|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-3)||GAME #14||MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-11)|
|Date:||18 December 2011||Location:||Minneapolis, MN|
|Time:||12:00 PM Central||Stadium:||HHH Metrodome|
DirecTV Ch. 709
|Know Thy Enemy:||Canal Street Chronicles|
|Chris' Prediction:||Saints 38, Vikings 17|
|Final Score:||Saints 42, Vikings 20|
Yeah. . .I've got no catchy title this morning. Sorry about that.
So, what do the Vikings need to do to have even a ghost of a chance of avoiding 2-12 this afternoon?
1) Get to Drew Brees - As we stated earlier, the Saints give up more sacks on the road than they do at home, and gave up six in their bad road loss a few weeks ago to the St. Louis Rams. Jared Allen is chasing the single-season sack record, and he's probably going to get a lot of extra attention from the New Orleans offensive line today. If that's the case, then other players are going to have to step up and get to the quarterback, or else what already looks to be a long day for the Vikings' secondary is going to get even longer.
2) Hammer the run game - Of course, the Saints won't score many points if Brees is standing on the sidelines, and the way for the Vikings' to do that is to pound away with the run game. That Adrian Peterson fellow is back after missing three games, but even with him being out the last three weeks, the Vikings still have the fourth-ranked rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 145.6 yards/game, and are only one of two teams in the NFL (along with the Philadelphia Eagles) that average more than 5 yards/carry. Whether it's Peterson, Toby Gerhart, or Percy Harvin, the Vikings are going to have to try to shorten the game and pound away on the ground to have a chance in this one. (And please, for the love of everything good, stop handing the ball to Lorenzo Booker.)
3) Look for the tight ends - As a unit, the New Orleans' linebackers have been awful this season (as the Saints fans that have come over this week have attested to), and safety Roman Harper is no great shakes, either. If the Vikings are paying attention and have noticed that sort of thing, this could be the sort of game where Visanthe Shiancoe and, particularly, Kyle Rudolph could play a big role. It's puzzling to a lot of us that Rudolph isn't getting way, way more looks than he is, because he catches pretty much everything thrown his way, but this has the potential to be a breakout game for him.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not expecting a miracle today or anything like that. At best, I'm hoping for this team to continue playing their tails off and not rolling over as we've seen teams do in the past. This team is working towards 2012 already, and hopefully today can give us some positive steps in that direction. I'm not cheering for a loss. . .I can't bring myself to do it, regardless of draft position and all that. . .but I won't be surprised by it when it happens, either.