2009 Vikings: Superbowl Bound -or- Super let-down!
2009 Vikings: Superbowl Bound -or- Super let-down!?!???
With the Vikings 44-7 Whoooping of the Giants and the Eagles laying an egg in Dallas, our Purple Pride has actually managed to secure the No.2 seed and coveted bye week for the NFC playoffs! Much needed IMHO for the old man and the many injuries our top players have amassed over the long brutal season. But, even better for us is that the Eagles and Cowboys, Cardinals and Packers get to share one more round of beating each other up before limping into the Metrodome the following week. You can pretty much call Wildcard Weekend, "a Free Win" for the Vikings!!
The Saints hold the top seed and Home Field Advantage throughout, but have lost 3 ugly ones in a row after winning several on lucky, last second and later plays vs. non-playoff teams, and will get a tough matchup out of any of the remaining NFC contenders. With just one more home win for the Vikings (we are 8-0 in the Metrodome this year), and a Saints loss, we could be the Home Team hosting the NFC Championship Game!! Pretty obvious, the Vikings are MUCH Better at home (8-0) than on the road (4-4)...I'll say we'd have a shot at any one of these guys...on our turf. But, Put this show on the road, and, the chances go way down! Making the 2nd seed all the more sweeeeet!
Matchups: 2009 NFL regular season rankings (of 32 teams)
*!Translation!? Top Five=Dangerous; Top Ten=Pretty Tough; 15+=Not so Good!
Who Pts Off yds Pass yds Rush yds TO diff
Vikings 2 5 8 13 9
Eagles 5 11 10 22 2
Cowboys 14 2 6 7 15
Cards 11 14 12 28 24
Packers 3 6 7 14 1
Saints 1 1 4 6 3
Who Pts Yds/gm Rush yds Pass yds Sacks INTs
Vikings 10 6 2 19 1 26
Eagles 19 12 9 17 3 4
Cowboys 2 9 4 20 7 26
Cards 14 20 17 23 6 7
Packers 7 2 1 5 11 1
Saints 20 5 21 26 13 3
A wise man named Jon Madden once said, "Usually, erm ha, the team that scores the most points wins the game," and surprise, surprise, the top seven scoring teams are all in the playoffs! In fact, of the NFC playoff teams, only the Cowboys and Cardinals weren't in the top ten, but just outside at 14 and 11. Total offensive yardage is pretty much the same story, all 6 NFC playoff teams are in the top 14 (top half) of the league. Suffice to say, all these teams can move the ball and score some points. Perhaps proof that today's league is a passing league, all 6 of these teams are in the top 12 in passing. On the other hand, when it comes to rushing the ball, only 2 made the top ten, with 2 more just above half, and a couple way down around the bottom third of the league. I've got to wonder, does the old, "you have to be able to run the ball in the playoffs," saying still hold any sway? It sure can be nice for running out a lead late in the game!
They also used to say, "Defense wins championships." But defensively, there's a lot more variation among these teams. In the all important Points Allowed list we have only 1 team in the top five, the Cowboys, with 2 more in the top ten, Packers and Vikings and the rest coming in near the bottom half or lower. The three defenses ranking top ten in points allowed also rank top ten in total yards allowed. Two of the other three are way down in the 20s! Back to Passing League stats, most of these playoff teams can hold up OK vs. the run, as 4 of 6 teams are top ten there, with the lowest at 21. But at season's end, only 1 of these 6 teams, Packers, made the top ten vs. passing yards! Yet all 6 rank 13th or more in total sacks (SKOL Vikings No.1!!), and 4 of 6 are in the top ten in INTs (uhg 26th? not so good Vikes!) Looks like big passing yards tend to go around...perhaps it can be said, that most plays are either a huge success for the defense, or a big disappointment and big yardage play allowed!??
And then there is the other all-important, Turn Over Differential. Has your team collected or released the ball more? Cuz, you know, its easier to score when your team has the ball, and usually, the team that scores the most... The NFC has 4 playoff teams in the top ten with Packers, Eagles, and Saints holding the top 3 in the NFL, the Vikings sneak in at 9th, the Cowboys are right in the middle of the pack and the Cards way down at 24th with a Negative 7! Ouch. D'oh! Not a good sign of things to come for this year's Cardinals. I'm beginning to think that they burnt up most of their luck on last year's fairy tale ride. Anyway, ball security is essential vs. offenses that can score at will like this group, and usually whoever wins the TO Diff wins the game, probably even more so in the playoffs!
So, to win in the playoffs, we’re going to need to score some points, and I’m not talking under 20. Our defense can be great, IF our offense can stay on the field. Usually when they do allow a big play, it is late in the game and after they’ve spent an extended time on the field. In addition to ball security will be first downs and time of possession. If we can get down the field and get an early lead, our defense can be very dangerous when in attack mode. So, while I’d love to see Adrian Peterson run, run, run, we’re going to need a lot of passing early (vs. most teams weakness) to keep the chains moving. IF we can get a lead and let the defense loose, then we can likely run, run, run to victory!!
The team I’m the most afraid of is the Packers. It is hard to beat a team 3 times in a season because we know each other so well that it can easily come down to who gets luckier (and calls the most right plays! Doh! da Chiller!), and the Packers have been hot. What’s even scarier? Scanning the rankings, I see a weakness (20+ rank) on every team, except the Packers!
The Vikes and Boys are tough up front and get a lot of sacks, but let up a lot of passing yards and don’t snag many picks. The Eagles OL is all sorts of dinged up and their running game suffers (22). The Cards can’t stop the run (28th!!) and have the worst TO diff. The Saints don’t stop anybody (20+ points, yards, passing and rushing allowed!), unless, they snag an INT (3rd and 3rd in TO diff.) But the friggin Packers lowest ranks are 11th in sacks, and 14th in rushing offense!! And, I’m not sure if he was hurt earlier in the year, but Grant has been a machine lately with 322 yards and 6 TDs in the past 4 games!
So, while I’d love for the Cards to beat the Pack and put them out of our misery, I’m not thinking it’ll happen. In the other game, the Eagles have too many weapons to be shut out 2 weeks in a row, but the Boys are at home and look to be hungry! I’m guessing Dallas will be coming to MN in round 2 as the highest winner from wildcard weekend, and actually, while they have been scary tough lately, I like the matchup better. I trust our D vs. their strength, running the football, and I’m not nearly as afraid of their receivers as I am of all the other NFC playoff teams. On defense, while they are tough vs. the run, they can be beat deep, especially if the Favre can keep the quick zip routes clicking vs. their impressive and aggressive pass rush…Wow, we have a lot in common with these guys, don’t we!??
While the Saints appear to be able to score at will, so does anybody else that plays them. The Packers D is much better and they could come away with another win with just a few stops of the mighty Saints offense and regular trips to the endzone of their own. IF we were able to beat the Boys, that would set up a first ever, one of a kind throw-down for the NFC Championship game between bitter division rivals who just happen to have shared a first ballot HOF QB!!?!!??? OMG!! Just think of the ratings for Farvepalooza III!!!!!!!!!!!!
Too bad we’d probably beat so much snot out of each other that the winner might not have a chance vs. any AFC team in the superbowl, much less their champion!!?? D’OH!! Better hope the Cardinals win this week!!
Control the line, control the time, and give your D a chance to shine!!
"Balance it on end and thats the third side of the coin!!" -wookiefoot