Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Upset Sunday

I'm not sure which sense of the word will apply but Sunday the Vikings will upset or be very upset. Though the last two games have been close losses, I think this game is a prime opportunity for a playoff upset special.

Yes, the Vikings backed into the playoffs and stumbled greatly after opening the season 5-1. But can the Packers sweep Minnesota in 04-05? You can think this game is over but before you commit suicide because the Vikings have a poor porous D, look at the Packers' D. Yes, the Vikings D sucks (5th from the bottom of the NFL) but the Green & Gold is barely better (8th from the bottom). Look at the stats. When it comes to giving up points, the Vikings suck (7th from bottom) but so does Green Bay (10th). The Vikings give up 24.7 points per game and the Packers a barely slightly better 23.8. Not impressive at all.

On the offensive side of the ball, watch for fireworks. Green Bay is 3rd in overall yardage gained per game (397.3) with Minnesota one play away in 4th (396.2). Yes, this game has serious potential.

So why on earth would I side with Minnesota? Honestly, because no one else is. Instead of celebrating a date at Lambeau (remember the alternative was a flight across the country to Seattle), the fans and local media are full of doom & gloom. Does anyone else not remember the Falcons beating Green Bay at historic Lambeau Field? Does anyone else recognize that today's Packers are not the famous Frozen Tundra Packers? These guys are more than mortal. They are flat out beatable.

If you don't want to look at anything else, look at #4 Brett Favre. He is without doubt the Packers' MVP. It often seems that he alone wills this team to victory and he alone can doom them to defeat. Even though the media has avoided it, Brett is a Santa on the football field. His passing yardage may be impressive since he's 5th in the league, but the number of INTs he has thrown is pathetic. His 17 INTs dwarfs Culpeppers' 11 with 9 less touchdown passes. I'm sure John Madden won't bring it up but Brett can be a liability. And I expect him to provide Minnesota with opportunities to ruin this special playoff showdown.

How Sweet Could It Be?

Think about it. Do you remember the first game at the renovated Lambeau Field? I do. Minnesota christened the new shrine to football with a 30-25 victory. On that day, the shine was off the apple and the legacy of Lambeau Field started to fade away.

Now think about Sunday. I know it was sweet to rededicate the Packers' home in Viking purple. It was great to see the joy and ruin the rededication. Now the Vikings and Packers face off for the first time in the playoffs. How sweet would it be to shut down the great Brett Favre and silence 70,000 plus fans?

I think it will happen. I expect the underachieving, playoff undeserving Vikings to shed those recently received labels and win. After all, last year there was no second chance. I'm excited to see what the Vikings will do with second lease on life.

My predicted score is 30-24. Sorry, no 34-31 for me.