Sunday 14th January 2018

Event of the Day

Our event of the day is the NFL divisional playoff clash between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Minnesota reached the last four of the NFC by finishing second in the Conference with a 13-3 record in the regular season, behind the Philadelphia Eagles; while New Orleans had to battle in the wild card round, eventually overcoming divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers 31-26 at home last Sunday. Prior to this game, they won the NFC South with a 11-5 record that secured them the home ground advantage in the wild card match. The Vikings ended the regular season with three victories in a row to clinch the NFC North. Their last game and the last win came at home on the last day of December, against the Chicago Bears (23-10). These sides have met 32 times in the past - the Vikings have the upper hand with 21 wins, whilst the Saints have recorded 11 triumphs. This season, Minnesota won 29-19 at home, after four straight defeats against tonight’s opponent. They have faced each other in the playoffs on three occasions – the Vikings won the wild card game in 1988 and a divisional playoff game in 2001, but lost the NFC Championship clash in January 2010 (31-28 after overtime).
Minnesota had the league’s best defence in the regular season, in which the standout man was defensive end Everson Griffen with 13 sacks – fourth best in the league. Tonight, this defence will be tested by the second best offense, in the regular season, in the shape of the New Orleans attack, led by quarterback Drew Brees who completed passes for 4334 yards and running back Mark Ingram who had 1124 rushing yards. A thrilling fight to reach the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles is in store tonight at the U.S. Bank Stadium.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at the Anfield. The Reds are in fourth place with 44 points from 22 rounds, while the Citizens have the comfortable lead at the top with 62 points. Australia and England play their 1st ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Four more ODIs will follow in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth before the end of January. It’s Day 2 of the 2nd Test of the Freedom Trophy between South Africa and India at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. In another NFL divisional playoff game, the Pittsburgh Steelers face off with the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. It’s Day 4 at the BMW SA Open golf tournament at the Glendower Golf Club in Edenvale, South Africa; and Day 4 of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. In tennis, it is the final day of the ATP Auckland Open at the ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland. In the NBA, the Miami Heat take on the Milwaukee Bucks at the American Airlines arena in Miami. The NHL delivers a duel between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Calgary Flames at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by NFL

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