It's that time of the year again. Crunch Time.
The whole season coming down to these four games.
Here's an analytical look at the Vikings final four games and why they will be your NFC North Division Champions.
Do I even really need to explain the first game. At the Dome against the winless Detroit Lions. Granted, Detroit came close to beating us the first time (which in and of itself is a very scary thought) but I think that this is a completely different game. While it is on the road, I think that Vikings have found their identity, which they lacked the first time they met up with Detroit. We have found that we are not going to make the huge plays through the air (with the obvious exception/fluke of the Berrian play) but have come to grips with that. We are about pounding the ball and making short passes. We rely heavily on our defense to come up with big plays when we need them, but that is OK. I predict that both AP and ole Gus will have good games, and if the Vikings win by less than 14 I would be surprised.
So that puts us at 8-5.
The next two are a little bit more tricky. The following week is a game on the road against the Cardinals. The reason this game should scare the Vikings' loyal is because of the Cardinals pass offense. Kurt Warner has appeared to find himself as of late throwing 24 TD's against 11 INT's, and the always consistent pass duo of Fitzgerald and Boldin is not a pleasant thought. The thing that is often overlooked however, is how the Cardinals have received their wins. Four of Arizona's Seven wins come from the worst division in all of football. Another of Arizona's wins comes from playing a Dallas team that lacked Tony Romo at the time. Arizona beat Miami when they were coming off of a horrible season and it was only two games into the next season. The final win came from playing the 6-6 Bills. I think that as long as we can find a way to cover their number one and two receivers we should be fine.
As far as records go, I'm going to be conservative here and say that we only win one game between Arizona/Atlanta putting us at 9-6.
The Atlanta game is going to be a very interesting one. It is at the dome, which is always good. Upstart Matt Ryan has posted great numbers for a rookie, throwing 13 TD's to six INT's with a passer rating of 91.2. The real story of the Falcons this year though has been their running back Michael Turner. He has been tearing opponents apart and is currently the No. 3 rusher in the NFL with 1,208 total yards, as well as tied for the number one spot with L. White at 13 rushing TD's. This being said, if the Williams Wall is able to play on that day, it will make a huge huge difference. If they are not able to play, I could see some major problems for the Vikings defense in trying to stop this Atlanta team. I think this game may completely hinge on whether or not the Williams are able to play.
Like I said before, if the Vikings win one or lose one here that will put them at 9-6.
The final game of the season I mark as a guaranteed victory and here's why.
The Giants will have everything clinched, and I would be very surprised to see them put their starters on the field. I would Imagine that Manning will not start, nor will a few of their other players. And while this game might not be the worlds easiest, I see ho reason why the Vikings should not win this game.
That puts your Minnesota Vikings at a final record of 10-6 for the season. And unless Chicago goes undefeated in its final four games (which they will not, I predict a loss against New Orleans at least), they will be at least one game behind us at the end, and Green Bay is statistically eliminated if we finish the season 3-1.
Then it's time to turn our eyes towards the playoffs...