Breaking down Sunday's Seattle-Minnesota wild-card playoff game with some stats and links from Pro Football Focus.
Here’s the weekly selection of links and some stats from Pro Football Focus, this time previewing Seattle’s wild-card playoff matchup with the Minnesota Vikings Sunday:
— PFF All-Pro Team with Richard Sherman making the first team, Doug Baldwin, K.J. Wright, Earl Thomas, and Tyler Lockett on the second team, and Michael Bennett as an honorable mention.
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— Handicap of the Wild Card game referencing some key PFF stats.
— Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson may have won the rushing title but he also finished the regular season averaging only 2.35 yards after contact/attempt. That ranks 25th of 52 running backs who played at least 25% of their team’s offensive snaps. The real kicker is that in the PFF era (since ’07), that’s his lowest yards after contact/attempt output.
— In the Week 13 game between the two teams won by Seattle 38-7, Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater attempted just four passes over 20 yards, and all were for Stefon Diggs. Three were incomplete with the other being an interception. In that game, the Vikings also took the “Green Bay” approach and avoided Sherman’s side of the field.
— Four of five Vikings losses this season came when their opponent rushed for more than 100 yards (and that’s not including a game that went to OT). That includes the Seattle game when the Seahawks had 173 yards, led by the 101 of the now-injured Thomas Rawls. Marshawn Lynch is back but there will be rust after an eight-week layoff. Christine Michael will need to keep up his solid play to establish the ground game.
— Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph only has one TD when lined up as an in-line TE, something that’s plagued Seattle all year. His go-to routes are quick outs (14 targets), hitches (14), and crossing (12).
— Neither Minnesota NT Linval Joseph nor free safety Harrison Smith played in the first go-around, so the Vikings defense will be drastically improved this time. Joseph is the third-best interior defender while Smith is the top safety. The Seahawks’ offensive kryptonite is the interior defender that wreaks havoc (think Aaron Donald of St. Louis) and Joseph has 25 QB pressures and 24 run stops on the year.
— The Seahawks only blitzed 10.8 percent of pass snaps in Week 13, their third-lowest blitz rate of the season. On the year they have a 21.8 percent blitz rate but last week, defensive coordinator Kris Richard called far more zone blitzes than previous weeks.
— A lot has already been made of the game-time temperature and Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh and the kick coverage unit allows the opponent to start at the 22.6 yard line (league average is about 21.5). This is even stranger since he has the fifth-best kickoff average distance at 70.7 yards. It’s as if he outkicks his coverage on kickoffs so it is possible that the cold will be beneficial for the Vikings when corralling Seattle returner Tyler Lockett.
Here’s a YPRR (yards per route run by receiver) breakdown by position:
|WR||Doug Baldwin||2.08||Stefon Diggs||1.81|
|Tyler Lockett||1.57||Jarius Wright||1.52|
|Jermaine Kearse||1.39||Mike Wallace||1.02|
|TE||Chase Coffman||2.07||MyCole Pruitt||1.31|
|Luke Willson||1.33||Kyle Rudolph||1.22|
|HB||Fred Jackson||1.42||Jerick McKinnon||2.25|
|Christine Michael||0.67||Adrian Peterson||1.00|