- Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Fans, pundits and even honest to goodness football people keep talking about how dominant the Viking defensive front four looked against the Cowboys last week and expect a repeat performance this Sunday down in the Big Easy.
It ain't gonna happen.
Even if defensive end Ray Edwards was at full strength, which he isn't, Drew Brees and company will tear apart the Viking defense. The Vikings were able to rely on the noise in the Metrodome and the loss of Flozell Adams to dismantle the Cowboys offensive line and get to Romo using only four guys. This just won't be happening down in New Orleans. The Vikings will have to blitz to get pressure on Brees, and when they do, Payton and Brees will make them pay.
On the flip side, Brett Favre and the Vikings offense will be able to move the ball against the Saints, especially if Childress and Favre don't fall in love with their passing attack. A healthy dose of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor could pound the porous Saints rushing defense into oblivion. But I just don't see Favre putting his toys away, and sooner or later the environment, the noise and the pressure will get to Favre and the Vikings.
- New York Jets vs Indianapolis Colts
Dallas Clark. That's it. That's your ball game.
The Jets want to pound the ball, limit Manning's opportunities and shorten the game as much as possible. The problem is, you can make the game as short as Peter Dinklage - Manning has shown he will still find a way to put up the points his team needs. Does anyone remember the Monday nighter against the Dolphins? The Phins played keep-away all night. It didn't matter.
Now, the Jets are not the Dolphins. They have the defense to slow the point machine that is Peyton Manning down. More importantly, they have Darrell Revis to match up on Reggie Wayne. After that, it's a solid if unspectacular group of wide receivers.
And then there's the tight end.
Dallas Clark is a match up problem for any team, but against a team that likes to blitz as much as the Jets he's a macthup nightmare. Just when you think you've got the quarterback, he tosses a short pass to Clark for a huge gain where all the blitzers have just come from.
Yes, I'm simplifying. And yes, you know you've seen it a hundred times from Manning and Clark.
I like the Jets' chances. But in the end, even if this turns out to be the low-scoring, bruising affair the Jets want it to be, Manning, as he has so many times before, will make the play that needs to be made at the end to win the game.
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