SportsDirect Inc., Published November 04 2013
Preview: Redskins at Ponder-led VikingsThe Washington Redskins may have salvaged their season with a pulsating overtime victory on Sunday, but they cannot afford a misstep when they visit the sliding Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night. The Redskins won their final seven games to win the NFC East title in 2012 and hope Sunday's dramatic win fuels another playoff run. "The way we won the game, I think it can be a turning point for us," quarterback Robert Griffin III said. "It's definitely a bonding experience."
Washington needed a last-second goal-line stand to hold off San Diego before winning overtime, but Minnesota was unable to do the same in Dallas and allowed the Cowboys to drive 90 yards for the winning touchdown in a 27-23 defeat. It marked the fourth consecutive loss for the Vikings, leading to some grousing from the players regarding the coaching staff. "There's some things that are going on internally that are not allowing us to close out games," defensive end Brian Robison said.
TV: 7:25 p.m. CT, NFL Network. LINE: Redskins -1. O/U: 49.
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (3-5): Although Griffin received much of the credit for the team's success in his rookie campaign, much of last season's success hinged on a powerful ground game led by Alfred Morris, who rumbled for a season-high 121 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries against the Chargers. Griffin threw for 291 yards and completed a season-high 71.9 percent (23-of-32) of his passes in the most well-rounded offensive performance of the season. "Whenever we've been on throughout the season, we've done a better job of just mixing things up," Griffin said.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (1-7): Minnesota has already had three different quarterbacks start this season, but Christian Ponder will be under center for a third consecutive game. Ponder was solid against the Cowboys, although he will be without one of his favorite targets in tight end Kyle Rudolph, who suffered a fractured foot against Dallas and is expected to be sidelined for about a month. Running back Adrian Peterson, who had been dealing with a hamstring issue for weeks, tied his season high with 140 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's defeat.
1. Minnesota has won two of the last three meetings - all in Washington - but the Redskins prevailed 38-26 last season.
2. Griffin ran for a career-high 138 yards in last season's matchup with the Vikings.
3. Minnesota and Washington rank 30th and 31st in points allowed at 31.5 and 31.6 points, respectively.
PREDICTION: Redskins 24, Vikings 23