Thursday, December 04, 2008

National Friday League, week 14

Vikings-Lions Preview (or, disorganized sentences and incomplete thoughts on the awful nature of the Lions' defense)

Earlier this season, the Lions played arguably their best game and the Vikings played arguably their worst game of the season.  The Vikings won 12-10.

I  just don't think the Lions are capable of playing that good a defensive game twice in the season against the same team.

According to Football Outsiders, the Lions may have the worst defense in NFL history.  Is the worst defense in the DVOA era going to play that well against the Vikings twice in one season?  I doubt it.  

The Lions rank defensively 32nd in points allowed, 31st in yards allowed, 30th in first downs allowed, 32nd in net pass yards allowed, 32nd in rush yards allowed, 32nd in rush touchdowns allowed, and 32nd in rush yards per attempt allowed.  This defense is awful.  

Last season, the Vikings sucked in their first game against the Lions, losing 20-17 in overtime, but destroyed the Lions in their later meeting, winning 42-10.

And even in the week 6 game when the Vikes scored just 10 points, the Vikes had 392 net yards offensively, but hurt their own cause with three turnovers.

The focus for this week isn't Kevin/Pat Williams; the focus this week is the Lions' awful, awful defense against the Viking offense.  Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor should run all over this team.  Tell me if my Thanksgiving experience somewhat matches yours: For some reason, I'm watching the Lions and Titans.  Just before it's time to eat and I realize there's no reason to watch any of this game (it doesn't matter which came first), I watched Chris Johnson run untouched up the middle for a 58 yard touchdown.  And I thought, "The Vikings play against this team soon."

The Vikings leading the NFC North
The 2003 Vikings managed to blow the NFC North in epic fashion.  The 9-7 Vikings started out 6-0, but were 0-4 against the four worst teams in the league (yep--they lost to each of the league's 4-12 teams), in week 15 they lost to the Bears on the Charles Tillman play, and in week 17 blew a 17-6 lead to the Cardinals when they failed to recover an onside kick then gave up the Nate Poole play while the Packers were blowing out the Denver Broncos' backups.

The 2004 Vikings blew the NFC North, but in slightly less epic fashion.  They started 5-1 and were in good shape at 7-4, but they lost a game to the Seahawks when, down by four, they called an end-around pass and Randy Moss threw an interception, managed to barely beat the Lions when Joey Harrington led a game-tying drive but the Lions botched the extra point, and eventually lost a "winner wins the division" game by three to the Packers at the Metrodome (but at least this happened).

Don't think I'm not ready for another epic failure.  You should be, too.  You know about  

Here's what "We are Viking fans" means to me, and probably many of you.

We are Viking fans.

We root for a team that lost four Super Bowls.

We root for a team that went 15-1 and lost the NFC Championship game largely because a kicker that made every kick during the regular season missed the game-clinching field goal.

We have a long history of watching the Vikings underachieve and collapse in grandiose fashion.

We expect the Vikings to always disappoint us.

We brace for cold winters, we know the cosmos is indifferent to our sufferings, and we have accepted the despair that our football team fills us with.  

We are ready to be disappointed.  We are ready for that sick empty feeling.

We are Viking fans.

This is the time of year to mark down any games between teams at or over .500, and pay close attention.

The fun thing about these games is I have no idea who is possibly going to win a single one of these games.

Fred Evans and Ellis Wyms (Pat Reusse).  See, this is where I learn that Wyms likes Broadway musicals, and now I root for him 10 times as hard.  See profiles of Wyms and Evans.

Reactions on the team to the Kevin/Pat Williams situation (Pioneer Press).

Seven years ago, the 0-12 Lions hosted the Minnesota Vikings... (Viking Update).  But let's remember the 2001 Vikings were 5-11 and had the league's 27th ranked defense (in yards allowed).  That was a bad football team, and they lost to a very bad football team.  This is a decent football team, playing a very bad football team.

Steve Aschburner on the Vikings and Kevin/Pat Williams.  Good stuff.

Adam Schein's current MVP: Peyton Manning.

David Hickey in Cold Hard Football Facts on Tony Romo as an MVP candidate.  As you know, I ranked him #1 earlier this week.  As you likely don't know, I started calling him Romoerotic two years ago.

Athletes doing good things: Warrick Dunn, Shelton Quarles, and Doug Williams build houses (Shutdown Corner).

I Dislike Your Favorite Team to the Timberwolves: hire Sam Mitchell.

The Vikes have an 87% chance to win Sunday (Advanced NFL Stats).

Scattered thoughts on football and writing at Fuh-baw.

Signal to Noise on Roger Goodell and the NFLPA.


  1. Anonymous8:02 AM

    I believe the Lions were 0-12 one other time in recent history. Who did they defeat for their first win?

  2. Anonymous9:08 AM


    You know. Unless you comment on posts you don't read and have incredible coincidental luck.

    It was a terrible 5-11 Minnesota team. The 2008 Vikings would crush the 2001 Vikings.

  3. When you look back, that really was a matchup between two terrible teams. The Vikes ended 5-11 (with 5.3 estimated wins) and the Lions ended 2-14 (with 4.1 estimated wins).

    That season's Viking loss was embarrassing but also encapsulated the disappointing, dreadful season for a team that was in the previous season's NFC title game.

    But if the 7-5 Vikings lose to the 0-12 Lions, that's just going to be unforgivable for Brad Childress. That would be a mammoth upset and a horrifying collapse.