The Giants are 4th in offensive yards and 2nd in defensive yards allowed. The rank 5th in Football Outsiders' DVOA. But I have a problem: I can't keep history out of my mind. Here are the four games the Vikings have played against Eli Manning's Giants.
2005: The Vikings win a road game despite scoring three offensive points, a win that was vital to the Vikings' midseason effort to keep the season entertaining. Eli Manning throws four interceptions.
2007: The Vikings go on the road and blow out the Giants, a win that helped the Vikings' midseason effort to keep the season entertaining. Eli Manning throws four interceptions.
2008: In the last game of the season, the clinched Giants rest some major starters; the Vikings are forced to come back (with Tarvaris Jackson!) to clinch the NFC North.
2009: In the last game of the season, the Giants have nothing to play for, while the Vikes need a win and help to clinch the NFC #2 seed. They blew out the Giants.
Tooling around Minnesota, there are a few fans that watch every single Viking game, but watch no other NFL games. These fans have seen Eli Manning play precisely four times. These fans think Eli Manning sucks awful. They're seeing Eli this weekend and thinking "Oh, that loser is still the Giants' QB?"
I think the Vikings have been effective against the Giants because the Vikes stop the run and force Manning into a lot of bad throwing situations. Manning can be turnover-prone, and the Viking pass rush can get to him, I think (and getting turnovers in bunches is a way for this team to beat the Giants) I feel good about this game, but that's from feeling good about a team coming off their first road win then their largest victory of the season. Albeit against lousy teams. After all, even with a new coach, the Vikes are only two games removed from getting puked on by the Bears and Packers. Trends do come to an end (I guess: the Patriots never beat John Elway).
Other Interesting Games
Colts-Titans. Which team has had a worse few weeks?
Packers-Lions. Detroit: this is your destiny. Do it!
Patriots-Bears. Chicago: this is your destiny. Do it!
In Bizarro World1, where Bizarro PV gets a vote for the Bizarro MVP, Bizarro PV casts his vote for Bizarro Tom Brady.2
1. 37.9% of my knowledge of Superman mythology comes from Jerry Seinfeld.
2. Even in Bizarro World, only QBs and RBs on playoff teams are eligible for MVP.
In the Hazelweird League, we have a "trophy" for last place: the loser of the league is forced to keep in possession a DVD featuring college highlights of the Vikings' 2005 draft picks. I'm serious. At the last draft weekend there was some discussion of opening the box up and watching it, which led to some threats to quit the league and go start a splinter league.
This awful trophy is largely symbolic: there is a real desire among, well, yes, us, at the bottom of the standings to not finish in last place. I've never finished in last place: one year I tanked it for the #1 pick and I still didn't get last place (even when I try to lose, Abe still loses better--zing!). I'm still fighting and clawing to be respectable enough not to be last.