We're only one day away from what is sure to go down as one of the best opening games in the entire history of the National Football League.
The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints are set to take battle on Thursday night at 8:30 ET. This game has become one of the more anticipated match-ups we've seen in many years.
A rematch from January's NFC Championship game is always bound to bring excitement and anxiety into the hearts of both Vikings and Saints fans.
Many feel as though the Saints were handed the NFC championship game, due to the fact that many calls went New Orleans' way that should not have. However, I will not divulge into the ridiculous actions that took place during the contest.
Like last year, this game really has no favored team to win the game. Both teams are obviously very talented, and are both definite Super Bowl contenders.
Without further ado, let's get to the preview!
QB- Brett Favre, ankle, probable
RB- Toby Gerhart, knee, questionable
WR- Sidney Rice, hip, out
CB- Cedric Griffin, ACL/MCL, questionable
S- Jamarca Sanford, ankle, probable
RB- Christopher Ivory, MCL, out
WR- Marques Colston, kidney, probable
LB- Clint Ingram, microfracture surgery, out
LB- Jonathan Vilma, groin, probable
S- Darren Sharper, knee, out
As far as injuries are concerned, both teams are looking fairly healthy right now. Both Toby Gerhart and Jamarca Sanford are expected to play, but will likely be very limited.
Expect Adrian Peterson to get 25+ carries for the Vikings on Thursday night.
Cedric Griffin is questionable to play, but he will very likely not see the field. Minnesota will not want to risk further injury to one of their best defenders.
New Orleans will miss Darren Sharper in the secondary, but they should be able to have somebody fill in quite nicely for him while he misses the first six weeks of the 2010 season.
Outside of Sharper, New Orleans is a very healthy football team. Expect them, like always, to rely heavily on the pass.
Keys to victory:
- Minnesota will need to focus on getting the ball to their main targets. When Brett Favre is able to distribute the ball to Shaincoe, Harvin, and Berrian, the Vikings succeed.
They cannot focus on only one of their many weapons. Despite Bernard Berrian's lackluster preseason, Minnesota can't forget about him.
- Obviously New Orleans will be pass-heavy, but the Vikings can't allow the running game to beat them. Pierre Thomas can burn anybody at any moment in time.
- Utilizing Adrian Peterson more often will be a huge benefit for Minnesota. New Orleans' run defense is not nearly as strong as their run defense.
Adrian Peterson does get his fair share of carries, but his workload needs to increase.
- Like Minnesota, the Saints will need to use all of their targets. Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, and Jeremy Shockey are all very reliable receivers that Drew Brees can get the ball to.
- If it ain't broke don't fix it. In case you don't know what I mean, I am referring to the Saints doing all they can to take out Brett Favre.
Although football should never be about injuring your opponent, it happens. New Orleans will definitely go with the same plan this year. And yes, I am fully aware that people will not enjoy reading that.
- Strike quick, strike early. Besides last years miraculous win against the 49ers, Minnesota was never able to come back when being down by a fairly large margin.
If the Saints can score first, they will be on the driver's seat, unless the Vikings can fire back at will against them.
I absolutely see this game going down to the wire, like that of the NFC championship game. These teams are far too close in talent to not have a nail-biting battle.
Obviously, as a Vikings fan, I am going with the Vikings in this contest. Nonetheless, I am slightly nervous that the Saints will kick off this season with a boom.
Get your popcorn out, folks. This game is sure to be one that goes down as a classic.