News & Analysis

NFL Divisional Playoff Preview: Saints at Vikings

By PFF Analysis Team
Jan 11, 2018

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Jan 7, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) reacts after catching a pass against Carolina Panthers strong safety Mike Adams (29) and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints will battle the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional round of the postseason. PFF previews the top player matchups of this win-or-go-home game.

PFFELO Ranking: 5

Coverage by: Andrew Fleischer

Matchup: New Orleans Saints offense vs. Minnesota Vikings defense

  • WR Michael Thomas vs. CB Xavier Rhodes – Michael Thomas earned a 92.5 overall grade for the season thus far, No. 2 among 120 eligible wide receivers. He maintained his stellar performance through Wild Card weekend, and his 90.8 overall game grade was the highest among all players in that game. Thomas was targeted on 27 percent of his routes run on the season, tied for the fifth-most among 93 qualified wide receivers. He’ll be covered on the majority of his routes by cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes earned an 83.9 overall grade for the season, tied for 28th among 120 eligible cornerbacks. He allowed 1.43 yards per coverage snap, tied for 43rd among 124 qualifying cornerbacks.

WR Michael Thomas New Orleans Saints

PFFELO Ranking: 3

Coverage by: Elliott Rooney

Matchup: Minnesota Vikings offense vs. New Orleans Saints defense

  • WR Stefon Diggs vs. CB Marshon Lattimore – The most intriguing battle in the passing game will be between two of the best at their respective positions this season. Diggs was one of the best receivers when targeted this season, as he generated a wide receiver rating of 120.4 when thrown at, second-best among receivers with at least 82 targets this season. The Saints had best be aware of him in the red zone, as since the beginning of 2016 he has caught all 23 of his targets in the red zone for eight touchdowns, and no one has a better wide receiver rating than Diggs’s 132.2 in the red zone. With one of the best rookie seasons PFF has seen, Lattimore will make it difficult for Diggs to have an impact on this game. Lattimore proved to be one of the best cover corners in the NFL and finished the season ranked as the fourth-best cornerback with an overall grade of 90.7. He was one of only six cornerbacks not to allow a touchdown in their coverage all season and his passer rating allowed of just 45.3 was the third-best mark by a corner in 2017.

WR Stefon Diggs Minnesota Vikings

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