Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NFL Weekly: Adrian Peterson & The Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys Are Back, NY Jets Get Lucky

Minnesota Vikings: It's about time I showed some love to the Vikings and Purple Jesus AKA Adrian Peterson. The Vikings went into Arizona and squashed the Cardinals 35-14 for their 4th straight victory and their 6th win in their last 7 games. The Vikings have largely flown under the radar, but as you can see they are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. Despite their hot streak of late, the Vikings could still possibly miss out on the playoffs, since they still have to play the Falcons and Giants, however, they do play both teams at home. The Bears at 8-6 are just one game back and finish up with the struggling Green Bay Packers and then the red hot Texans. I think it's possible the Vikings will win both of their home games, but they need to make sure they take care of the Falcons in Week 16 for sure. If Minnesota does win the division, then they will most likely be a 3 seed and probably have to play either Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Chicago, or Philadelphia. I'm sure they are hoping that they won't draw Dallas in the first round, because they'd probably have a great chance at beating any of the other potential first round matchups.

The Vikings are led of course by Adrian Peterson, who has helped the Vikings become the 3rd best rushing team in the NFL, leading the way with his 1,581 yards, which has him on pace for over 1,800 on the season. The Vikings are not as strong in the passing game, averaging just 181.6 yards a game, which is good for 26th in the NFL. The offense overall is ranked 16th in yards per game. Defensively, the 8th overall ranked Vikings defense stops the run just as well as they run it themselves, giving up just 71.2 yards a game on the ground, which is tops in the NFL. That run defense is going to take a hit though with the news that DT Pat Williams will be out 2-6 weeks. The Vikings are not as strong against the pass, where they are ranked 22nd overall. The Vikings don't look like they are a team that can go deep into the playoffs, because of their poor passing game and pass defense, however, they still deserve a ton of credit for turning their season around. I'd like to see this team try to acquire a better QB in the offseason to complement Adrian Peterson and then try to work on improving their pass defense through the draft.

New York Jets: Man, the Jets are a lucky team right now. If it wasn't for the stupidity of the Buffalo Bills, they might be in second place right now and on the outside looking in at the playoffs. For some unknown reason, the Bills decided to throw the ball on 2nd and 5, while being up by 3 points with under 2 minutes left. So what happens? Well you can check the video below to see that J.P. Losman gets sacked and fumbles the ball and then it's returned by Jets defensive lineman Sean Ellis for the game winning TD. I have no idea why the Bills were passing the ball in that situation and not running it, but they certainly gave a gift to the Jets, and probably pissed off all the Patriots and Dolphins fans in the process. I'm starting to think the Jets are going to lose at Seattle in Week 16 and hell they might even lose to the Dolphins in Week 17. Either way, I think the Patriots or Dolphins end up winning the AFC East and I think the Jets are going to miss the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys defeated the Giants yesterday and would make the playoffs if they win their last two games. Those two games aren't easy though, as they must play the Ravens at home and then the Eagles on the road. Dallas is going to be a tough out if they make the playoffs and if I was Arizona or Minnesota, I would not want to be facing them in the first round. Dallas is ranked 8th overall on offense and 7th overall of defense, so statistically they are one of the best teams in the NFL and if Romo had never gotten hurt, they probably would have another victory or two under their belt. I like the way their defense has been playing the last few weeks. The offense has never been a problem, so now that the defense is stepping it up, I think that makes Dallas a legit threat to win the Super Bowl again. If Dallas doesn't make the playoffs, it would really be a shame, because I think the Cowboys, Panthers, and possibly Eagles are the only teams that have any chance to knock off the Giants. If Carolina somehow manages to knock off the Giants in Week 16, then the Panthers would have homefield advantage, which means Dallas would most likely play the Panthers in the 2nd round if they advanced. It's possible we could be headed for a Cowboys-Giants NFC Championship game and don't be surprised if the Cowboys come out on top.

Other NFL News:

- The Titans look like a team that might struggle in the playoffs offensively and it looks more and more likely that they are going to have to rely on their defense once playoff time rolls around. That's why it's important that Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch are healthy for them to advance deep into the playoffs. If for some reason they aren't healthy then their defense is just not as dominating and won't be good enough to support their not so stellar offense.

- He may not be the biggest, flashiest, fastest, or strongest RB in the NFL, but Warrick Dunn has had quite the career. This week he became just the sixth player in NFL history with 10,000 career yards rushing and 500 receptions. Dunn joined LaDainian Tomlinson, Marcus Allen, Emmitt Smith, Tiki Barber, and Marshall Faulk; which is an impressive list of running backs.

- Jaguars RB Fred Taylor was placed on IR with an injured thumb and it's possible he may have played his last game with the Jaguars and maybe even his last in the NFL. It won't be easy for a 32 year old running back to find work next season, especially when it is easy for teams to find impact backs like Steve Slaton, Matt Forte, & Kevin Smith outside of the first round of the draft. Teams are more likely to fill a need at the RB position with a younger more dynamic player than the older veteran back.

Fantasy Stars of the Week:

Matt Cassel: 218 yards passing, 4 TDs

Pierre Thomas: 87 yards rushing, 59 yards receiving, 2 TDs

Andre Johnson: 207 yards receiving, 1 TD

Michael Turner: 152 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving, 1 TD

More: NFL & NFL Weekly

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