NFL Week 3 Deep Analysis: Vikings Open and Cardinals Close

numberFire Chief Analyst Keith Goldner takes a look at two of the crazier final scores from Week 3 and finds what allowed the Vikings and Cardinals to win. Chief Analyst Keith Goldner occasionally takes a look at some of the big NFL games and the advanced numbers behind them. Today, he takes a look at two of the wackier upsets in Week 3 and what allowed the Vikings and Cardinals to go home with resounding victories.

On a crazy Sunday with upsets out the wazoo, the most surprising win had to be Christian Ponder and his lowly Vikings taking down the San Francisco 49ers. Minnesota outplayed the Niners from the very start of the game; their opening drive lasted 7 minutes and 40 seconds and went 82 yards over 16 plays for the first score of the game.

The Cardinals dominated the Eagles all game long, but after back-to-back field goals to bring the game within 18 points (why do teams still kick field goals down 21 in the third or fourth quarter?), Arizona needed to seal the win. They did so with a 13-play, six-and-a-half minute drive (including two Eagles timeouts), which resulted in a field goal.

Using our Markov Model, let's look at these two game-changing drives.

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