Sunday is Minnesota's last game before Christmas. Unfortunately, I don't have much time to write you this year; I have my holiday party for work tonight and a family Christmas tomorrow. I would have written to you last night, but I was too busy watching my fantasy playoff dreams getting crushed by Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark. So rather than give you a full analysis of the upcoming Vikings/Panthers game (I know you're an avid reader of the Daily Norseman now that the North Pole has Wi-Fi), I'll give you my wish list for the game and the rest of the Vikings' season:
- I really wish that you could send some good medicine to Percy Harvin for those migraines he's been having. He really wants that Rookie of the Year trophy as a belated Christmas present, and he deserves it. It'd be a shame for him to miss out on his gift just because he missed games at the end of the year. And of course we need him down the stretch and in the playoffs!
- I wish that Matt Moore plays just like Jake Delhomme and sends lots of gifts to our secondary on Sunday night.
- I wish that the Vikings will capture the #1 spot in rushing defense yet again. It's becoming a holiday tradition! And if we can stop DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, it will go a long way towards getting the top rushing defense and winning the game on Sunday.
- I wish that we don't have a game like the last time we were in Carolina in 2005. You remember that game, don't you Santa? Steve Smith went wild on us, Daunte Culpepper played his last game as a Viking thanks to blowing out approximately 17 ligaments in his knee, and Minnesota lost 38-13. Can we make some positive memories this time around?
- I wish that I could see some good ol' fashioned calf roping on Sunday from Jared Allen. He's been a little quiet lately, and I'd like to see him make a late-season push for Defensive MVP. (Otherwise, Charles Woodson is probably going to win, and you know we don't want that to happen.) I just hope that Allen can outperform Julius Peppers and establish his dominance again.
- I wish for a healthy Brett Favre down the stretch and throughout the playoffs. I know, I know--I spent 16 years wishing for the exact opposite thing to happen. You got me there. But you never came through on any of those wishes, so maybe this year you could take my wish into account. Just this once? I vividly remember watching Tarvaris Jackson in the Metrodome during the playoff game against the Eagles last year. There's a very real possibility of that matchup happening again this season, and I'd much prefer to have #4 behind center.
- I wish that Chris Gamble will learn from covering Randy Moss and take most of the plays off this week. He should just let Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian roam free all day. Could you teach Chris that giving space is better than receiving any interceptions?
(More wishes and my Week 15 picks after the jump)
- I wish I didn't have to think about the threat of a nude Pat Williams if we win the Super Bowl this year. Did he really say he'll "retire if the Vikings win the Super Bowl this season and will walk off the field wearing nothing but tights and socks"? Don't get me wrong, if seeing too much of Phat Pat ensures us victory I'm OK with it...but yeesh.
- Speaking of the Super Bowl, I wish that this team wasn't compared to the 1998 Vikings so much. I see the similarities, but I still remember the t-shirt I had when I was a senior in high school. It read "All I Want For Christmas Is A Super Bowl". It pictured Randall Cunningham as you with our offensive line as the reindeer. Obviously that kind of blasphemy upset you. So I don't even want you to think that the two versions of the Vikings are the same, OK?
- I wish that the Vikings will cruise to an easy win on Sunday to secure the 2009 NFC North title and all but lock up a first-round bye for the playoffs.
Thanks Santa! Merry Christmas everyone!
Prediction: Vikings 34, Panthers 13
Oh and one last thing: I wish that all of my Week 15 NFL picks will be right (home team in CAPS):
SAINTS over Cowboys: I wish the Saints would just go ahead and lose a couple games to give us a shot at the #1 seed. But the Cowboys winning in December is going to take much more than a Christmas miracle.
RAVENS over Bears: I wish that Jay Cutler will keep playing like this for years and years to come in Chicago. I never thought Favre's interception record would ever be in jeopardy, but maybe I was wrong...
Patriots over BILLS: I wish that I could turn on ESPN or sports radio and not have to listen to "what's wrong with the Patriots." It's a little drastic for a division-leading 8-5 team.
Cardinals over LIONS: I wish Arizona played like they did in San Francisco when we played them a couple weeks ago. I'd also wish that the Lions weren't such a train wreck, but I enjoy the two victories over Detroit each year.
CHIEFS over Browns: I wish that this game never even existed.
JETS over Falcons: I wish I knew for sure whether Matt Ryan and Michael Turner were playing at 100% this week, because that may sway my pick here.
EAGLES over 49ers: I wish there wasn't a real possibility of Eagles fans flooding Minneapolis for the third straight season. Hearing that "E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!" chant makes me want to repeatedly headbutt a pile of railroad ties.
Texans over RAMS: I wish the Texans wouldn't beat up on awful teams at the end of each season to finish 8-8 and be everyone's "sleeper team" the following year. I also wish Steven Jackson didn't have to waste the prime of an incredible career on a string of the aforementioned awful teams.
TITANS over Dolphins: I wish that both of these teams could make the playoffs, because they're a lot more fun to watch than the other AFC Wild Card options.
BRONCOS over Raiders: I wish the Broncos would win this game, because this is my Eliminator pick and I'm 14-0 so far this year. I also wish I could stop laughing at JaMarcus Russell because he can't even get the start over Charlie Frye this week.
CHARGERS over Bengals: I wish that Chris Henry was still with us, because the Bengals have already had enough to deal with this year after Mike Zimmer's wife passed away. I also wish that if I get one pick wrong this week it's this one. Cincinnati deserves some good news.
SEAHAWKS over Buccaneers: I wish this game took place two years ago when both teams were actually decent.
Packers over STEELERS: I wish the defending champions hadn't completely folded down the stretch so they would actually beat the Packers here.
Giants over REDSKINS: I wish the Giants would just make up their mind about whether they're actually good or not. I never know how to pick their games.
Last week: 11-5
Season so far: 144-65 (including correctly picking Indianapolis last night)