ESPN NFL Countdown: Week 4 preview
ESPN’s weekly NFL Countdown show begins this week with a preview of the Week 4 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have beaten the Vikings on the road five times this season, and they’ve been dominant at home.
In that span, the Browns have gone 6-2 against the Vikings, including a 10-0 run.
Minnesota is coming off a bye week, so the game will have more importance to the Vikings’ schedule than it would to a potential opponent.
Minnesota’s offense is the NFL’s third-best in terms of yards per game (5.3), and its defense has allowed just four touchdown passes this season.
It’s also tied for third in the league in scoring defense (35.0 points per game).
The Vikings have won the last two meetings in the series, but this week, they’ll have a new face to play up front: Adrian Peterson.
The reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year is averaging a career-high 10.4 yards per carry.
He has scored nine touchdowns and no interceptions in Minnesota’s past seven games.
Cleveland has also held opposing running backs to an average of 4.4 rushing yards per attempt this season and has allowed six rushing touchdowns.
That doesn’t seem like a recipe for a great game, and the Vikings defense hasn’t been as effective as they have been in recent weeks.
Cleveland is coming into Week 4 having allowed two of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL to go for at least 350 yards in a game.
The Vikings haven’t faced either of those quarterbacks since Matt Cassel’s Week 4 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but that shouldn’t stop the Browns from trying to limit Peterson’s effectiveness.
Peterson is averaging 4.3 yards per rushing attempt against Minnesota, while Minnesota has been allowing him to go over 300 yards in each of his past four games.
Both teams are coming off their bye weeks, so this should be a tough matchup for both teams.
The winner of this matchup will clinch home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.