Cory's Corner: Thirteen Wins From Minnesota?

Kirk Cousins is 33-29-1 as a Vikings quarterback and has only notched one double digit win season in his pro career. 

The Vikings?

The Minnesota Vikings?

The team in purple just over the Mississippi River?

Now I have said numerous times that Dalvin Cook is the best running back in the NFC. He has staccato movements, he is lightning quick, he can run it inside in traffic and he can bust it outside — and he is a capable receiver. 

But the Vikes are going to need more than a very good running back to sew up double digit wins. ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky has said that Minnesota will be a playoff team. That isn’t hard to believe given that seven of the 16 NFC teams will make the playoffs. And Colin Cowherd thinks the Vikings will win 13 or 14 games this year

Winning that many games is a huge jump for a franchise that hasn’t had double digit wins since 2019 and hasn’t had 13 wins since 2017. 

The question mark remains at quarterback. Kirk Cousins has a cap hit of $31.4 million this year. He earns that by throwing less than nine interceptions and having a passer rating over 100. But it isn’t the season totals, it’s the consistency. Cousins had six games where he threw for over 300 yards and five games where he threw for less than 220. 

Cousins will turn 34 next month, meaning Minnesota fans will grow even more impatient than they usually are. The reason why the Packers have dominated the NFC North is because Cousins continues to morph into an average quarterback when the pocket crumbles. 

On Nov. 21 last year at U.S. Bank Stadium, Cousins was pressured 27 percent of the time, was blitzed 14 times and sacked twice. The Vikings ended up pulling that game out of the fire thanks to a 29-yard Greg Joseph field goal as time expired, but the template is clear: make Cousins uncomfortable.

The Vikings will once again give the Packers fits, just like they always do. With a top running back and a wide receiver in Justin Jefferson that is rising into one of the best at his position, all Cousins has to do is play mistake-free football and his team has a real chance. 

Which is why, if the Packers are going to win the division for a fourth straight year, it’s going to be a result of the defense. I don’t see the Vikings winning 13 games, because I don’t think that defense is trustworthy — especially up the middle. 

Will the Packers take a step back? Probably, because it’s going to take some time for Aaron Rodgers and that offense to come together. But that team will be forged on the strength of the defense. 
 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (43)

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 19, 2022 at 07:13 am

Tis the season for all the teams to become champions.

I do think the Vikings will be a tough opponent this year. They do have some talent on both sides of the ball. Cousins is a good/not great QB. They will win probably a little over half their games.

Will the Packers take a step back? Possibly. Our offense is going to look very differently without Adams. Does it mean it will be worse? No not necessarily. It just means it will look differently. Our Defense will look differently also. But how much different? I think a quite a bit. We have a trio of CB's that could give us the best trio of CB's in the league. Our safety's are underrated. And we drafted 2 players that should give the front 7 an immediate boost.

While the Packers could take a step back, lets not think that the Vikings automatically are going to run away with the division. They have an all new coaching stuff. They don't have Aaron Rodgers either. I don't see the Vikings winning 13 games this year.

Until GB gets dethroned they are the kings of the North!

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NickPerry's picture

July 19, 2022 at 07:30 am

"Will the Packers take a step back? Probably, because it’s going to take some time for Aaron Rodgers and that offense to come together. But that team will be forged on the strength of the defense."

I am forever the ultimate optimistic when it comes to the Green Bay Packers. I'm a "Homer" to the umpteenth degree and I KNOW this about myself and don't care. This entire offseason I've had the opinion the Packers offense will be just fine. No Davante Adams? No Problem.

BUT, Aaron Rodgers HAS to buy into what MLF will be selling this year and he has to buy in 100% Rodger is actually my biggest concern this year. By that, I mean WILL Rodgers be 100% in on what LaFleur is selling? This is a team built on a strong defense and running game. He has a HC who can scheme open my grandma if he just trusts him.

Rodgers doesn't have Adams this year to force feed the ball. The offense MUST be run the way MLF has designed it to be truly effective and give the Packers a chance. Rodgers is a REALLY smart dude. He knows how this team can get to the SB this year. Run the ball, and play great defense. That doesn't mean Rodgers won't be great this year because he will. THIS may be his greatest season ever. But it all starts and ends with the running game and defense.

PS... Colin Cowherd is a TOOL. The Vikings have NO CHANCE to win 13 or 14 games...

