The Viking Ship - Week 6: Bird Hunting
By: Christopher Torola
A lot of the chatter about the Vikings has been that they are only 5-0 because they have played an easy schedule. True, they have played weak teams, beating the teams they were suppose to beat. The Vikings outscored the Rams, Lions, and Browns by at least 2 touchdowns each. They also beat the Packers quite handily. The game was not as close as the final score indicated, as the Cheese closed the gap by scoring garbage points against an ill-advised Vikings "prevent" defense. The Purple were also able to make a last second come-back against a 49ers team that until last week looked as though they could be a contender. Weak schedule or not, the Vikings have yet to fail to meet a challenge.
Some things you may not realize about the MIGHTY Vikings is just how good they have been playing. They are #1 in scoring in the NFL, even averaging higher than the Giants, who seem to be placed atop most of the power rankings. The Vikes are plus 8 in take-aways against give-aways, also the best in the NFL. The team's defense has totaled more sacks then any other team, and are tied for 6th in interceptions.
The Ravens have lost the last two games they have played, and have yet to beat a team with a winning record. The 3 teams they have defeated are a combined 3-11. The Raven's offense, behind 2nd year quarterback Joe Flacco, is 4th overall in scoring. The defense is 10th in yards per game allowed, but 16th in scores allowed. This would leave me to believe that they have a hard time holding teams to field goals once they reach the red zone.
This weekend's game will feature two of the better offenses in all of the game, however, both teams rely heavily on establishing the running game... and both teams are known to have run stopping defenses. Last week, Bengals' running back Cedric Benson ran for over 100 yards against the Ravens. He is the first to do so since the 2006 season. The Vikings have not allowed a 100 yard rusher since the 2007 season.
One of the biggest differences in this week's game will likely be the play of the quarterbacks. Veteran quarterback Brett Favre has always been known as a gunslinger, willing to take risks with the football to make plays happen. So far this year he has only thrown 2 picks, and only one of those was his fault. He has been much more patient and willing to take a sack instead of trying to force a ball into a tight situation. It probably doesn't hurt being able to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson. Joe Flacco on the other hand has tossed 2 interceptions in the last week alone. He has totaled 5 on the year, and as previously stated, the Vikings have been taking advantage of the turn over battle this year.
I expect a hard hitting game which could lead to high emotions, especially after the Ravens last 2 losses. This could just as easily be a grind it out game as a shoot out. If the Vikings come into this game prepared to battle, I expect them to win it, but they probably can't afford the slow start they've had in the first few games of the season.