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Open Thread, Jets at Vikings

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New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Minneapolis, Minnesota

First off, we've passed 8,000 hits here at the Daily Norseman!  Lucky #8,000 was someone from Shreveport, Louisiana.  Strangely, they got to this site by doing a MySpace search for Matt Infante.  All apologies to whoever it is. . .but Matt's house is a couple of blocks down from here.  But, hey. . .hits is hits.

Anyway, on to the football.

Well, folks, here we are. . .second to last home game of the year, playing an opponent that's on our level with our playoff hopes hanging in the balance.

No pressure, huh?

I, personally, have never seen the Vikings beat the Jets.  How is that possible, you ask?  It's possible due to the fact that the last time the Vikings beat the Jets, the year was 1975.  Yours truly was born in September of 1976 (at halftime of a Vikings' game, no less. . .how's that for destiny?)  In fact, the Vikings' all-time record against the Jets is 1-6-0.  So, I've never seen the Minnesota Vikings beat the New York Jets.  I do, however, have a feeling that this will change today.

(Incidentally, the Vikings won their game on the day of my birth, 10-9 over the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome.  The Lions scored what should have been the tying touchdown at the end of the game, but proceeded to screw up the snap on the extra point to give the Vikes the win.  That sounds familiar from somewhere.  Anyway, back to today's game.)

The Jets' run defense is, to take a phrase from Bill Walton, "turrible.  Simply turrible."  They're currently 26th in the NFL against the run, allowing 4.6 yards per carry (only 4 NFL teams are worse) and nearly 140 yards per game.  The Vikings, regardless of who's been running the football, have gone over 150 yards rushing in each of the past 3 games.  Hopefully, this will translate into a game plan where the Vikings run the football all day long and pound the Jets into the ground.

Meanwhile, we all know about the awesomeness of the Vikings' run defense.  They give up almost two full yards less per carry than the Jets do, and since this isn't the year 1999 and I don't see Curtis Martin in the backfield in green and white, I don't expect the Jets to be the team that finds a way to gash Minnesota on the ground.

Against the pass, the Jets aren't a whole lot better, ranking at 17th in the NFL.  That's higher than the Vikings rank (26th), but again the Vikings' pass defense ranking is skewed.  They rank 13th in the NFL in yards allowed/attempt (6.23) and are 5th in the NFL in opposing quarterback rating (70.5).  Meanwhile, the Jets are allowing about the same yards/attempt as the Vikes (6.27) and an opposing QB rating of 76.6, which is pretty good as well.

The team that wins this game will be the team that forces the other team to abandon their running game and put the pressure on that team's quarterback.  Chad Pennington hasn't been spectacular or anything this year. . .in fact, he's already set a personal record for INTs in a season (15) and has shown a tendency to put the ball on the ground this year.  Granted, Pennington hasn't been Brad Johnson-bad or anything (then again, who has?), but he hasn't been anything spectacular, either.

If a game involving the Vikings is going to come down to run defenses, that makes the choice a relatively easy one.

Gonzo's Final Score Prediction:  Vikings 23, Jets 13

Approximately 1:45 to game time, ladies and gentlemen. . .be here!