UntitledViking.

Some Good Old Midwestern Common Sense

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Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears, Week 2 Preview

WEEK 2 – MIN @ CHICAGO

Heading into week 2, these two franchises are in completely different places.

The Bears are coming off of a comeback win on the road against a very good Bengals team. Their offense, by all accounts, looked considerably more competent in the passing game, despite lower run game production. (This is reasonable to me, since they were playing against the Bengals and Geno Atkins). Rookie Kyle Long looks like he deserves to be a starting NFL offensive lineman, which does not bode well for the Vikings, who couldn’t generate much pass rush last week against even backup offensive linemen. Their defensive line didn’t do much in the pass rush game either, but did hold BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the Bengals run game to 63 total yards.

The Vikings are coming off an absolute Medusa of a loss, marred by bad playcalling, inconsistent [huh, wonder if anyone’s tired of using that word when describing our] quarterback play, and terrible linebacker play. Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson were rated as two of the worst in the league at their respective positions last week.  As I predicted, Reggie Bush looked like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl against us. ALSO as I predicted, Megatron did next to nothing with less than 40 yards receiving and no TDs. So, we can feel good about Chris Cook I guess. Christian Ponder looked a whole lot like another former Vikings QB who donned #7 for us as recently as 2010. Basically, Detroit has always been consistent fodder for the Purple to get two easy, albeit ugly victories every year. When they shred us the way they did on Sunday, I feel it’s natural to have concerns about our team moving forward.

So, onto the prediction: Bears 35, Vikings 20.

Why?

Why? Essentially, the Vikings going to Chicago and getting slapped around is a tradition as old as Festivus. If you have been under a rock (maybe doomsday prepping, salute to the movement) for the past 12 years, the Vikings have won at Soldier Field one time since 2001. The one time they won? Some guy named Peterson ran for two bucks and a quarter and three touchdowns and had a 50 yard kick return late in the game to set up a long field goal by Ryan Longwell to win the game as time expired. That’s right, AD had 224/3TD and we BARELY won. So it’s really a foregone conclusion at this point to this Vikings fan.

How?

Well, pretty much just like the Lions did. Why would a team do anything differently than how the Lions played against us last week?  Defensively, we had zero answer for Reggie Bush, and Matt Forte is just as good in receiving situations as Bush, even if he’s not the same explosive athlete Bush is. Brandon Marshall is the best pure possession receiver in the game for my money, and Alshon Jeffery is coming off of a 5 catch game against a better defense in Cincinnati. New Chicago head coach Marc Trestman was hired because he is a supposed passing guru. Our linebacking core is coming off of an extremely lackluster performance last week, and if your linebackers aren’t good in coverage, you should not be playing a Tampa-2 style defense.

It is my amateur opinion that Brandon Marshall is going to kill us over the middle, and I expect a 10 catch, 100 yard game from him with at least 1 TD. Forte will go for 75-100 on the ground (though with the return of Kevin Williams I want to lean towards the former) and 50+ receiving, and will also get in the end zone. I think Martellus Bennett or Alshon Jeffery will also get in the end zone. Jay Cutler will have one of his good games, throw no picks, go something like 21-28 for 270 and 3TDs and we will get to hear the clichés rain down like softball-sized hail on your brand new Kia Forte. “Gunslinger”, “so much confidence in his arm”, “not scared to challenge the defense.” It will be disgusting. The Vikings may have some success on offense, but I believe the Bears will dominate time of possession in order to win this game.

For the Vikings, I again do not expect Adrian Peterson to eclipse the 100 yard mark, but he will score. I also predict that Cordarrelle Patterson will make his NFL debut in the end zone this weekend, returning or receiving. I think Kyle Rudolph may have a rough go this week again, as Lance Briggs is among the best outside 4-3 LBs in the league. Matt Kalil surprisingly had some trouble with Ziggy Ansah last week, and Julius Peppers isn’t going to go any easier on him this week. If Christian doesn’t start making some quicker reads (and PLS STAHP ROLLING OUT LEFT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE), Mr. Peppers will make all of our game days very sad. I expect him to get to Ponder at least once, and the same for Henry Melton. Oh, and of course be prepared to hear Brian Urlacher’s name about 10 times, as well as hearing about how Peanut Tillman has been stripping Vikings players for the past 10 years.