PSS... PLEASE Cory, NO MORE pictures of Kurt Cousins. I understand it's like 5 days till TC starts, but Goddamn...Please no more pictures of ANY Viking.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 19, 2022 at 08:57 am

You're ready NP. Your are ready!

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NickPerry's picture

July 20, 2022 at 05:54 am

I am ready TB...I can't wait!

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:09 am

Vikings will be tough! Have said this consistently all offseason and anyone who thinks differently is in for a rude awakening.

How that shakes out head to head, or in standings at end of the year I don't know but likely both teams will be competing for division crown going into final week of season.

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NickPerry's picture

July 20, 2022 at 06:00 am

The Vikings always seem to play the Packers tough but that doesn't mean they'll be tough all year against everybody they play.

My biggest concern for the Packers this year is week one. We know MFL won't play Rodgers much in the preseason if at all and the same could be said for several of his starters. Laying an egg week one like last year would suck. But it's a possibility if nobody plays in the preseason again.

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CoryJennerjohn's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:57 am

Ha ha. That's completely fair NickPerry. (Just making sure that you all are paying attention.)

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mnbadger's picture

July 19, 2022 at 12:28 pm

kc and purple band make my stomach churn. I do NOT appreciate articles in CHTV that are written almost solely about that team.
I'll do my oppo research in other places.
Please CHTV, spare us the stomach pain and keep these photos and topics out of this sight. Remember, some of us read it when eating.
Now I've got to throw out two perfectly good brats!
GPG!

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dobber's picture

July 19, 2022 at 12:30 pm

"Remember, some of us read it when eating.
Now I've got to throw out two perfectly good brats!"

Clearly, we've gone a bridge too far!

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NickPerry's picture

July 20, 2022 at 05:53 am

LOL...ALWAYS paying attention Cory. Thank you for the content. I always appreciate ANYTHING Green Bay Packers and any CHTV writer.

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stockholder's picture

July 19, 2022 at 06:39 pm

Rodgers is No minion. And he doesn't have a Tattoo of one on his arm. He isn't going to be a problem. He will do his best to win.

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T7Steve's picture

July 19, 2022 at 07:31 am

I think the article meant that "if" they were going to take the next step it was up to the quarterback because he has the pieces in Cook and Jefferson. Kirk can't stay average. He states defenses keep him less then average with pressure. I think that's how you can win against every quarterback though. Even AR is just average or less with people in his face.

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dobber's picture

July 19, 2022 at 09:04 am

"He states defenses keep him less then average with pressure. I think that's how you can win against every quarterback though."

Bingo!

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mrtundra's picture

July 19, 2022 at 07:37 am

13 wins??? With Kark at QB??? Not a chance!!! vikes went 8-9 last season and there is no reason to expect more from them, than that. I think the vikes will finish behind both the Packers AND the Lions, in the NFC-N, this season. Packers will have a 14-3 record, Lions will go 9-8 and the vikings will go 8-9, again, or maybe 7-10, with the new management team, in place. Who knows where the Bears end up? Probably 6-11, at best, as they gave Fields nothing to work with and offered him no OL protection. I loved ESB as a Packer. I think he will be a top target for Fields, but won't be enough to improve their record. But the vikes... with Kark at QB and our defense bearing down on him, often, well, I almost feel sorry for him! Almost. We can look forward to the vikes picking in the top 15 spots in the 2023 Draft and then, screwing that up. A hapless organization, if there ever was one. They are desperate for a winning record as evidenced by the NFL scheduling them to play the Packers, in week one. Seems their hopes lie in thinking they will catch us unready to play a Division game, so early in the season. SKOL!!! GO PACK, GO!!!

And please stop posting pictures of Kark on these pages!!!

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Coldworld's picture

July 19, 2022 at 08:18 am

How good will our O line be at the start of the season? How in synch will Rodgers be with the new offense? How will this change during the season?

To be honest, Jefferson is seemingly going to be the best receiver in the division by some margin. To win against the Vikings we will have to score and we face them immediately. We need to come out of the gate fast, something that I’m not sure is likely offensively based on last year.

That said, I think our D is set up to handle Jefferson as well as any and ought to be better against the run than it has been in the past. Jones and Dillon are no less daunting than Cook, however. So how effectively will they be used and how well can LaFleur integrate the new components in the passing game?

