Two teams that tangled in one of the most memorable playoff games ever battle tonight in the primetime Sunday night telecast. The Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys met in the 1975 playoffs and with time running out Roger Staubach launched a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Person to win the game as time ran out. In the locker room after the game, Staubach referred to the winning touchdown toss as a “Hail Mary,” a term that has stuck ever since.
Staubach may be on hand for this game tonight in Dallas, but he no longer has an influence on the Cowboys on-field fortunes. That is now in the hands of Dak Prescott, a quarterback that burst on the scene in his rookie year, 2016, and has shown flashes of brilliance during his four-year career.
The Vikings offense is led by Kirk Cousins, who has statistics at the top of most NFL passing categories this season, but has still come up short against quality competition. If the Vikings are going to earn their fifth Super Bowl berth, in search of their first win, Cousins is going to have to lead victories against teams with winning records.
This has been a problem for the QB that joined the Vikings a year ago after spending the first six years of his career with the Washington Redskins. Cousins has guided Minnesota to six wins this season, all gained against teams that didn’t have a winning record when they met. The three Minnesota losses this year, were all suffered against teams that came into the game with a winning mark.
The three most recent losses makes Cousins lifetime mark against teams with winning records 5 and 25. Five wins, 25 losses. Not good.
Cousins will get his fourth chance this season to lead Minnesota over an opponent with a winning record tonight at AT&T Stadium, but the Cowboys promise to be stiff competition.
The Green Bay Packers win earlier today puts a need factor on the game for the Vikings to stay within one game of their division front-runner. The Cowboys can do no worse than fall into a tie with the Eagles in the win/loss column, which shifts the need verses want edge to the visitors tonight.
Is it enough to back Cousins on the road against a team with a winning record?
Should we then take the Cowboys and lay the point spread in anticipation of another Cousins setback against a winning team?
The Vikings are coming off a loss and need the game more than Dallas. While I’m not sure they can get it, I’m not inclined to wager against them in this spot, or on their chances against a tough Dallas team at home in primetime.