Tuesday NFL Game: Can Michael Vick Boost His MVP Stock Against the Vikings?
Earlier this week Michael Vick was asked which player he would vote for MVP, and the Eagles quarterback not surprisingly chose himself. But hey, it’s tough to blame the guy. In eleven games this season the electric signal caller has thrown for 2,755 yards with 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions while adding another 613 yards and eight scores on the ground.
While my vote would go to Patriots QB Tom Brady, it’s easy to see why so many people are jumping on the Vick bandwagon. The 10-4 Eagles are standing atop the NFC East standings heading into tonight’s showdown with the Vikings, and Vick is a big reason why. He’s displayed much improved decision making ability and seems to make the big play at the opportune time in just about every game.
Philadelphia is a 14 point favorite tonight and Vick may be able to end his MVP-level campaign with an exclamation point. Can Vick boost his stock tonight against Minnesota? Will this defeated Vikings team simply give up?
Read on as we make ten predictions about Michael Vick and his Eagles teammates.
10. The Eagles Will Score 40 Points Tonight
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Last week against a mediocre Bears offense, the Vikings allowed a whopping 40 points. The Bears gained less than 300 total yards for the game, but benefited from great field position surrendered by an anemic offense. With that in mind, perhaps it’s not too bold to predict another 40 point performance.
Philadelphia leads the league in yards per game while ranking second to the Patriots in scoring. They’re a potent offense—and although the Vikings defense is talented—they should be able to score in bunches.
9. Vick Will Throw For Over 250 Yards
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The Williams Wall anchors a tremendous defensive line for the Vikings who, not surprisingly, have one of the league’s top run defenses. Their secondary on the other hand is quite vulnerable.
At 33 years old, Antoine Winfield is no longer a premier coverage corner while Asher Allen does not look ready for an NFL starting gig despite interceptions in each of the past two games.
Vick should be able to easily pick apart the Vikings secondary, and with Joe Webb at quarterback the Eagles could be playing with a short field all game.
8. Vick Will Complete a 50+ Yard Pass To DeSean Jackson
After the Vikings inevitably fall behind early, the Eagles will be able to pound the ball on the ground and set up the play action. When they eventually draw the safeties up to the line of scrimmage, look for the patented Vick to Jackson connection on a deep route.
Jackson leads the NFL in yards per reception at 22.8, and hauled in four balls for a ridiculous 210 yards against the Cowboys.
Vick is capable of throwing the ball 65 yards in the air with nothing more than the flick of his wrist, and the speedy Jackson has been the beneficiary of those plays all year long.
Jackson has a knack for the big plays so don’t be surprised when the two connect for a big gainer in tonight’s game.
7. LeSean McCoy Will Top 125 Yards of Total Offense
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Quietly forgotten on an offense that includes Jackson and Vick, McCoy has been sensational this season. The second year back from Pittsburgh has run for over 1,000 yards on the season while recording an impressive 5.3 yard per carry average.
Perhaps more impressive have been his receiving skills out of the backfield. The 5’11” back has grabbed 74 receptions for 551 yards while displaying incredibly soft hands. This versatile back could be in for a big game tonight against the Vikings.
After the Eagles jump out to a large lead, McCoy could receive a large number of carries as Philly tries to run the clock. McCoy typically receives fewer than 14 carries per game, so if he approaches the 20 carry threshold, the versatile back could top the century mark in rushing.
He’s also the check down receiver for Vick and could post a handful of catches on short screens and dumps if the Vikings come hard with the blitz.
6. The Eagles Will Score At Least One Special Teams Touchdown
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Last week against the Bears, the Vikings surrendered a 64 yard punt return touchdown to Devin Hester, who also tacked on a 79 yard kickoff return. Don’t be surprised if DeSean Jackson duplicates those results tonight.
Jackson is one of the game's most exciting players and electric kick returners. He has remarkable acceleration and elite top end speed.