The “established” three: Lazard, Cobb and Watkins aren’t going to terrorize our rivals, even if they can stay healthy. We will need to use rookies and inexperienced players in offensive skill positions in a way that amplifies their strengths and integrates them early and do a more consistently better job utilizing our RBs.

In both cases, the O line needs to come out of preseason settled and able to block as well as protect. We need a more intelligent use of players in pre season than last year and then it’s time for LaFleur to live up to his hype as an offensive guru and make this work without Adams and probably Tonyan initially. That likely requires a level of personnel changes that goes against Rodgers’ seeming preferences and some element of the illusion of complexity, something that mostly evaporated last season.

Over to you LaFleur. There is not going to be as much to hide behind this year even with Rodgers. LaFleur is going to have to find a way to make this offense effective or he will look more and more like a guy with a system and Rodgers and not a lot more. This season may well make or break LaFleur in GB.

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dobber's picture

July 19, 2022 at 09:16 am

One advantage the Packers have is that the systems and most of the players haven't changed. People point to the Packers' record without DA as a trump card--which is reading way too much into a small sample size of isolated games--but early in the season, before too much of the 'new look Packers offense' is on tape, it might work in the Packers' favor. That might give the receivers time to settle into roles and get comfortable with 12, and the OL to get used to playing together because we all know they aren't going to play hardly at all in August. The Packers have upgraded their starting personnel on defense. They should hit double digit wins in this division, even with a tough schedule.

The Vikings are bringing in new systems on both sides of the ball. On top of that shift from a base 4-3 to a 3-4, they're rebuilding personnel on the defensive side---the defense that let them down repeatedly in 2021. The secondary still isn't good. Note that even when the Vikings have been better in recent years, they rode their defense every bit as much as the offense. That said, the Achilles heel on the offensive side has always been the OL. Cousins is good enough to win with if the OL plays well...and they've tried desperately to rebuild the line. IMO, THAT will be the linchpin to their season. If the OL plays like a top 10 unit, they have enough skill position talent on offense to overcome the defense and win double digit games.

In the end, though, the Packers open with an important divisional game---and they can't afford to lay an egg like they did against the Saints.

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Coldworld's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:01 am

I am pretty much in agreement with your take on the Vikings. My thrust was that the real question for the Packers is can they really make this offense consistently tick? That’s what it will take to win. An improved D and STs will help, but the premise of the O and how we integrate new players and distribute snaps, targets and formations will need to change for that ti happen.

I believe that the D should hold its own, perhaps more than that, but we still need an O that can score and control games. With this roster, that’s the big challenge and that will require much more from LaFleur and Rodgers being willing to run counter to his inclinations in order to get the most out of this group. As a secondary point, particularly regarding the Vikings, we need to come out of camp in synch and with a credible plan that players are comfortable executing, not finding our way to that in season.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 19, 2022 at 06:11 pm

I think the big thing is teams aren't going to respect the deep ball early in the season until they get beat deep a time or two.

I wish they'd hold off on division games until at least October. Have 3 in October/early November and the rest in the last 6 weeks of the season. But probably easier said then done with having to schedule the byes and such.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 20, 2022 at 03:36 am

MN is okay at the tackles with Darrisaw and O'Neill, and Ezra Cleveland at LG is pretty solid. All three are young and are more likely to improve than regress. The RG, Jesse Davis, was poor last year; Davis is the weakest link by far. The OC, Garrett Bradbury, has been low average, making him a very, very, underwhelming first round pick back in 2019. MN selected OG Ed Ingram with the 59th pick (could Ingram come back to haunt Gutekunst?), so I am sure they hope he ousts Davis as a starter, sooner rather than later. I didn't pay much attention to Ingram since he seemed better suited to a power system than a zone system. I don't know much about their depth.

The move to a 3-4 likely sets them back. I liked CB Booth a lot and fell in love with Lewis Cine. Harrison Smith is still good, and Cameron Dantzler is okay as a CB2. Patrick Peterson needs to defy father time, as he wasn't a ball of fire last year.

The interesting move is Danielle Hunter as an OLB, paired with Z. Smith. I shouldn't think either can drop into coverage. MN has $29.5M dead on Hunter this year and $19M dead in 2023. MN drafted Asimoah, a guy I had in mind for GB with their 59th pick. MN went out and got Jordan Hicks to pair with Kendricks at ILB on a team friendly deal at 2 years and $10M. Yeah, MN needs quite a few things to go well on defense, including getting rookies to contribute early. Hey, they got Chandon Sullivan as their nickelback, though!

