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Blognostications

Week 12 - Minnesota Vikings

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Blognosticator - LoyalSkinsFan

“Just don’t have a heart attack.”

Six words spoken to me yesterday by my mother prior to the game against the Titans.

I was born in September of 1963. Best I can tell, since then, there have been 192 preseason games played…..727 regular season games played……and 33 postseason games played. Subtract from that total about five years worth of games that, realistically, I probably didn’t watch or listen to due to infancy and my toddler years. In the end, I’d venture that I’ve watched and/or listened to about 862 games in my lifetime to date. This week’s game against the Vikings will be my 863rd.

That’s a lotta stress.

In the ten games played so far this season we’ve beaten the Cowboys on the last play, lost to the Texans at the bitter (and I mean bitter) end. Beat the Eagles in a tight one, beat the Packers in OT. Lost to the Colts by only 3 points, beat the Bears by only 3 points. And finally, we beat the Titans in overtime yesterday.

(You notice I skipped right over the Rams, Lions and Eagles games, right?)

With all due respect to the Cardiac Cards, it’s been a helluva year. The kind of year where my mother starts worrying about my health.

So, where do we stand today and what do we know?

We’re 5 and 5.

We have a quarterback who threw for nearly 400 yards yesterday and somehow made it feel like 163. The game went into overtime and McNabb went too. He ran the two minute drill at the end of regulation and again in overtime. I’m guessing he spent a lot of time on the treadmill and pouring over the playbook these last few weeks.

Our starting running back has a nagging groin injury (big surprise). At least it’s not a high ankle sprain (another favorite). Between that and all the hamstring injuries this year, I found myself wondering yesterday if Bubba Tyer was back on the sidelines. Nevertheless, Portis looked to me to be running better than I’d seen in quite a while. During the first half yesterday, I thought he’d found his burst again and wondered to myself if it was possible that the offensive line had started to figure out this zone blocking scheme at last. Then the injuries started piling up on the offensive line and in came the valiant Keiland Williams. Walter Payton he’ll never be, but I don’t know how we can complain about a day in which we gained over a hundred yards on the ground against a solid, if not spectacular, defensive line.

What do we have on the offensive line? No idea. Looks like half of them may not even play against the Vikings. The patchwork line that played yesterday held its own, but what will they do with Jared Allen?

Happy to see both Cooley and Davis getting in the action for a change.…and grateful, too, for the many balls Anthony Armstrong kept digging out of the dirt. Our smallest player came up with one of the biggest catches of the second half, and week after week has me on the edge of my seat every time he touches the ball. Brandon Banks is a legitimate threat……I’m so glad the coaching staff finally recognized that and has him in on both kickoffs and punts.

Our defense remains an enigma. They give up more yardage than ever but seem to have that knack to create turnovers. They left about three interceptions on the field yesterday and had to play thru some blatantly obvious holding penalties that were never called. They consistently keep us in games we could just as easily be blown out of. Shorthanded as they are (and will be), I have no major complaints.

Well…….one. Number 92. But that’s for another time and another place……



But enough about us……

This morning the Vikings jettisoned their head coach, Brad Childress. Leslie Frazier, their defensive coordinator, is now their interim head coach. The Cowboys fired Wade Phillips and their interim head coach, Jason Garrett, has now led them to two high scoring wins.

Ain’t gonna happen here…….although there ARE pitfalls. I’ve heard the rumor that Frazier is considering starting Tavaris Jackson instead of Brett Favre. That would be a mistake. Ordinarily, a good running game will set up the pass, however, the Vikings offensive line these days is, well, offensive. Even Adrian Peterson has had relatively limited success this season. The only way the Vikings will win anything from here on out is to start Favre and let him do what he does best….sling the ball. Unleash him and allow him to go down in a blaze of glory. He has good receivers, he’s good off the 3-step drop…..let him loose. Ironically enough, we are depleted as hell in our secondary and linebacking corps. Landry is out another week…..Rogers is hurt. The Vikings have NOTHING to lose. You do the math.

Bottom line is that there’s no way to tell what team is gonna show up this Sunday….on either side of the ball. In the Redskins’ case, I mean that both literally and figuratively. We have so many injuries not even our trainer is healthy. The Vikings, for their part, are a mystery. Throw out the game film for the season to date……there’s no way to predict or game plan for them at this point.

One thing is certain, though……..we’re sitting at 5 and 5 and still in the hunt. If we’re able to cobble together team enough to give the Vikings fits this weekend then anything is possible. After this week we face the Giants (twice), the Bucs, the Cowboys and the Jags. Get to the playoffs and anything is possible. Say it three times with me people….……parity, parity, parity.

Still, After 862 games, I’ve feel like I’ve seen it all and while I expect a win (especially at home) I wouldn’t entirely be surprised if we came out against a Vikings team in total disarray and laid an egg. This year feels different, though. We’re winning close games we’d have lost in prior years. Our coaching staff seems to be more on top of things than not….a vast improvement once again over years past. We have a legitimate GM in Bruce Allen (who I pray will liberally address the offensive and defensive lines in the next draft) and, in McNabb, have a serviceable quarterback who I hope will help bridge the gap from imposter (Jason Campbell) to franchise quarterback (TBD).

The Vikings are coming to town and if we’re to have ANY shot at the playoffs this season it’s pretty safe to say that this is a must-win situation. Can’t take them lightly, no matter how in disarray they may be. Favre will be as unpredictable as ever and in addition to his own skills (formidable even as they diminish) he has some solid weapons to work with at both the running back and wide receiver spots. If we want to play with the big boys, we have to stay focused and take them seriously. Just how serious?

As serious as……

…..a heart attack.


HTTR


Prediction (Oh, how I hate these):

Redskins: 24
Vikings: 10

Postscript:

Orapko has a big day. Tavaris Jackson just may get his chance after all…..

PPS:

Has ANYBODY predicted a win by the opposition this year?
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Comments

  1. Boone's Avatar
    Nicely done LSF .... enjoyed every word of it.

    - your brother in chest pain and tachycardia.

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