But First, an Ode to Dallas
I am still feeling joy from the Dallas game. The Cowboys play in an edifice worthy of symbolizing the Supreme Court ruling recently handed down that essentially provides corporations with the same free speech protections you and I receive as individuals as well as free reign to dump even more cash into election ads. Similarly, Jerry Jones and the NFL want you to think that not only are the Cowboys America's Team, but more worthy of the state of Texas' tax dollars than public schools and hospitals. Considering the arrogance and ignorance of Dallas fans for the last 30 years, their incessent whining about their losses to the Steelers back in the 70s, and their flippant joke about the hole in Texas Stadium existing so God can watch his favorite team play, I took special glee in Favre – who was tormented by the Cowboys during their run in the mid 90s – tacking on a little extra special sauce at the end of last week's game. If anything, that was the football gods trying to tell Jerry Jones he is being punished for having a glorified defensive coordinator as his head coach and a total wimp and choke artist as his quarterback.
Anyways, today will be a special in New Orleans. Cold, hard logic tells me that the Vikings are the far superior team across the board. The Saints have the most dynamic offense in football, but the Vikings have a defense, which is something the Saints are sorely lacking. Sentiment is clearly on the side of New Orleans considering that huge swaths of the city are still decimated and rotted out, but the Saints are the best they have ever been in the team's 43 year history. However, even with the noise, you're dealing with Brett Favre and the best running back in football in Adrian Peterson. Whereas the Saints have the most accurate quarterback in football – if not ever – the Vikings have Favre who doesn't care how much he's liked or hated at this point. That sort of willful disregard is a most dangerous and useful weapon. And no, it doesn't translate into reckless play, it leads to focus and utilizing 19 years of professional experience. Seriously, Favre knows the offense he's running better than the coaches do making the Vikings unquestionably his team in every sense of the word.
The primary thing I keep hearing from people is how loud the Superdome will be. Not about how Jabaru Green can handle percy Harvin one on one or how Darren Sharper will be able to cut off Sidney Rice's post routes. Instead of hearing about how Jonathan Vilma and Sedrick Ellis will disrupt Peterson's running lanes and cutting off his holes, I am hearing about how a bunch of drunks are going to rip the roof of the Superdome and rattle, ahem, Brett Favre. Seriously, what have you people been drinking?
Okay, I'll get to the point: This is not going to be some runaway by either team. Considering that both offenses are capable of hanging 40 points on the likes of Baltimore, can adjust their gameplans if one aspect is taken away, and are resourceful enough to exploit minute weaknesses in any defense, I expect it to be inside the spread, hence why I am taking the Vikings. I simply do not see the Vikings being rattled by the noise or the moment or the emotion because the guy under center is the one they take their cues from, not the dummy with the beard on the sidelines.
The key for the Saints revolves around utilizing Reggie Bush properly, protecting Drew Brees, and isolating Jasper Brinkley – who is filling in for the injured EJ Henderson. The Vikings will bring an incredible outside rush and are capable of clogging the middle thanks to the Williams Wall. If Brees is kept upright, if Antoine Williams is still a half step off, and if the Vikings actually kick the ball to Bush, the Saints win. If the Vikings establish the run, keep Brees off the field and hit him often when he is on it, and are able to execute their play action game to perfection, they win. It's as simple as that.
Vikings 41 Saints 38
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Written by Sean Neumann