Baldinger: Kirk Cousins ‘can lay a clunker with the best of them’


The NFL playoffs are finally here and the New York Giants are back in the postseason for the first time since 2017. They’ll be looking for their first playoff win since beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

It’s not going to be an easy task for the Giants, however, as they must travel to Minnesota to face a Vikings team that already beat them once this season. On the flip side, the Vikings have played a lot of close games this season and Kirk Cousins isn’t exactly known for his clutch gene.

NFL insiders Carl Dukes and Brian Baldinger of the Audacy Original Podcast “In The Huddle” talked about Cousins not showing up in big games and the chances of the Giants upsetting the Vikings this weekend.

“I’m thinking Brian Daboll is going to come in and he’s going to have an excellent gameplan and they are going to control the clock and time of possession is going to get cut down … and all of a sudden that explosiveness that all the Vikings have is going to get minimalized and this is going to be a tight game,” Dukes said (1:58 in player above). “And what happens when these games are tight? The Vikings are going to choke.”

“Why is it that people don’t believe in the Vikings? Because I’m with you,” Baldinger said. “The record is the record. You can’t deny – the wins are the wins. They found ways.”

Only two teams – the Chiefs and Eagles – had more wins than the Vikings’ 13 this season. However, even with a 13-4 record, the Vikings astoundingly had a negative point differential at minus three.

The majority of the Vikings’ 13 wins were one-score games with the four losses not being nearly as close. They lost 24-7 to the Eagles, 40-3 to the Cowboys, 34-23 to the Lions, and 41-17 to the Packers. If the Vikings do get past the Giants they could very well have to face the Eagles or Cowboys again in the playoffs.

The Vikings squeaked out a 27-24 victory over the Giants on Christmas Eve thanks to a last-second 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. With the lights brighter and the Giants essentially playing with house money, we could see another classic Vikings choke on Sunday.

“I’m not knocking Kirk Cousins on this podcast here. He’s had success. But we don’t believe in Kirk Cousins in big games. We just don’t. He has to prove it to us. Show us,” Baldinger said. “He can lay a clunker with the best of them.

“I just feel like on this game, this is Wink Martindale’s game. This gameplan – you saw a lot of it last week against Jalen Hurts in Week 18. The Giants weren’t playing anybody but they still hit Jalen Hurts and chased him with three hitters coming from all different directions.”

The Giants rested their starters in Week 18 with their playoff positioning locked up but still managed to keep it close against the Eagles, who needed a win to clinch the top seed in the NFC.

Minnesota is a three-point home favorite against the Giants this weekend. It’s one of three matchups with a spread of three points or fewer and the Giants could be the team to pull off an upset in the Wild Card round.

“(Daniel Jones) ran for 708 yards this year. 700 yards,” Baldinger said. “This is a legitimate two-way threat and he burned the Vikings in the first game with a lot of runs. So you combine that with Saquon and Daboll and what they’re doing right now. I think this is where the upset happens this week.”

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