vikings have yet to pick off a pass this season, the streak can’t go on forever right?
Adrian Peterson Held to Less than 40 Rushing Yards
To the surprise of most, Adrian Peterson has played quite well this season coming off an ACL injury that happened late last season. Some thought he was pushing to come back too early, but after rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns through the first two games, maybe everyone was wrong.
However, the 49ers run defense isn’t as forgiving as the Jaguars and Colts. San Francisco ranks sixth in the NFL, giving up only 63.5 yards per game on the ground and have yet to allow a touchdown.
Some of that might be a product of playing teams that find the most success through the air. But the fact that the Vikings should be playing catch up most of the day indicates that Christian Ponder will have to do his best impersonation of Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford for a chance to win on Sunday.