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L.A. Rams vs Vikings: A Tipping Point For Both Teams?

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Pair of scales is made of stones on the cliff
A tough call...
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When the Los Angeles Rams face off with the Minnesota Viking in Week 11, it’ll be a key plot line in the tales woven thus far in the 2017 NFL season for both teams...

While NFL pundits hint at this game as being one to keep an eye on, I can’t help but think there’s portent laying beneath the surface both teams know that’s looming large as the season heads down the stretch toward the playoffs. To my mind, both teams match up extremely well, if not uncomfortably so...

Beginning with their schedules down the stretch, both the Rams and Viking face daunting takes. Minnesota faces a three road game schedule - Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina - against opponents that are currently surging. In Week 16, they face the possible return of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field.

For the Rams, this Vikings game marks the start of a brutal run which includes New Orleans, Arizona, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Should the Rams weather this gauntlet, don’t overlook the huge potential for a “trap game” when they face Tennessee in Week 16.

Home games for the Vikings are “must wins,” given what’s ahead of them. Los Angeles has the challenge of facing high powered offenses and defenses, while trying to maintain momentum gained in the season thus far. The Rams have a high flying offense right now, yet don’t overlook how dependent they’ve been on big plays to bump up their per game point totals.

Right now, there’s a fine line for both of these teams. Both defenses are playing well, but not great. Their strengths lay in there front 7-s; making running the ball a tough nut to crack. Oddly, Minnesota's secondary has given up some pretty big plays. They have a boatload of talent in coverage, yet they’ve shown cracks other teams have exploited.

The same can be said for the Rams, but many coverage miscues have been offset by turnovers.

Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley will have the Vikings attention. Look for “man-coverage” by Minnesota to free up the ability to load the box in an effort to take the Rams’ run game off the board. The Rams will take a different tack, using dime packages to increase coverage, and allow the Rams defensive line the time to pressure Vikings quarterback Case Keenum. His greatest weakness is when he’s under pressure, a fact well known to the Rams from Keenum’s time with Los Angeles.

The keys to this game? I’m going with field position, and tight ends. Both will play a heavy roll in this game’s outcome. Kyle Rudolf has to be shutdown in the area underneath by safety coverage. A linebacker just won’t get it done. The Rams’ tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett should have an opportunity to shine if Jared Goff moves them up his “read tree.” I can honestly see at least three touchdowns scored by tight ends from passes inside the red zone...

My final score prediction: 20-17. Who will have the “20” and who will settle for “17” is anyone’s guess. Yes, this game is going to be that close...

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday next week. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a tune that comes to mind as I wait for a friend of mine to get ready for brunch. She swore it would only take her “5 minutes”... That was 500-plus words ago, and the never ending drone of a hairdryer still hasn’t stopped...