Thursday, January 01, 2009

Vikings-Eagles Preview

Despair
The 2008 Philadelphia Eagles are a high quality football team. They averaged 26.1 points per game (6th in the league) and gave up 18.1 points per game (4th in the league). Their Pythagorean expected wins are 11.3. Philadelphia ranks #1 in Football Outsiders' DVOA, and FO's system gives them 11.4 estimated wins. They rank #2 in Brian Burke's efficiency rankings, which also gives the Eagles 12.1 expected wins.

Be prepared for a dominant Eagle victory. They rank 6th in points scored and 4th in points allowed. Various statistical analyses find them to be an 11 or 12 win team. The Vikings are a good defensive team and a bad offensive team (particularly in the passing game) with terrible special teams and questionable coaching.

Hope
But optimistic Viking fans looking for hope can find arguments too.

The Eagles were 5-6 against teams .500 or better; a competent team can compete with them.

The Eagles were 1-5-1 in games decided by seven or fewer points. Critics can point to Any Reid's questionable decisions in close games.

The 2008 Vikings do have a great defense. They rank 4th in Cold, Hard Football Facts Hog Index, and they rank #2 in rush yards per attempt allowed and #8 in net pass yards per attempt allowed. If you take away the nine defensive or special teams touchdowns the Vikings allowed, the defense gave up just under 17 points per game. It is troubling that the team could be without Pat Williams (Star Tribune), but there are still plenty of playmakers on the defense that can make game-changing plays.

The Vikings were 6-2 in Thunderdome this season. Even though the Vikings are struggling to sell out the Metrodome and the game could be blacked out (SI), it's still Thunderdome, right?

Though Adrian Peterson was ineffective in his 2007 game against the Eagles, he's led the league in rush yards per game in each of the last two seasons, and led the league in rushing and yards from scrimmage in 2008. Though the Viking offense is not good, it does feature a superb player that can carry a team.

PV's guess
I don't think the Vikings are capable of blowing out the Eagles, and the Eagles are quite capable of blowing out the Vikings. The Eagles could dominate the game (primarily, in my opinion, because of the weakness of the Viking quarterback position).

But if the Vikings do get blown out, it would be the first time this season. The Vikes were only beaten by more than seven points once this season, and even in that game they were down by six with the ball in the fourth quarter. The Vikings typically keep games close. For this game to be close, the Viking defense must contain Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook (difficult, but the Eagles are just two weeks removed from a three point effort, and have a total of four games with one or zero offensive touchdowns), the special teams must cover well and avoid major errors, and the offense must avoid turnovers. And a close game can go either way. The Vikings can win this game.

There's a difference between optimism and hope. I'm not optimistic for this game, but I am hopeful.

4 comments:

  1. Wow, ToddyP knows how to spell the word eagles. Bright.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fly eagles fly. Suck a dick berserker. Philly all the way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. cm20064:22 AM

    Charley Casserly at cbssportsline.com - their video preview - brought out an important stat. If Westbrook can be held to under 80 yards on the ground or thereabouts, the Eagles usually lose.

    And that's something the V's can do. Their o line is more finesse, not brawlers. We're brawlers and will outmuscle them.

    ReplyDelete