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New York Jets vs. Minnesota Vikings Prediction: Cross-Conference Playoff Contenders Meet in Pivotal Game

Vikings look for season sweep of AFC East opponents; Jets hope to improve on solid road record.

The New York Jets find themselves in uncharted territory entering December.

In the playoff picture with just six weeks to go, the Jets will play a critical road game against one of the best teams in the NFC on Sunday.

The Jets (7-4) will travel to U.S. Bank Stadium this weekend to play the NFC Central-leading Minnesota Vikings. New York is coming off a 31-10 home victory against the Chicago Bears last Sunday.

The Vikings (9-2) can clinch their first NFC North title in five seasons Sunday by defeating the Jets and Jacksonville winning over the Lions.

Sunday will be the 12th meeting between the Jets and Vikings. New York has an 8-3 advantage, but Minnesota has won the last two games (2014 and 2018) between the teams.

New York (7-4) at Minnesota (9-2)

Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Vikings -3
Tickets: As low as $142 on SITickets.com

Three Things to Watch

1. Mike White in his second start
Last week, the Jets benched Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White, and the veteran had an outstanding game against Chicago. White went 22-of-28 for 315 yards and three touchdowns in the three-touchdown victory.

White has just one fewer touchdown than Wilson and is two off the team lead, which is held by backup Joe Flacco.

"He's very calm, very cool, very coachable. He's got a great presence in the pocket, quick delivery, processes really quickly and gets the ball where it needs to go," Jets coach Robert Saleh said about White.

"It's almost like he lowers his heartbeat, it's just not big for him. He's been in the League now for a few years and he's had some experiences, and he's just one of those guys, with every experience he has, he finds ways to get better and learn from them, so he can be better. So, we're excited for his opportunity, and we're all excited for him."

2. Does Jefferson have another game for the ages in him?
Justin Jefferson has arguably been the best receiver in football this year. In 11 games, Jefferson has 81 receptions, 1,232 yards, and five touchdowns.

Jefferson will have a tall challenge this week as he will face the duo of Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner and D.J. Reed at cornerback. Both Gardner and Reed have been playing at a Pro Bowl level. Gardner is the No. 2 graded cornerback according to Pro Football Focus (86.7).

"These are the types of games that I love," Gardner said. "I love going against the best, so I'm looking forward to it and I know our guys in the secondary are looking forward to it too."

3. Can the Jets' defense put pressure on Cousins?
The Jets have been one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. They're ranked fourth in yards allowed (308.8) and fifth in points allowed per game (17.8).

New York will face Kirk Cousins, who has had another solid season for the Vikings. Cousins has thrown for 2,760 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will look to continue his superb season against a Vikings defense that's been known to give up sacks from time to time.

"Decisive, accurate, great presence in the pocket, gets the ball where it needs to pretty quick," Saleh said. "They do a really good job. He's played in this league a long time. He's got a lot of years under his belt, and we've played him before. He's very good."

Final Analysis

The Jets have a pivotal road trip against the Vikings and Bills coming up. If they're going to make the playoffs, this is a game they have to get.

Minnesota is dead last in passing yards allowed this season. This should be an area the Jets will need to take advantage of as the Vikings tend to play zone type of defense.

The Jets have been known to play in a number of close games this year and Sunday likely won't be any different. Special teams could play a significant role and with the game being indoors, the advantage should swing toward the Jets.

Prediction: Jets 23, Vikings 20

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders, and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

*Price as of publication.