Here's the dilemma:
The Vikings are better at third down conversions (40.3 Vikings, 38.9 Raiders), but the Raiders are better at total third down conversion percents ALLOWED (Raiders 40.5, Vikings 44.5).
Both teams are about even in the special teams department, and in terms of time of possession and points per game, we'd be splitting hairs at best.
Why am I telling you this? The issue here is that despite their individual records being vastly different, these two teams are very much alike in almost every characteristic.
They both favor a stellar rushing attack, both posses an inconsistent passing attack and both have a better than average defense.
Statistically, even the numbers are extremely close in a ton of categories.
If that' not enough, one team is playing to keep their first place rank, while the other team is playing to regain some of their pride.
So who's the the team with the edge, and how in the world can i even come to a decision?
There is one major component that I have not discussed yet, and it is one that can make even an average team look a lot better than they may appear to be.
It's a phase of the game that can also make a good team look incredibly horrible.
This has been the Achilles Heel of the Vikings all season long. In reality, the Vikings could also be entering this contest as a 5-4 team, but instead, they let four games slip away that should've been won.
It's interesting isn't it? Two teams that are nearly identical, and if you factor in the games the Vikings should've won, they would be near-mirror images of each other.
When the dust settles, however, the overall edge is given to the Oakland Raiders. Obviously, this is not to say that the Vikings can't in fact beat them, and to be honest, they have a very good chance, but when you lack the ability to close out a game it almost always comes back to bite you in the "end".
Hopefully, we'll see a reversal of fortunes this weekend.
OVERALL EDGE: Raiders
PROJECTED SCORE: 20-17 OT Vikings