To accurately compare the Vikings and Rams I decided to compare their first games vs. common opponents. I wanted to comprehensively see how well these two teams stacked up against the same caliber of opponent. While some of this information is not mind-blowing, it should be very encouraging to Rams fans.
With those opponents in mind, it was interesting to see how the Vikings performed against our NFC West rivals. The Vikings were the first team to beat the feisty 49ers earlier in the season, but the momentum they built off that win did not carry over to late in the season. The Vikings have lost 2 of their last 3, including a loss to Seattle. The Rams are obviously undefeated in the NFC West, but have not fared nearly as well in the NFC North - a place that the Vikings have secured a 3-2 record so far. So in the primary facets of the game - passing, rushing, points-allowed, and special teams - who has the advantage?
The numbers actually surprised me. Sam Bradford clearly makes me more comfortable than someone like Christian Ponder. The Rams have actually ran the ball more than the Vikings in these games. And finally, Greg Zuerlein - who was selected only a few picks before Blair Walsh in the draft - has outperformed Walsh against common opponents. So while there is no doubt this will be a difficult game, the numbers cleary favor the Rams - just slightly - in 3 of the 4 major areas on the game.
We all can find some comfort in the numbers, but the truth is the Rams will have to come through in the clutch this weekend as they essentially begin their playoffs on Sunday. They have the advantage of playing at home - where they have a winning record. Meanwhile, the Vikings have a very poor 2-5 road record. It will be an exciting game, and I'm sure the walls will be shaking in the Edwards Jones dome.