How shall the New York football Giants beat the Minnesota Vikings today? Let me count the ways.
If I had a smidgen of confidence in our offense, I might have hope that the Vikes could pull out a win today. But I don’t. If they want to have any chance at a wild card spot this season, the Vikings need to beat the Giants today. I just do not think they are capable of a victory over a Giants squad whose 7-3 record is far less impressive than it looks.
The Giants wins have come at the expense of such NFL powerhouses as Washington, Philadelphia, the Jets, Atlanta, the 49ers, the Dolphins and last week against the reeling Lions. Their losses have been against good teams: Twice to the Cowboys and once to the Packers. And the Green Bay loss was during the second week of the season, when the Pack was not nearly as good as they are now.
If the Giants have proved anything this year, it’s that they can beat bad teams. Lucky for them, they face the Minnesota Vikings today.
The Giants Running Game
Will be nonexistent. With New York down to their third down back, Ruben Droughns, the Giants will not seriously commit to the run. They will beat the Vikings as everyone does, through the air.
The Giants Passing Game
New York tight end Jeremy Shockey will eat up the Vikings D underneath today. They will take advantage of the Vikings’ Cover 2 deep defenders by challenging Minnesota’s linebackers to cover underneath, of which they haven’t proved capable.
With Antoine Winfield out, rookie corner Marcus McCauley will be challenged just as much as his fellow corner, Cedric Griffin. I expect the Giants will pick on Griffin–since everyone seems to do that–by matching him up against the 6’5" Plaxico Burress. That’s a match-up against which Griffin simply cannot physically succeed.
The Vikings Running Game
The only way the Vikings will have a chance is if they eat up the clock with long, run-dominated drives that end in scores. With Adrian Peterson apparently warming the bench today, that effort will be much harder. Chester Taylor proved he could run for far more than 100 yards last week, but he’s still no Adrian Peterson.
If the Vikings offensive line and receivers run block as they have since the Chicago game, they certainly could execute a time-consuming, run-mostly strategy.
The Vikings "Passing" Game
When the Vikings are in passing situations, the Giants can be counted on to bring maximum pressure on Sidney Ri—um, Tarvaris Jackson.
What does it say about Tarvaris Jackson that our first passing play last week was thrown by our wide receiver, Sidney Rice? What does it say about Jackson that our longest pass play from scrimmage this year was thrown by our wide receiver, Sidney Rice? What does it say about Jackson that the first red zone pass by Jackson last week, from the three yard line, resulted in a drive killing interception?
With left tackle Bryant McKinney matched up against speed rusher Osi Umenyiora and right tackle Ryan Cook taking on Michael Strahan and still having to account for middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, Jackson is nearly certain to have a defender all up in his grill on every passing play.
And he has yet to prove he can handle that pressure. What he has proved is that he’s indecisive and there’s no reason to believe he’ll anything other than indecisive as well today. That indecision will result in sacks or interceptions today.
A loss today means the effective end to the Vikings’ 2007 season. Sadly, we’ll be playing for picks from here on out.