And yes, the Vikings are still more balanced than the Saints
On Thurday night, Brad Childress said that Brett Favre sees things during a game that even coaches miss. You know that means? It means the Vikings are humming a beautiful harmonious tune and on their way to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1976.
Two months ago, I would have said the Cowboys would have been smoked. Last week the Vikings did just that. Frankly, the little extra touchdown pass from Brett Favre to rub it in a little didn't bother me in the slightest. During the glory years of the early 90's, Dallas did that sort of thing with regularity. Actually, all superior teams in the NFL do it. Karma, schmarma; just win and win big and let everyone know you're going to keep playing to the final gun. Let's just say that America's Team and the most arrogant owner in the NFL, Jerry Jones, just got a taste of what it's like to end a hot streak that was based on playing the Eagles and catching the Saints flat-footed. Also, screw Dallas. Rooting for that team is like rooting for Coca Cola and Bechtel.
The Saints are a whole different animal though. Top to bottom, the Saints are dangerous any way you look at them. They are talented, motivated, and more importantly, fast. On offense, it's hard to find a team that possesses more speed and agility across the board. They have a three-headed monster in the running game, the best quarterback in football, and a set of receivers that can blaze through a secondary like a California wildfire gobbling up houses in the canyons. As a team, they are resourceful, nuanced in their gameplans, and peaking in the playoffs as opposed to week 17. However, they have serious problems on defense.
Okay, so the Saints have Jonathan Vilma and Darren Sharper on defense. That's great, but seriously, will they be able to shut down Adrian Peterson? Regardless of how many yards he gets, Peterson will touch the ball 25 times no matter how many or little yards he gets. He's money in the bank, especially in the red zone. To think that the Saints can counter the weapons the Vikings have on offense versus the sort of pressure Jared Allen can do by himself is pure folly. The more I think, the more I know that a three point spread is stupid because beating the Cardinals meant putting the brittle Kurt Warner on the turf. Beating the Vikings means neutralizing not just Favre, but Peterson, Rice and Harvin. And don't start with the migraines because Harvin will play, so good luck.
The Cowboys went into Minnesota as the hottest team in football and left whining about an extra score. The Saints are the sentimemtal favorites because Brees gets tons of press for picking the only team that would give him a decent contract coming off of a horrendous shoulder injury and his connection with a town that is down and out. The reality is that the Vikings don't just boast, but bring a defense that can matchup with any offense in the NFL on a good day and keep them competitive on a bad one. Where Reggie Bush looked like Gayle Sayers a week ago, he will look like Terry Metcalf this week. Where the Saints destroyed the Cardinals porous pass protection, they will be facing the best offensive line they have seen all year as well as the best play action quarterback and audible caller in the game. Sorry Peyton, for all your histrionics, Favre has you beat in spades.
There is no way the Saints pull this off unless Favre turns into Cliff Stoudt and Peterson becomes John Brockingham circa 1975. No way. Take the Vikings and the points because it will be Favre versus Manning in the Super Bowl.
Unless of course Brad Childress decides to start calling the plays again.
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Written by Sean Neumann