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Raiders at Vikings, Open Thread

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Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Minneapolis, Minnesota

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th+OT F
Raiders 3 16 0 3 22
Vikings 9 10 3 7 29
Oakland Stat Minnesota
136.3 ypg (5th) Rush Offense 172.3 ypg (1st)
154.7 ypg (30th) Pass Offense 152.6 ypg (31st)
293.8 ypg (26th) Total Offense 324.9 ypg (16th)
17.6 ppg (24th) Scoring Offense 18.4 ppg (20th)
144.2 ypg (29th) Rush Defense 75.9 ypg (3rd)
183.2 ypg (4th) Pass Defense 285.8 ypg (32nd)
327.4 ypg (17th) Total Defense 361.8 ypg (29th)
21.6 ppg (20th) Scoring Defense 20.9 ppg (17th)

After last week's pilgrimage to the land of pond scum and vermin, this week the Beloved Purple return to the friendly confines of the Metrodome to take on the Oakland Raiders.

(Seriously, I'd rather spend one year at the Black Hole wearing my Vikings colors and holding a sign that says "RAIDERS SUCK!!" than spend one hour at Corrugated Tin Shack Field.  Wouldn't you?  Wouldn't anybody?)

As you can see, when the Raiders have the football, their strength pretty much plays into our strength, as Lamont Jordan, Dominic Rhodes, and Justin Fargas have given the silver and black a very formidable rushing game thus far.  Their weakness also matches up very nicely with our weakness. . .their pass offense is not so good, and our pass defense is beyond atrocious.  I'd love to have confidence in the pass defense against this Oakland offense, but I'm not going to underestimate the "Daunte Culpepper revenge" factor that's going to be at play here.  That and the fact that our pass defense has made some pretty garbage quarterbacks look like world-beaters (Damon Huard, Brian Griese, Brett Favre, etc.)  That's going to present the most interesting matchup of the afternoon, to be sure.

When the ball comes to our side, the Raiders' weak rush defense is something that the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings will still be looking to take advantage of.  Few teams are as bad against the run as the Raiders are, and if Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore can get going early, it should help Tarvaris Jackson (who's starting. . .again) in the passing game.  As much as Tarvaris Jackson and/or this passing game can be helped, anyway.  I'm not sure if it can be saved at this point.  I'm sure the Raiders will be loading up to stop the run, so Jackson and company are going to have to try to take advantage somehow.

This game's probably going to be pretty ugly, folks, I won't lie to you.  I'm going to pick the Vikings to win this one, but I'm not terribly confident in it.  The main reason I'm picking Minnesota basically falls under the logic of "Hey. . .if they can't win this one, when CAN they win from here on out?"

Gonzo's Final Score Prediction:  Vikings 17, Raiders 16

One last thing I've failed to address. . .this goes out to all the lovely e-mailers and whining message board morons from Green Bay that waste their time whining and crying about my site being "biased."  Is this site "biased?"  It certainly is.  If you don't like it, then you can leave. . .and if you'd be so kind, take the rest of the front-running bandwagon jumpers that comprise 95% of your fan base with you.  "Classiest fans in sports," my ass.  "Most overrated?"  Now that I can believe.  It would be only fitting for the most overrated franchise in professional sports history.

Sorry about that, folks, but a man can only hear so much whining and crying.  That's all I've got to say about that.