Coming into this game, I thought that the Packers would emerge victorious. When I had predicted that outcome back on the first day of September, I figured that at this point, the Packer would've fallen to earth, a.k.a. 6-4 at the best. With them coming in at 8-2, and having seen them play a few games earlier in the year, I thought that they were the better team. And maybe I would've had more faith in the Vikings if I thought they could replicate what they did to the Chargers.
When the game started, I saw how the defense was on the first drive and I just nodded to myself. First play was a 37 yards strike to Davante Adams, and I thought that was a prelude of how this game would go. Fortunately for the Vikings, that play was an aberration, not the norm. At least in the first half, anyways.
The Vikings came out and responded with a FG of their own, and it was a joy to see Kirk actually throw the ball into risky situations. I've heard some people complain about the risk taking. I see that as a good sign. This is a team that needs to be risky, needs to take chances to win against these good teams. I was even more pleasantly surprised to see the defense actually do a thing, and hold the Packers scoreless until the final 30 seconds of the half. The offense looked good, really good. They called good plays almost all the time (looking at you 3rd and 1 pitch to CJ Ham). And once we got up on them, the momentum of the game was squarely in our hands, and I never thought that the Packers would win that game.
However, I did think that they would put up a fight, and they did. The only reason the Packers scored a TD towards the end of the game was because of poor play calling. I would love to hear Klint's reasoning for a pitch to the FB on a 3rd and 1, with a chance to try and put a boot to the throat of the Packers. Luckily for everybody watching cheering the purple, that was really the only blip of bad play calling all day, as far as I'm aware.
I loved that we came out of the half swinging with a pass play, and that 7 minute drive was beautiful. What wasn't as beautiful was the fact that the Vikings defense decided that they had finished their jobs early. The Packer came right down the field, converting a 1st and 20 to start that drive and they marched right down the field in 5 minutes to bring the game back to a 6-pt lead.
The Vikings offense went out and responded with a valiant effort, but got stymied at the Packers 40 yard line, before Cousins got sacked and we were forced to punt. The Packers came right back down the field and scored, and all of a sudden, we were trailing by one in a game that we had dominated in. That didn't sit well with me, and it must not have sat well with the players as they went right down the field on a methodical 5 1/2 minute drive ending in a TD and a 2pt conversion. That drive was a thing of beauty. What wasn't a thing of beauty was the fact that one Packers pass play later, we were tied.
But, I didn't look at that and go 'we're doomed'. My mind went to a line from the movie The Replacements: "Winners always want the ball... when the game is on the line.". I saw it as a chance for this team to establish that they aren't some average team, or underachievers. This was their chance to go out and prove to others, and perhaps to themselves, that they were winners. And goddammit, they did. They passed their way down the field and and they got as close to the endzone as they could while also draining the clock down to nearly nothing. One kick, and all of a sudden, the Vikings had bested probably one of the best teams in the NFL right now.
The road to get to that point was not a road lightly traveled. There was a near fatal hiccup right at the onset, but I don't blame them for making that call at all. Savage had that ball dead to rights, and just couldn't maintain control of it. When you play aggressive, you leave yourself open for plays like that. But, you also leave yourself open for a play like the pass to Thielen that even I was shocked by. That was a close pass. Had the defender been 2 feet back, that might've been a pick-6, but instead it turned into a 26-yard gain that essentially gave the win to the Vikings. As someone who has said that they want the offense to take more chances, plays like that are exactly what I want to see, both the good and the bad, because to me that means you believe that even if this goes bad, you can come back from it. Another quote from The Replacements that I felt was rather appropriate for this game is: "You know what separates winners from losers?......Getting back on the horse after getting kicked in the teeth.". Cousins doesn't' normally get back on the horse after a near INT, and it was a breath of fresh air to see him get back on it after each and everyone of those near INT's, and it was nice to see the better team come out on top.
Of course, there were some poor performances, mainly from our starting safeties. Xavier Woods has been good for most of the year, but what the hell happened in this game? Well, I think a good look is on the 75-yard TD pass that wound up being the Packers final possession. If you watch that play, it looks like both Smith and Woods were supposed to keep the top on the offense, but for some, inexplicable reason, Harry charges into the center of the field, leaving nobody behind Davante, and Woods all by himself. Now, I don't know how many of those situations there were, but I think a majority of our 2nd half defensive woes can be placed on those two players.
Also, a note that came up from my dad as we were watching the game was that he would explain to his coworkers, many of whom were Packer fans that whenever there was a 50/50 call on the field, the Packers got 70% of them called in their favor. Watching that game, it was weird to see that we were in that range, and I imagine that it was a new experience for Packer fans. 8 Penalties for 92 yards, to the Vikings 3 for 25, and most 50/50 calls went our way. It was nice to be on the other side for once.