Sorry for the downer prediction again folks, but I see it clearly! We never win in Chicago! Just enjoy the inevitable shitshow that your Vikings at Chicago game day will be, and SKOL!

Filed under NFL football nfl NFC vikings minnesota chicago bears

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Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions, Week 1 Preview

I just want to preface this preview with a few words. First of all, thank you for reading. Secondly, this is going to be a >optimistic prediction on my part, but please understand I’m just doing my part as a loyal Vikings fan by expecting the worst.

 

WEEK 1 – MIN @ DETROIT

Both teams are heading into week 1 are relatively healthy, with Kevin Williams and Ziggy Ansah’s respective playing statuses still up in the air. These two players are key cogs in their units, and the game could be significantly altered by their prospective absences. Megatron and AD are both coming off respective record-setting years, and each team has retooled part of their offense (HB for DET, WR for MN) in the offseason. Detroit is coming off of a good preseason, while the Vikings have most of their fans wondering if they switched squads with the guys who play in TCF Stadium. The Vikings historically have pretty lethargic or mistake-filled performances that end in tight victories because the Lions have been so bad for so long. With the additional rust from the preseason we’ve shown, I think we wait too long to get out of the gate and have a little “too little, too late” action for the boys in Purple.  Prediction: Lions 31, Vikings 23.  

How?

I don’t think our secondary is ready for the challenge Reggie Bush presents out in the flats. [I do think] People will be hootin’ and hollerin’ about how much we miss Winfield after this one. Reggie is going to end up with only about 60-75 yards rushing, but 100+ receiving, and will leave a trail of Vikings defensive backs in his wake in the process. Megatron has been surprisingly bearish in his career against the Purple, but he’s always a fantasy lock. If there were ever a team to sit him against based on past performance, however, it is the Vikings.

Christian Ponder, until substantial proof to the contrary is accumulated over this season (hopefully), is just a Caucasian Tarvaris Jackson to me. He has the same jittery feet in the pocket and tuck-and-run mentality when he senses any pressure, along with a similar “WHAT THE F@#$ WAS HE DOING OUT THERE?” style of decision making at times. So until I see otherwise in more than just one, two, or three straight games, that’s what he’ll be capable of to me. T-Jack things. Sick, I know. On a brighter note, I think Kyle Rudolph catches a TD in this game while AD gets held under 100 yards to start the season.

How I Could Be Wrong:

 Now, if Jared Allen can abuse Riley Reiff and our corners can come up and make secure tackles on Reggie Bush in space, I believe we win this game. The Lions are weak in their secondary and their offensive line, so if we expose and exploit both of those units, we will win undoubtedly. If we are all over Stafford but can’t pass the ball on offense, it will be a toss-up. If we throw all over the Lions but can’t stop them from doing the same, it is also a toss-up. Finally, if we exploit neither their weak offensive line for sacks, hurries, and tackles for loss or their secondary for explosive plays, we will surely fall. Have a great gameday, y’all. I hope I’m wrong on this one.  SKOL, my Norse brethren! NFL FOOTBALL IS BACK!

Filed under nfl vikings lions nfc football ziggy ansah kevin williams reggie bush matthew stafford christian ponder tarvaris jackson adrian peterson kyle rudolph jared allen skol detroit minnesota sports calvin johnson megatron

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AFC 2012 Recap and 2013 Preview

2012 AFC Playoff Recap:

AFC:

The Bengals came and went like they always do, but good job and good effort to Andy Dalton. Hopefully AJ Green gets some offensive help someday, because their defense is awesome (hai Geno Atkins).The Texans followed suit shortly thereafter, and won’t get anywhere with Matt Schaub at quarterback. They can never win when it matters! It is so awesome to watch.  They’re like the Vikings of the south and that makes me happy. Fuck you Texas for stealing the North Stars, you non-hockey watching, 10 gallon hat-wearing moth… pardon me, I blacked out. Low blood sugar, you see.  Anyways, where was I… Joe Flacco turned in a playoff performance that was arguably the greatest postseason by a quarterback in NFL history, got PAID for it handsomely, and probably should put Rahim Moore’s children through college when it’s all said and done. The Patriots made their way through an easy division to a top seed, only to get schooled in their own house for the second straight year, with no assists from Lee Evans or Billy Cundiff to be had. Then the Ravens won the Super Bowl after Ray Lewis drowned the rest of the NFL in tears from his postgame interviews and since he had been warned of this by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he already had a boat ready for all his homies. No, but really, he wiped the Cheeto dust of the Lord onto Jacoby Jones’ jersey, and the rest is history.