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dobber's picture

July 20, 2022 at 05:28 am

"Hey, they got Chandon Sullivan as their nickelback, though!"

This is how you remind me?

He was no Rockstar.

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HarryHodag's picture

July 19, 2022 at 08:59 am

Little mention of Minnesota's defense in the article. Media members often hyper focus on the offense as if this is flag football. Minnesota has a more than respectable defense, plus they added Zadarius Smith. If Smith is healthy he's still a terror to deal with.
I think the real problem with the Vikings is the team quit on Mike Zimmer. The front office recognized this and brought in a new coach. This is a situation not unlike what happened in Green Bay when the players started to lose faith in McCarthy. In comes a new coach, new approach, and the Packers quickly returned to their winning ways.
The Packers-Vikings games should be dogfights this year. Oh, and by the way, with Aaron Rodgers at QB, he will find receivers to complete passes to. The national sports media dopes have all but written off the Packers because they traded D. Adams. I think they will be surprised Rodgers will continue to move the offense, and more surprised when they see the Packers improved defense.

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HawkPacker's picture

July 19, 2022 at 09:28 am

I agree that the Packers will be able to move the football but I am a bit concerned as to how they will get the ball into the end zone without Adams and Tonyan, initially. Hopefully, good coaching.

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dobber's picture

July 19, 2022 at 09:33 am

Both Jones and Dillon have a nose for the endzone, as does Lazard--and Randall Cobb is no slouch at catching TDs from 12, either.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 20, 2022 at 03:42 am

True, a new coach did result in almost instant success. Then again, Gute also bought four starters, and drafted two more, one of whom (Jenkins) was good right away.

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PeteK's picture

July 19, 2022 at 09:44 am

The Vikes offense always scares me, especially Cook who seems to play very well against us. However, the middle of our D should be more stout this season and our 3 CBs should negate their very good WRs. The D is full of question marks, but I just have that feeling that Zadarious will have a solid 9 sack season.

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canadapacker's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:04 am

I must admit that I am afraid of the Vikings O as others have said. I think that our D has improved at least on paper. And while I do not like Cousins ( and even before his vaccine stance) he has always seems to come up big against us. We beat the Vikes last year when Cousins got Covid - good on him - and lost to him when we couldnt hold onto the game ending interception. But we always seem to have trouble with them at Lambeau. I think that the one thing that they dont have this year - that has seemed to have effected AR's play against them - They do not have Zimmer. Dont know why some guys seem to have AR's number and maybe some smart guy needs to research that so that Lafleur can conteract that. The other thing that the Pack can do against the Vikes is run the ball down their throat. With Cousins eating so much cap up - they will be soft somewhere.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:19 am

I would not be surprised if the Vikings win more games this year. After all they play the Lions and Bears twice and many of the rest of their opponents are beatable. Yet 13 wins is a stretch. As mentioned, they have a great RB and superior WR. But what about their defense? They drafted defense and picked up Z for a reason. Zimmer was supposed to be a defensive guru. And now he is gone. On the other hand our defense has improved enough to counteract their offense and give our emerging offense more opportunities.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:47 am

I'm surprised (or maybe I was not?) that Cory forgot about the new head coach and coaching staff of the Vikings.

I'm not scared of the Vikings, and I expect Rodgers to be salivating at the prospect of facing the Zimmer-less Vikings defense. 😁

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 19, 2022 at 10:54 am

Is it feasible that the Vikings can have a record swing of 3 wins over last year's total?
Is it feasible that the Packers could have a 3 win dip from last year's total?

The answer is yes to both.

The Vikings are not a team to be taken lightly, and the Packers aren't a team to overestimate. The Vikings have a new HC and the Packers have an HC who is set up for the Law of Averages to come knocking on his consecutive 13-win minimum of the last three seasons.

It will be an interesting season if both the former asked questions come to reality, and the North just may seat a new King, and another SB appearance might be taken away from the Rodgers era.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 19, 2022 at 11:04 am

I too see the law of averages coming for the Packers... this season the Packers will be 16-1 in the regular season.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 19, 2022 at 11:18 am

Of course, surely, without a doubt, impossible to not be.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 19, 2022 at 01:55 pm

😜😜😜

I like you better this way TarynsEyes. I know you're being sarcastic, but it makes you appear in a better light 😊

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 19, 2022 at 01:55 pm

Duplicate

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PatrickGB's picture

July 19, 2022 at 12:36 pm

Sorry Taryn, “The Law of Averages” only applies to large numbers. The environment is not a closed one and the variable’s…vary. Yet you make a good point nonetheless. I would be happy if the thirteen win season continues for the Packers. But that’s hard to do given the loss of some of our key players and coaches. I also agree that the Vikings are not to be taken lightly. But, thirteen wins? Nah!

