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The Desperation Bowl Is Upon Us



Date: 17 October 2010 Location: Minneapolis, MN
Time: 3:15 PM Central
Stadium: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
DirecTV Ch. 715
Know Thy Enemy: Blogging The Boys
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 27, Cowboys 24
Final Score: Vikings 24, Cowboys 21

Well, we've been talking about it all week, and now it's time for one team's season to all but come to an end this afternoon at the Metrodome. Both of these teams have a ton of talent, but as has been repeated ad nauseum this week, the loser of this one is going to drop to 1-4, and that's a humongous hole to dig out of if you have post-season aspirations.

So, how can the Vikings ensure that it isn't them?

1) Feed off the home crowd - Another story I'm not 100% sure if you've heard about, but today is the first home game for Randy Moss at the Metrodome in five years. Think that the crowd is going to be a little geeked up? I certainly do. The Metrodome is one of the best home field advantages in the National Football League, and the Vikings need to come out with guns blazing. They've yet to score first in any game this season, and doing so this afternoon would do wonders to set the tone for a game that the Vikings absolutely, positively need.

2) Get Adrian Peterson going early - The statistics say that the Cowboys are 12th in the National Football League against the run, but the good folks at Football Outsiders have a bit of a different view.

Look for Minnesota to run it up the middle on the Cowboys. Dallas has been above-average against runs to the sides, but despite the presence of Jay Ratliff at the nose, the Cowboys rank 26th in Adjusted Line Yards against runs up the middle. The Vikings, meanwhile, have gotten their best blocking this year on runs up the middle, ninth in ALY (compared to 16th on all runs).

So, hey, the Vikings like to run the ball up the middle, and the Cowboys kind of stink at defending runs up the middle. I think this could work out well for the Vikings, don't you? If the Vikings can get the NFL's best running back going early, it will help them to open up play-action for Brett Favre to hit Randy Moss and Percy Harvin on the short and medium-range stuff underneath.

3) Make the Cowboys one-dimensional - The Cowboys got down early against the Tennessee Titans last week, and proceeded to immediately abandon their running game and put everything on the shoulders of quarterback Tony Romo. Romo did throw for over 400 yards, but had a couple of big turnovers at key times to keep the Cowboys out of the win column. The Dallas offensive line still isn't terribly good, so if there's a time for Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, and company to get off of the proverbial schnide, this is as good a time as any. If the Vikings can simply pin their ears back and not have to worry about combating Felix Jones and Marion Barber all afternoon, it could be a long afternoon for Romo and the Cowboys.

We need this game, ladies and gentlemen. The Cowboys need this game, too, but. . .well, that's too damn bad. The Vikings are coming back home, the Freak is coming out this afternoon, and the Minnesota Vikings will begin their road to redemption starting in about two hours or so. Thanks for joining us here this afternoon to be a part of it, and here's hoping we get a big post-game celebration afterwards.