I wish more people were talking about the NFL Week Five game of the week on Monday night between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets and less about gossip.
I have ranted in podcasts, articles, and to my friends for people to stop caring about athletes personal lives and focus on the entertainment and athleticism they provide—we don't personally know these people!
Let's get refocused, which areas of the game do the Vikings have to dominate in order to be victorious?
Both teams feature a top-notch running game. The Jets have a first-rate offensive line, and a two-back system with two average runners at this point in their careers. (Shonn Greene could be great and LaDainian Tomlinson was great)
Both teams have top five defenses. The Jets are stronger, especially if Darrelle Revis is healthy.
The quarterback position is at opposite ends of the spectrum. One guy (Mark Sanchez) is one year into his career and rising rapidly. The other guy (Brett Favre) is one year away from falling apart at the ankle, hips, and elbows.
But for the Minnesota Vikings to have a chance to beat the New York Jets, they must do these five things.
1. Favre Must Outplay Sanchez
We all know Favre is going to take chances and force balls into places they don't belong—that's part of the reason we have come to love him.
He has to limit these attempts so he doesn't turn the ball over. Favre has to get rid of the ball quickly into smart situations and avoid the strip fumbles as well.
Favre doesn't have to throw for three touchdowns, although it wouldn't hurt; he just has to keep his defense off the field as much as possible.
This one is obvious, but very important if the Vikings are going to have a chance.
This is the most important key to success for both teams. The team that plays better man-to-man coverage is going to give their pass rush and run defense a big boost.
If the Vikings defensive backs can corral the Jets wide receivers, it will allow them to stack the box, aiding to better run defense. Also, in passing situations if they can show other coverages and then blitz nickel backs or corners, the pass rush will fluster Sanchez.
It's not necessarily about getting interceptions as much as being successful on third downs and not giving up the home run play.
3. Rely on "All Day"
Peterson is the best running back in football and sometimes in big games, I feel Brad Childress and Favre tend to stray from letting this horse run wild.
Even when the ground game seems like it is unsuccessful they have to keep feeding Peterson the rock—you never know when his natural ability will trump a great defense.
Peterson may cough up his first ball of the season, but they can't let that deter them from getting the ball in the hands of their best player.
4. The Screen Game
I continue the focus on getting Peterson the ball by setting him up on four or five screen passes in the game.
This season Peterson has shown to have better hands out of the backfield than originally advertised. He is a danger to the other team when he gets the ball in space.
The acquisition of Randy Moss is going to open up opportunities to throw screen passes to his side of the field. If they send Moss deep on a couple of plays, drawing the corner and safety 20 yards down field, and then get Peterson into the flat, they could have a couple of big plays.
5. Using Moss Correctly
Of course the Vikings are going to throw deep to Moss—that is the major reason they got him. However, I believe his most important role is being a decoy.
The same way they use him to open things up for Peterson they must do with Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe.
Putting Harvin in the slot next to Moss to draw double-teams is going to increase the amount of easy catches he will get. Just watch tape of Wes Welker for the past three plus seasons.
Also putting Moss in the slot next to Shiancoe will isolate him one-on-one with a linebacker. Advantage Shiancoe.
Moss is a great individual talent, but what his presence alone can do for a team is even greater.
If the Vikings can win these facets of the game, they will be successful on Monday night. I am feeling a rather high scoring game with special teams and defensive touchdowns.
Vikings 27, Jets 20
For picks and fantasy please read my NFL Week 5 column "Couch Potato Blitz" - fun read
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