This game was closer than I thought it was going to be. I was expecting something closer to the drubbing Atlanta gave us last year, and for a few hot seconds, it seemed like that was the way it was going to go, until Zac Taylor made a call that was surprising: Going for it on 4th and 1 on his own 30.
I, for one, am actually a big fan of the decision. It was the 3rd quarter, they were only up by 14 points and the Bengals had proven they could run on us very well if they wanted. Had Joe Mixon not slipped on the turf directly after getting the ball, he very well could have made it. I mean, he almost made it anyways, even with him slipping and having to regain his balance, so what if he had that extra second? I'd imagine they'd have continued and a least gotten a field goal, but they would've had to go 30 more yards after the conversion just for an attempt at one, so who knows what would've happened?
We do know that the failure to convert gave the Vikings prime real estate, which we almost squandered, until a 4th and 4 slant route by Theilen got us a touchdown to tighten the game to a touchdown. And had it not been for that call by Zac Taylor, I don't think this game would've been as close as it was, not even going into OT. But that's just speculation.
I will say one thing though: The team that played on Sunday, deserved to lose. You can't come out looking that flat and turn in that kind of performance and come out with a win. And it's about the performance that I expected. Two weeks ago, I predicted that the Vikings would lose this game and said:
The offense looked bad from a performance standpoint and from a play-calling standpoint. These are two things that will get better as the season progresses (hopefully), but for the first live fire game that matters, our top 4 offensive play-makers either got hurt or haven't touched the ball yet, and our 'leader' of the offense has looked horrible in the two games he did play in. This is a trap game, and we'll lose. I hope I'm wrong, but I've seen nothing from the offense that did play and am not expecting guys who got hurt or didn't play at all to come in and play at a high level immediately.
And wouldn't you know who won the pony?
Now, to be fair, Klint Kubiak did call some plays that I liked. The JJ pass to Osborn was a nice play that would've gained more yards had JJ thrown about 3 seconds earlier. We ran some slants, which worked out pretty well, but we did continue the trend of running on 2nd and 1. To me, that is a passing down. Why try and get a 1st down right away, when the defense knows that's what you're going to do? Do a play action and actually try to gain some yards, and if you fail, it's 3rd and 1.
Nick Vigil performed better than I anticipated and, like Kendricks, was everywhere he needed to be. KJ Osborn had a great game, and I'm feel safe in calling him WR3. Ezra Cleveland was the last O-Lineman to get penalized, which shouldn't be a positive, but with how the O-Line were flag magnets yesterday it was noticeable. Dalvin Cook still looks like one of the best RB's in the league, and Theilen had a good game as well. Kirk Cousins, for as much as I don't like the way he plays or how much he gets paid, actually led the team back down the field and got them into FG range and helped send the game into OT. The entire Special Teams Unit looked like they belonged on a professional field which is a breath of fresh air.
The bad, I think, is apparent to everybody on this forum, so I won't get into that rabbit hole. I will say however, that while I do believe that the call on the field of Cook's fumble was wrong, I understand why they didn't overturn it. From a comment on a post, I said:
The call would've gone to whoever the refs gave it to, as there would be no clear view of either situation happening.I think he was down, but the main issue comes from the question of "was the ball moving when his ass hits the ground?". We can show stills the whole time, but that doesn't answer the question, and isn't helped when the ball comes out, definitively, right after. If it had been ruled as down, it'd have been upheld with no evidence to overturn, and the opposite is (and was) true as well. This is one of those situations where the refs made a call, with the belief that if it were a fuck-up, it'd be fixed by review. Problem is, no clear angle of the ball is available that answered the above question.
Although, that fumble is not why we lost the game.
That's the long and short of it, whether you agree or not. Had the roles been reversed, whatever the refs called on the field would've stood. It sucks that the game came down to that, but to say that's why we lost is only focusing on the last 3-4 minutes of the game. The Bengals, despite being the worse team, played better over the course of the game then we did, and were rewarded for their efforts with a victory.
Unfortunately, with the Vikings loss, I was right on one of my 16 predictions. By the end of the football week, I went 8-8. My predictions are below.
