Friday, October 27, 2006

Vikings v Patriots Kool-Aided Preview

Week 8

OK so I have taken a pregame, Kool-Aided hiatus. Week 6 was the bye week and Week 7 I was in South Bend for the weekend. But I'm back. I didn't get a chance to post it but my Seattle prediction was going to be Vikings 31 - Seattle 14. That was a pretty good prediction if you ask me, of course you have no way of disproving it so that runs my prediction record to 4-2.

Anyway, enough about me. In this mostly liberal state that most of us live in this is the perfect week for all of us. All of the anti-war, anti-Bush and generally anti-patriotic football fans in this state get to take this un-patriotism to another level. Because this week we are all un-patriotic. Patriots suck.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of my prediction, does anybody else wonder why this game was picked a the MNF game this week? This is a rare AFC/NFC battle between two teams with no history between them and when the schedule was set nobody thought these two teams would have similar records. The fact that this will be 1 week before the elections and a certain DFL resurgance is not lost on conspiracy theorists around the state. The Patriots will be defeated and a message will be sent (and this is payback for Wellstone!)! OK, I really don't know what message will be sent, what exactly we are paying back or what this has to do with politics, but I am certain this game will be a certain victory for the Vikings (and here is why)...

The Trenches - There are plenty of intriging matchups on both lines this week. I think the Vikings have a slight edge on both O and D line. The Vikings O-line has an advantage of the Pats D-line but that could be thrown out the window if they are unable to adjust to the 3-4 Defense which they are seeing for the first time this season. The matchup of Vikes D-line vs. Pats O-line is nearly a draw. The Pats O-line has been an anchor for them as they have won a few championships recently. But they are not quite as strong as in recent years and the Vikings D-line (especially the Williams brothers) has been dominating and stuffing the run all year.

The Pretty Boys - The Pats do very well what the Vikings are trying to do this year. That is have a productive, ball control passing game with a WR by committee approach. New England has been successful with that approach while MN has struggled. Advantage New England. Tom Brady vs. Brad Johnson? Advantage New England. Dillion and Maroney vs. Chester Taylor, I give advantage to New England. BUT the matchups that matter are Tom Brady vs. MN secondary (OK, I'll still give that to NE) and Dillion/Maroney vs. the Vikings run defense (ADVANTAGE Minnesota).

Brady is the guy you want behind center for every single game. He is cool as ice and gets better as the lights get brighter. MN will need to stop the Patriot run game, make them 1-dimensional then get to Brady and rattle his cage.

The Ball Hawks - New England has a good secondary and they are in luck because they will be covering an average WR core. Minnesota has a very good secondary and they will be taking on a highly efficient and opportunistic passing game. Both team's linebackers are playing at a high level and making plays in both the run and passing games.

All that to say that if Minnesota plays well at home this will be a very tight game. Mistakes have to be minimized and opportunities cannot be squandered. Minnesota will stay hot and prove that Seattle was not a fluke.

Keys to the game

  1. Dillion/Maroney vs. MN Run Defense - this is kind of a broad matchup, but this will be the primary key to the game in my Kool-Aided opinion. If Maroney thinks he's running against the Hoosier defense on the Metrodome turf again then the Vikings are in trouble. As stated above if they can shut down the run like they've done all year they can put Brady in comprimising positions and we have to jump on any (or the only) mistakes that Brady makes.
  2. Marcus Johnson - Marcus is facing a 3-4 defense for the first time this year. I assume that blocking schemes are different and he has to be ready for varying blitzes from the LBs. He has to have his head in the game and do his part to give Brad time.
  3. Don't let Brady be Brady - a scenario where MN is ahead late in the 4th qtr and New England has the ball is always scary when Tom Brady is the opposing QB. MN has to get in his face and make him uncomfortable and NOT let him be a road-hero.
It comes down to the team's logos. The old patriot is seriously gay and would not last a day on a Viking's ship sailing to Iceland.

Minnesota - 24
New England - 20

1 comment:

John said...

Sadly, not one of your better prognostications.

Kool Aid Drinkers