Division winners:

Ravens – They replaced Ray Lewis with a player who has been outplaying him the last few years in Daryl Smith, Dannell Ellerbe with one of the most talked about prospects at LB in Arthur Brown, and replaced Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard with Matt Elam and Michael Huff. Anquan Boldin leaves Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones to take responsibility in the receiving core, and now Joe Flacco is going to show us if the postseason he is coming off of was just an aberration, or if he is as elite as his paychecks would suggest. I think Torrey Smith takes the next step into 2nd tier WR stardom, and the defense to be greatly improved for a repeat AFC North championship. I would give them 4:1 odds to make the AFC Title Game.

Texans – No one is better than them in their division, yet. They got better at WR with Deandre Hopkins, who I think will be very good in his first year, and their vaunted defense is all healed up after having many key players injured for most or all of the year. They will still fall short in the playoffs because Matt Schaub, so I would give odds of 9:2 to make the AFC Title Game.

 Patriots – Kind of what I said above. The Pats are in an awful division. The Bills are the Bills, the Jets are a reality TV show, and the Dolphins might be able to threaten them once Tom Brady retires, but probably not before that. Brady might get the MVP this year if they do well based on a whole “he did so much without any weapons” storyline, and of course ignoring the fact that his division stinks.  12 game winner and I’d give 3:1 odds they make the AFC Title Game.

 Broncos – The Broncos have a possible MVP winner with Peyton Manning, and just added the best slot WR of this decade to Demarius Thomas and Eric Decker. It doesn’t hurt their cause that the Raiders and the Chargers are going to lose more than 10 games each this year, and the Chiefs just got done picking 1st overall in the draft. Very likely AFC Title Game participant in my opinion would give 3:2 odds on it, and if Von Miller can stop popping Molly they might even make the big one.

Wild Cards

Bengals- The Bengals are close here. They should have a great defense behind Leon Hall and Geno Atkins, who is possibly the best DT in football. Vontaze Burfict and Dre Kirkpatrick are huge talents that should be more comfortable this year, and they have a top 5 wideout/top 2 deep threat in AJ Green.  However, outside of Dalton and Gresham (which are marginal) the offensive talent doesn’t leave me convinced they can overtake the Ravens for the AFC North.

Indianapolis – One could argue the Dolphins or the Chiefs for the same reason I chose Indy – it is a decent team in a bad division- but I think the Andrew Luck will take a big step forward in his development this year along with T.Y. Hilton, and will be good enough for the one of the two wild cards again. Also, Jerry Hughes is going to be someone who you hear about this year when you hear about the Colts.  

More to come! Still NFC and award winner predictions tomorrow! Thank you for reading. - LaJoe Walton

Filed under afc afc east afc north afc south afc west new england patriots broncos denver colts baltimore ravens bengals nfl

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NFC 2012 Playoff Recap and 2013 Regular Season Preview

2012 NFC Playoff Recap:

The Vikings and Packers made their way into the playoffs riding the coattails of a handful of amazing individual performances from Blair Walsh, 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson and Aaron Rodgers, but fell short against deeper competition. Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil, along with Casey Hayward all made strong cases for being future standout players at their positions moving forward as well. RG3 and Russell Wilson caught the outer glow of the spotlight after leading their teams into the playoffs as rookies, and not looking at all like rookies in the process. While Seattle’s secondary solidified itself as one of the elite units in the league both in trash talk and in play, the Redskins did exactly the same with their running game.  The Falcons were a powerhouse again, showing an improved secondary with Pro Bowlers William Moore and Brent Grimes, and Julio Jones coming into his own as a bonafide star in the league, but came up one Matty Ice moment short of reaching the Super Bowl. The 49ers had an unlikely road to the title game headlined by a greenhorn quarterback, shrouded in ink, with legs like Vick, a fastball like Favre, and the most talented defense in the league. They came up 5 yards short in one of the most dramatic Super Bowl finishes in recent memory.

2013 Awards and Postseason Predictions

MVPTom Brady. Peyton could win this too, but if Tom gets 4000 yards, >30 TDs and <10 INTs, the voters will need a record-breaking performance to stop them from giving it to the Golden Boy.