Now, the Vikings are back up to .500, and they've beaten two good teams. The Packers will still more than likely win the division, and the Chargers will be an AFC Wild Card team, and regardless of what people here may say, they are a good team. And if you look at the track record of this team so far, in all of the games where they faced good teams, of which there are 7 (only the SeaHawks, Lions and Panthers are bad), we've gone 2-5, but we easily could have gone 4-3 or even 5-2. This makes me conflicted, because I don't think this team could win the Super Bowl if it got into the playoffs. However, there isn't a single team in the NFL that scares me. The Chiefs are mortals now, the Bills are dying out, The Titans have lost to the Jets and Texans, We beat the Chargers, and the Patriots look just as mortal as the Chiefs do, and if you look at the entire AFC North, we could've won each and every game. If you look at the NFC, we should've beat the Cardinals, we beat the Packers, the Bucs look mortal and the Rams are seemingly in a funk.
There isn't one team in this league that I don't think the Vikings can't beat. If they play like they did against the Packers. And that right there, is the biggest '?' of all. Will the Vikings continue to utilize the offense as they have done the last two weeks? I don't know, but sounds like that's the goal. As Zimmer said in his press conference, he wants Kirk Cousins to continue to do what he has done the last two weeks. Kirk Cousins, however, said he thought they were being too aggressive. And you know what I think? I think whether Cousins wants to or not, Zimmer's gonna make him take those chances, and I couldn't be happier. Justin Jefferson is to this team what Randy Moss was to us in the early 2000's, and we better keep throwing to him.
But, I'm not a believer in this team. They've been inconsistent all year. The first three games showed a good team, which was followed 3 straight dogwater performances, followed by a mediocre performance in Baltimore made me think the wheels were just after to come off. Instead, the good team from weeks 1-3 showed up and they looked better. If they can become consistent, then we'll have something. As was said a few times in our house as the game was going, "It's not who you face, but when you face them". I'd rather get hot at the end of the season and carry that momentum into the playoffs, instead of blowing our load in the beginning and missing out due to us running out of steam. And I'm not quite sure which one we are. We started out strong, offensively anyways, and then fell off a cliff. They've come back, but until they can make it reliable, I will hold my expectations.
NFL Week 11 Predictions:
- Week 11 Predictions: 12-4
49ers vs Jaguars
The 49ers are our challengers this upcoming Sunday, and they have looked good the last two games. The blew the doors off the Rams and did so against the Jags, although one of those is far more prestigious than the other. The 49ers are going to be a challenge, mainly for our O-Line, as they were in the NFC Divisional Round two years ago. The Vikings O-Line was bad against the Packers, and Cousins was fighting for his life, and he still was the better QB on Sunday. I don't know if they pressure will be worse, but i think it'll definitely be a factor this Sunday.
Steelers vs Chargers
We have yet to face the Steelers, the final AFC North competitor on the list, and they lost to the Chargers. That game, was wild. At the start of the 4th, the Chargers were winning 27-10. Yes, a grand total of 41 points was scored in the 4th quarter alone. But, I've seen some of the Steelers games and I will say this: they either play up to potential or they don't. They are the Vikings of the AFC, and they are not scary in the slightest. The Chargers are teh better team, and it showed in this game, and we beat the Chargers. The Steelers should be no different.
NFL Week 12 Predictions:
Looking at this week, I think that there are quite a few games that will go different.
Chargers vs Broncos
The Chargers are the better team throughout the year, and the Broncos seem almost dead in the water.
Panthers vs Dolphins
The Dolphins are resurging and the Panthers are relying on Cam Newton. Newton looked good, but I think that the Dolphins will continue their desperate clamber back to the playoffs.
Cowboys vs Raiders
The Raiders have been through a lot this year, and I don't think that they are in the right place mentally, and their slide to the bottom of the league is happening
Washington vs Seahawks
The Seahawks, I believe, are effectively dead in the water, and I thin that Washington is in a better place and will come out ahead.
Vikings vs 49ers
I think that the Vikings will continue their aggressive ways and handily defeat the 49ers, 38-21.
- September 1st Regular Season Predictions: 90-85
- Revised Predictions: 6-8
- Week 1: 8-8
- Week 2: 11-5
- Week 3: 12-4
- Week 4: 12-4
- Week 5: 9-7
- Week 6: 4-12
- Week 7: 5-11
- Week 8: 6-10
- Week 9: 8-7
- Week 10: 3-13
- Week 11: 12-4
For those who want to make their own predictions, I use this: NFL Playoff Predictor.
I am interested to see what you're opinions are of the game the Vikings had, as well as what you expect for the next week of football, not just from the Vikings, but around the entire league. Do you have any upsets in mind for this coming week, or are things going to be quite predictable?
Question for the readers: Do you believe that the Vikings will continue their aggressive stance on offensive, or regress to what it was prior to the Chargers game?