New York Giants Outduel Minnesota Vikings

The New York Giants became the first visiting team to pick up a win this Wildcard Weekend, outlasting the Minnesota Vikings in an exciting 31-24 shootout. Quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Kirk Cousins exchanged long touchdown drive after long touchdown drive, avoiding costly mistakes and delivering key conversions. In the end, Jones played the better game and earned his team a date with the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round.

Jones won the confidence of his team with an excellent postseason debut. The fourth-year passer carved up a Vikings defense that allowed the second-most yards in the league through the air and on the ground, netting 289 passing yards on 38 dropbacks and adding a tough 78 yards on 17 carries. Barring a truly disastrous outing against the Eagles next week, he's earned at least another season as the Giants' starter. He's set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, and the Giants should feel at ease slapping the franchise tag on the 25-year-old.

As for the Vikings, their propensity for close games finally caught up with them. They were a ridiculous 11-0 in one-score games in the regular season entering tonight's game, but the postseason is a different animal. The offense moved the ball seemingly at will, but a struggling defense kept the Vikings from ever pulling away. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was solid, if a little timid, netting 273 yards on 39 dropbacks and avoiding major errors. If anything, he was too careful: the Vikings lost the game on a failed fourth-down conversion where Cousins rushed a pass to a receiver well short of the sticks.

The Vikings wildly outperformed their talent to finish their season 13-4; they finished the regular season with a -3 point differential. They could be heading for a steep regression barring a massive talent infusion. As for the Giants, they get to put off the self-scouting and soul-searching for at least a week.

Photo Credit: © Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports