Vikings-Saints: Monday Night Showdown

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IOctober 3, 2008

The Minnesota Vikings will travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on Monday Night Football. 

The Vikings (1-3) enter the game deflated after Tennessee beat them soundly last week.  Their other two losses are to Green Bay on the road and Indianapolis at home.  Their lone win was over the Panthers at the Metrodome. 

They haven't been impressive in the least except after CB Antoine Winfield forced a fumble on Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme and reeled off 20 straight points to win the game in Week Two.

The Saints (2-2) come into the game after taking San Francisco down last week 31-17.  Their other win was over the Bucs in the first game of the season.  Their two losses are to the Redskins and Broncos by a combined seven points.

The Saints' offense, as usual, has been excellent.  They are in the top three in multiple statistical categories.  It's the reason the Saints always win—their defense ranks 27th in the NFL and allows 372 yards per game. 

The Vikings, apart from their second-half dismantling of the Panthers in Week Three, have been perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL.  And that's mostly because of the dismal passing game.

The running game has been great.  The Vikings currently rank sixth in the NFL in rushing offense and third in rushing defense.

But the Vikes are 17th in the league in pass defense at 207.5 yards allowed per game and 19th in pass offense at 181.8 yards per game.

If the Vikings are gonna win, the pass defense must step up.  If it doesn't come up big, the Saints' explosive pass offense will rip it up.

The Saints' passing attack will likely shred the Vikings' pass "D".  Drew Brees is just too good.  He will pick the Minny secondary apart.

I also like the New Orleans running game because the pass will open it up some.  Plus Reggie Bush is sure to be used as a receiver, and he could do some serious damage in that role, as we saw earlier this year. 

Deuce McAllister could have a good game, but because his power running style doesn't fit well with the Vikings' brand of run defense he will probably get shut down.

On defense the Saints just need to make sure they hold Adrian Peterson under 100 yards and Chester Taylor under 50.

I expect the Saints to win this game easily.  Minnesota's pass defense just doesn't cut it against the Saints' high-powered vertical attack.  Even if AP and Taylor run for 100 yards apiece, Brees will have thrown for 400, and the Saints will still win by several scores.