DPOYAldon Smith. Smith (arguably) is the best pure pass rusher in the league, playing on a team that figures to have a lot of leads. I believe he could challenge the single season sack record this year. Fuck it, I say Aldon Smith is going to break the single season sack record on his way to a DPOY award in 2013. Quote me. J.J. Watt will be runner up, with Peanut Tillman, Luke Kuechly and Cameron Wake.

OPOYAaron Rodgers. Rodgers carries his team to the playoffs again, but doesn’t win his division and has better receivers than Brady, despite better stats he cannot get the MVP and has to settle for the OPOY.

DROYJon Bostic. Bostic will be in the middle of a veteran Bears defense and should have plenty of opportunities to make plays. Linebackers also seem to win this award frequently, but hell, maybe that’s just me. Dion Jordan and Jarvis Jones are also potential winners.

OROYTavon Austin. Tavon will get more touches than a player like Cordarrelle Patterson or Deandre Hopkins will get, and I don’t think any quarterbacks from this year are going to break out. Eddie Lacy will have a legitimate shot at it as well.

Coach of the YearMarc Trestman, Trestman leads the Bears to their per-decade quota of 1 NFC North title in his first year at the helm, and will get this award for managing to do it in his first year, with a still-awful O-Line.

NFC North

 Bears – The Bears have been playoff-caliber the past two years, and with a new offensive scheme and fresh up and comers on defense in Jon Bostic and Henry Melton, I think this is the year they will take the North division on a tiebreak. I would put their NFC Title game hopes against 20:1 odds.

NFC South

Buccaneers- Yes, I believe the Bucs are going to win the NFC South. They have been adding to the team the past few years with some big signings, and the South is a particularly cyclical division. Doug Martin is a back in the Ray Rice mold – sturdy, quick, powerful and versatile - and he has a very good line in front of him. Dashon Goldson is a huge addition to the back end of the defense, and they have a lot of young talent in the front 7 with Lavonte David being one of my favorites. I honestly think it’s very possible 3 teams could win this division, so I’ll acknowledge this shot in the dark. NFC Title game odds: 30:1

NFC West

49ers –This team is loaded. They are about 4 deep with quality running backs, 5-6 deep with quality pass-catchers, a quarterback that has all the potential in the world and a defense that is the stingiest of the past few years, and still improving with players like Navarro Bowman and Aldon Smith. Smith sets the sack record this year, 49ers snag the number 1 seed in the playoffs and I would put their NFC Title game hopes at 5:2 odds.

NFC East

Cowboys – This is kind of an unpopular pick I would imagine, but the NFC East is wide open with the Eagles being the likely bottom feeder on paper. Dez Bryant is going to be a top 5 wideout in the league this year, Morris Claiborne will make the Pro Bowl at cornerback, and Dallas will roll to a 10-6 record. I would put their NFC Title game hopes at 25:1 odds.

Wildcards

Packers- It’s just going to be a bitch to keep Aaron Rodgers out of the playoffs if he has any wideouts that can catch and an OL that can keep him off of his ass for more than 3 seconds at a time. I’ve accepted this as a Vikings fan. Their defense has been great, their defense has been awful, but they win regardless because of Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is a 14 year old playing GTA 3 and Christian Ponder is like the 6 year old brother who doesn’t know any of the cheat codes. Oh, and I bet Eddie Lacy runs over a couple Vikings and Lions cornerbacks this year.  They are still working with a mediocre offensive line, though, so I say NFC Title game odds are 10:1.

Falcons – There’s too much talent here to keep them out of the playoffs, but with the return of Sean Payton to the Saints sideline I do believe, I say yessuh I do believe there will be a resurrection of sorts in the Big Easy that will give the Falcons an extra playoff game to get to the Super Bowl. I’m thinking they’ll go 11-5 and the tiebreaker will go to the Saints. What, am I supposed to be talking about the Falcons in this space? Julio Jones is good. So are Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White. Matt Ryan is a great regular season quarterback who is prone to the same types of mistakes Eli Manning makes at times, so maybe he will also win a Super Bowl this year, who knows? I put NFC Title game odds at 5:1 for the Falcons.

Filed under nfl nfl football football vikings packers seahawks falcons redskins cowboys bears chicago green bay packers buccaneers san francisco 49ers 49ers