We all saw his kick returning prowess on display last week when he embarrassed the Giants with a game winning punt return touchdown, so don’t be surprised when he duplicates the feat tonight.
5. Jeremy Maclin Will Be Quietly Productive, Yet Once Again Overlooked
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Last season the Eagles drafted the Jeremy Maclin with their first round draft pick in an attempt to give Donovan McNabb more dynamic offensive weapons.
As a rookie, the Missouri product hauled in 55 catches for 762 yards, but rarely heard his name mentioned by TV analysts and commentators. This season the speedy receiver has looked even better, grabbing 64 balls for 890 yards and ten touchdowns with two games remaining in the season.
Quietly, the 6’0” receiver is transforming into one of the league’s top young playmakers. Unfortunately, he is typically overshadowed by teammate DeSean Jackson.
Maclin should be able to exploit his matchup with Asher Allen and will likely lead his team in receptions once again. Fearless prediction: Seven catches for 88 yards and a score.
4. Michael Vick Will Not Be Sacked
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Despite the presence of Jared Allen, the Vikings rank fourth to last in the league in sacks. Granted their lack of pass rush is partially due to the fact that they play run defense when they are trailing, but that low number is unacceptable for such a talented defensive line.
Allen has ten sacks on the season, but look for tight end Brent Celek to have low reception totals as he may be used to double down on the former Idaho State standout.
Vick is extremely crafty in the pocket and constantly breaks arm tackles from charging defenders. The Eagles have taken 38 sacks this season, but many of those are short losses on Vick scrambles rather than real sacks generated by a strong pass rush.
3. Joe Webb Will Have A Higher Rushing Total Than QB Rating
This one is a little bit bold, but based on what I have seen from Joe Webb it is far from impossible. The rookie from UAB has looked completely lost in limited action, as he is not yet adept of reading NFL defenses. Drafted as a WR, Webb’s best weapons are his legs so it would hardly be surprising if Webb opted to pick up yards scrambling rather than trying to force the ball down the field.
In his first game, Webb completed just 15 of 26 passes for 129 yards and two interceptions—good for a 38.8 QB rating. However, Webb was somewhat effective on the ground, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards.
Expect Webb to turn the ball over multiple times through the air, but do his best Michael Vick impression on the ground. Fearless prediction: 12 of 29 for 178 yards and two interceptions while gaining 50 yards rushing.
2. The Eagles Will Cover the Spread
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For all of you gambling types, perhaps this slide may interest you. The Eagles are listed as 14 point favorites, tied with Carolina at Pittsburgh for the biggest line of the week. Still, the Eagles are a good bet to cover that large spread.
The Vikings struggled through a year filled with turmoil that included Brett Favre’s scandalous texts, the trade for and immediate release of Randy Moss and the firing of head coach Brad Childress. This team had Super Bowl aspirations at the beginning of the season and have now seen all their hopes crushed.
Adrian Peterson is nicked up (although he is expected to play) and they are starting a rookie wide receiver at quarterback.
Against an Eagles team that needs a win if they hope to earn a first round bye, this game has all the makings of a blowout. Minnesota is 1-5 on the road and could struggle against a hostile Philadelphia crowd.
Final Score: Eagles 41, Vikings 13.
1. Michael Vick Will Not Win MVP
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Although back-to-back big games could help Michael Vick’s MVP case, it would appear as though Tom Brady already has the award locked up.
Brady has more total yards than Vick (3731 to 3368), more total touchdowns (35 to 28), fewer interceptions (4 to 5), a higher completion percentage (66 percent to 63.2 percent) and a higher QB rating (109.8 to 103.6).
Moreover, Brady took a team with a litany of undersized role players like Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker and Deion Branch and turned them into stars.
Vick’s journey is one the most gratifying redemption stories and he has been playing at a Pro Bowl level all season, but the Pats field general deserves his second Most Valuable Player award.