New Orleans Saints 30, Minnesota Vikings 20
セインツ30 - バイキングス20

Minnesota couldn't muster any miracles this time around. In their first nationally televised home game since the Minneapolis Miracle victory over New Orleans in last year's Divisional Round, the Vikings got out to a first-half lead over the Saints, but were undone by turnovers on either side of the half and surrendered momentum, the lead and the game in quick succession to New Orleans. Up 13-10 and driving at the end of the first half, the sure-handed Adam Thielen fumbled in the red zone, and New Orleans turned that turnover into seven points within two plays. Minnesota never recovered from Thielen's fumble and scored just once in the second half. The game was officially salted away when Kirk Cousins tossed a pick-six in his own territory, handing the Saints a two-score lead it would not relinquish. Whereas the Saints, paced by Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram's ground attack, took advantage of their second-half opportunities to extend the lead, Cousins' Vikings didn't rise to the moment as they had nine months ago when Case Keenum was under center. Whether it was due to poor decision-making, offensive-line play, balance or all of the above, Minnesota shrunk in prime time, playing not to lose and eventually doing just that.









The Saints didn't need a bravura performance from Brees to silence Minnesota in the second half. That responsibility fell to Kamara and Ingram, the recently reunited RB tandem who played keep away from the Vikings with 168 total yards on 36 touches. Their punishing one-two punch proved pivotal on a 15-play, eight-minute field-goal drive straddling the third and fourth quarters on which the duo picked up three of New Orleans' six first downs. The Saints are a perfect 3-0 since Ingram returned from suspension. Meanwhile, Brees, in the midst of an MVP season, was forced to throw for just 120 yards, his lowest output as a Saint in a game in which he started and finished. In fact, the longest pass of the play belonged to Taysom Hill, who split time under center and at tight end Sunday night. At one point, Brees, Hill and Teddy Bridgewater were all on the field for a play. The Saints are playing loose, and they deserve to. New Orleans has won six straight since losing their home opener and have defeated three consecutive division contenders (WAS, BAL, MIN). Another playoff hopeful awaits next week. The undefeated Rams are coming to the Bayou with NFC supremacy on the line.










Los Angeles Rams 29, Green Bay Packers 27
ラムズ29 - パッカーズ 27

A battle between two NFC heavyweights lived up to the hype in a back-and-forth affair at the L.A. Coliseum. Characterized by lulls and explosions by each offense, Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff matched score for score in the second half. The Rams got off to a slow start, facing their largest deficit of the season, trailing 10-0 in the second quarter. L.A. responded with a 23-3 scoring run to take a 23-13 lead before Rodgers and Packers' offense got back on track. ARod's 40-yard touchdown shot to Marquez Valdes-Scantling gave Green Bay the lead 27-26 midway through the fourth quarter. However, a bad Packers punt gave the Rams great field position to kick a go-ahead field goal with 2 minutes remaining.

The world was waiting for Rodgers to do what he does and burn the opponent for leaving too much time on the clock. Instead, a Ty Montgomery fumble on the kickoff gave the Rams the ball and iced the game. Rodgers didn't get a shot to produce his magic. And the Rams remained the only undefeated team in the NFL.











Special teams played a huge role for the Rams as the offense started slowly and the defense got burned by Rodgers at times. Punter Johnny Hekker tossed a first-down pass to Sam Shields early in the first half. Later, with the Rams still down 10-0, Hekker's perfect punt was downed by Shields on the 1-yard-line leading to a safety. The special teams play jumpstarted the Rams, who went on an offensive run. After generating just 89 yards on their first five series, L.A. went for 223 yards on their next four possessions to open a 10-point lead. Greg Zuerlein, returning from injury, went 2-for-2 on field goals, including the game-winner. And the kick coverage team forced the pivotal Montgomery fumble. Throughout the season, Sean McVay's undefeated team showed it can win with all three phases.