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 19, 2022 at 12:57 pm

Three consecutive seasons of 13 wins is a large number for football so the application of the Law of Averages does apply. However, if the Vikings win 3 more and the Packers lose 3 more then their records will be tied with 11 wins. This scenario is not far-fetched, less the mind of the blind optimist.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 19, 2022 at 08:32 pm

It is a relatively large number for football seasons. Yet my point about the law is that when using it every thing has to remain constant. It has not. Players have came and went. Injuries have happened and been healed. Plays have been used and dropped. Opponents have came and gone. The law of averages has to include everything staying the exact same. It. Has. Not.
I hope that you have not considered me a blind optimist. I Do have vision problems. But have also been repeatedly been called a Debbie Downer on this site and others as well.

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splitpea1's picture

July 19, 2022 at 12:30 pm

I suppose anything is possible, but 13 or 14 wins is really, really stretching it. They would almost have to duplicate what the Packers did in 2019 with a new wonder boy head coach and new offense, but this time with a new defense as well. They'll have to improve significantly on their porous pass defense as well as avoid injuries to their star players to reach such a lofty goal.

The basis for Cowherd's (who recently expanded the total to 16 wins!) speculation seems to be that the Vikings lost a lot of close games last season, have a favorable home/road schedule, and that Zimmer and Cousins didn't get along personally. But it still didn't prevent them from losing to the then-winless Lions at home; or Cousins from putting up solid numbers en route to a Pro Bowl season.

This appears to be a case of a sports host going completely goofy just to attract attention.

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T7Steve's picture

July 19, 2022 at 01:16 pm

You can't use the Lions as an example. Division game. Anything can and will happen in a division game. Every time the Packers play in division, their work is cut out for them and they're lucky to get a win. Just think if it wasn't one of the worst divisions?

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splitpea1's picture

July 19, 2022 at 04:05 pm

I don't think so. Divisional games can sometimes be a little more competitive due to familiarity, among other things, but it doesn't mean the teams suddenly become equal or the contests become especially vulnerable to strange occurrences.

Lucky to get a win vs. our divisional rivals? You don't think the reason we win so many division games is because we're the better team and organization--by far? Maybe you're referring to the Packers of 40-50 years ago.

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T7Steve's picture

July 20, 2022 at 06:51 am

Could be I feel that way because of 40-50 years ago or longer. Still get that feeling in a division game. They also seem to be the games where they hurt Rodgers too. I did say we were lucky to be in one of the worst divisions.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 19, 2022 at 01:50 pm

Dalvin Cook is a dangerous player when he's healthy and if they use him a little differently in the passing game they could have a top 5 offense this year. The last 4 years Cook's ADOT is negative 1.675 yards while his yards after catch is around 9.7. The first number is about the lowest on the NFL and the second one is really good. Now they have new coaches coming from the Rams scheme and it will be interesting to see if they try to get Cook more involved in the intermediate passing game.

Cousins is normally going to Cousins and cost them 2 or 3 games a year but only threw 7 interceptions last year. He's usually in the 11-13 range so I'd expect some regression there.

Their defense and OL is still pretty suspect. Think I'd take the under in game 1.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 19, 2022 at 02:48 pm

Win all your home games, beat your division opponents on the road, and beat one more weakling on the road. That’s 13 wins. Under LaFleur, we’re something like 15-3 against the division. The Bears are 0-6 against us. This is domination,

The Purple are ALWAYS the offseason champion, and they often start the season strong but always fade towards the end. We have a golden opportunity to put a stake in the heart of their season, in the opener, on their field.

Xxxxxxxxxxxx

Even minus Adams, we’ll still be one of the best offenses in the league at protecting the ball. Jones and Dillon are still here. We’re not going to put a weak offense on the field.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 19, 2022 at 06:16 pm

It won't be weak but I wouldn't be surprised to see some early season struggles by the offense. Hopefully not as bad as the Saints game.

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