Steelers vs Bills
The Bills had the upperhand on the Steelers until the 2nd half, in which the Steelers came back and upset the Bills. The Steelers Defense looked good, and the offense woke up in the 2nd half, and their special teams were crucial to their victory. I expected the Steelers to be the worst team in that division, going 5-12, but after that performance, I'm unsure if they will be below the Bengals. We'll see how they continue on through the season, but we'll be meeting them come Week 14.
Seahawks vs Colts
I was expecting more out of the Colts, but the Seahawks effectively shut them down and won, with a great showing from Chris Carson and Russell Wilson. I had this being a loss for them, and if they are able to replicate the same performance, I'd imagine that they'd beat us come Week 3.
Cardinals vs Titans
This to me was the true shocker of the weekend. I've never been a fan of Kyler Murray or Kingsbury. I'm a big fan of Tannehill, dating back to his last year in college, so I was hoping for a good performance, but like Kirk, he relies on a strong running game to get going, and the Cardinals absolutely stone-walled Derrick Henry, which forced the offense to start passing more, which in turn led to their All-Pro LT Taylor Lewan getting demolished by Chandler Jones. If they can do that to the Titans, who have a much better O-Line than we do, what in God's name awaits us come this Sunday? I expected a loss due to Kyler Murray's agility (in a hard fought close match-up), but after the drubbing they handed the Titans, a team modeled very similar to ours, I find it hard to imagine the Vikings winning Week 2.
Packers vs Saints
Now, let me get one thing straight: Out of the other 3 teams in this division, I dislike the Packers the most. I have family that roots for the Bears so it's always been more like a friendly match, The Lions are the Lions, and the Packers fans are probably the more annoying thing about them, so they're the bottom by default. But I don't hate them. I definitively hate the Saints and Sean Payton.
So, in a very rare day, I was actually hoping the Packers would beat them. But Jesus Christ, what was that? It's like the Packers didn't even want to play, and handed the Saints a victory. I don't think that's the Packers team that'll be around when we face them, but I never expected them to be World Beaters, like every NFL pundit seems to believe. I thought they'd be good enough to win the division, but dear lord, after that performance they gave (and how hard the Lions fought against the 49ers), I'd have a hard time believing that the Packers would be ahead of the Lions, just based off the performances of each team.
Now, you might wonder why I would want the Saints to lose, but picked them to win. Well, there's a difference between what I want to happen and what I expect to happen. I wanted the Vikes to win and I wanted the Packers to beat the Saints, and sometimes, you can't get what you want.
These are my predictions for Week 2 from August 31st.As you can see, I expected the Vikings to lose before seeing how we'd perform and how they'd perform, and after the first week, I'm more confident in my prediction than before, although I hope that I am proven wrong.
Now, I contemplated about changing them week-to-week, but I'm going to stay the course with my original predictions, and give comments on which one's I think change week to week, which won't count for the final tallies. For Week 1, I went 8-8, perfect .500 ball. Based on what I see here, there are a few games where I think things change.
Broncos vs Jags
I had the Jags winning, but after Week 1, I find that the Broncos are the better team, and expect them to win this game. Teddy looked good commanding the Bronco's offense, while Lawerence did not.
Raiders vs Steelers
I never have high hopes for the Raiders. At the end of all my season predictions, they always end up at aroun 10-7/9-8 and miss the playoffs. I think this Raiders team has a shot at making it this year, but the Steelers are looking better than I had thought they would. I think this will be a good match-up between two potential Wild Card teams, and maybe a playoff match-up down the road. I had the Steelers winning, but I think the Raiders come out on top.
Lions vs Packers
Dan Campbell coached his first game on Sunday, and the team hung with the 49ers for much of the first half, until falling behind by a wide margin, getting to a deficit of 28. They fought, and fought hard to come back, and had a shot at the end to tie it against a good, potentially great, 49ers team. That's something that's good to have: the ability to come back despite tough odds for a shot at victory. It's something I don't think the Vikings could do, yet a team I view to be inferior did just that. I think come this Sunday, the Lions will shock the Packers, and be in the lead of the NFC North, at least until the beginning of Week 3.
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?