I Won’t Say “I Told You So”…

…but I did mention this on December 1st in one of my blog posts:

You all can say you saw it here first when I dramatically predict that the Vikings will not make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs. Being 10-1 is great and I’m definitely pleased with this season, but remember that they have had a rather weak schedule this year. Don’t believe me? The Vikings so far have had the 2nd easiest strength of schedule in the league at .423 (107-146).

Edit: That should have read 107-146-1, since the website I originally found that data omitted ties. That merely changes the winning percentage to .420.

Since I made that comment, the Vikings have gone 1-3. I found out that the strength of schedule record was actually from the teams’ records from 2008. So, I found the combined records of all the teams the Vikings have played this season. Care to know the winning percentage? (I guess I’m not giving you a choice). It’s .427, or a combined record of 96-129. Throw in next week’s game against the 8-7 New York Giants, and it only increases to 104-136, or .433.* Of the 15 games so far, 6 of those games were against a team that currently has a winning record: Green Bay (twice, 10-5), Cincinnati (10-5), Arizona (10-5), Pittsburgh (8-7), and Baltimore (8-7). Yes, the Vikings record in these games is 4-2, but only two of those wins were by score differentials that could not have been overcome/tied by a single possession.** The two losses were by 10 and 13 points.

* Maybe if I’m bored and have time, I’ll find where this ranks against the rest of the league. Even without doing that, I’m sure this is one of the easiest schedules this year.

** I’m thinking of this like those “easy/hard saves” or whatever they’re called for closers. Looking at those 4 wins…
Green Bay (30-23) Could have tied in 1 possession. (semi-hard)
Baltimore (33-31) Could have lost in 1 possession. (hard)
Green Bay (38-26) Could have lost in 2+ possessions. (easy)
Cincinnati (30-10) Could have lost in 3+ possessions. (very easy…hell, this wouldn’t even be a save if this was baseball)

Another issue is not just that the Vikings cannot win on the road, it’s the fact they cannot win on grass. On the road, they are 4-4 this year (7-0 at the Metrodome). On turf, they are 9-0;* grass, 2-4.** So maybe getting home-field advantage for the whole playoffs isn’t too big of a problem, it’s just a matter of getting some good ol’ FieldTurf to play on. As of right now, here’s how the current playoff bracket for the NFC would look:

* These 2 road turf wins were against Detroit and St. Louis, so it’s not like we can take those wins very seriously.

** I couldn’t figure out if the Cardinals game had the roof open or shut, so I decided to ignore the indoor/outdoor records. Regardless, the University of Phoenix Stadium has a real grass field.

If the turf/grass record records hold true, then the Vikings would be expected to beat the Cowboys in the 1st round at the Dome. But, then it would immediately get tougher by playing outdoors against the Eagles. If they beat the Eagles, then who knows. The three scenarios if the Vikings beat the Cowboys and Eagles are:

1. Arizona beats Green Bay and New Orleans: This leads to the Vikings hosting the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game. Yes, the Cards beat the Vikings earlier this year, but that was in Phoenix. A whole new outcome is possible by changing the venue.

2. Green Bay beats Arizona and New Orleans: A home game against the Packers. Beating them twice already this season is encouraging, so I definitely could see the Vikings moving on to the Super Bowl here. However, would a home playoff loss neutralize the two regular season victories for Brett Favre?

3. New Orleans beats Arizona or Green Bay: Playing in New Orleans could be tough, so here’s where that 9-0 turf record would be put to the test. I don’t think the Vikings could win this game.

Assuming the Vikings made it this far, I’d say that facing Philadelphia would be the toughest team for them to face, followed by New Orleans. I think Dallas, Green Bay, and Arizona would all be comparable in difficulty to beat, especially since any of these 3 opponents would have to play at the Metrodome. Unfortunately, I don’t see how the Vikings could beat the Eagles in Philadelphia. Here’s to another disappointing end to a promising Vikings season.

Finally, the game from last night. I won’t say much, other than it was a game the Vikings shouldn’t have won in the first place. They were down 23-6 at one point, their first half play was terrible, the special teams play was poor, and Robbie Gould should have made that field goal in overtime. Favre did lead the team to a great comeback, so that does deserve some praise. I think another contribution to the loss was that after the Vikings tied the game with Favre-ball, they returned to Chilly-ball in overtime. If the Vikings want to win next week against the Giants, they can’t be relaxed on offense. When the team needed points and played with a must-win attitude yesterday, they were successful.

I don’t know what’s happened to Antoine Winfield, but he’s been on the losing end of some critical plays these past 2 weeks. I’m not a football expert so I can’t offer any reasoning for this, but we shouldn’t blame yesterday’s loss on him. Devin Aromashadu simply outran Winfield…where was the safety help? Oh, there it is, he’s covering the tight end.

We all know what happened after that.

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5 Responses to “I Won’t Say “I Told You So”…”

  1. Doctor_Teh Says:

    I’m still holding out hope for us to get the bye still. I really hold the exact same opinion of the team as I did when we were 10-1. Losses were expected because we aren’t perfect, but really, we are a very talented team. Losing Henderson is the only change that makes me question our ability to compete in the playoffs, but until you get to AFC teams, I can see us winning each game. We have one of the top two RB’s, a top 10 QB, (at times) the best defensive line (definitely the main culprit last night), and a very talented and explosive receiving core.

    Childress should simply be relegated to GM where besides Tjack he has excelled, so that we can actually use this huge amount of talent we have. Running AP out in screens and pitches and throwing aggressively with Favre seems to lead to points every single time we actually follow through on that formula.

    I guess I can see an argument being made for our defense being quite weak compared to most playoff-caliber teams, I just have faith in us for once. Regardless, Skol Vikings!

    • Andrew Says:

      Well without Henderson, the run defense has definitely suffered. For the Bears game, the defensive line in general barely getting any pressure on Cutler certainly was a problem. As someone mentioned, “Did Jared Allen even play?”

      Childress erroneously mentioned a few years ago that this was a “kick-ass offense.” While that comment has been cited a few too many times, I think it’s clear that an offense is more successful (provided that turnovers are avoided) when it is aggressive. Yes, short passes and the running game controls time of possession and can wear down a defense, but that’s provided that you’re consistently gaining positive yardage and 1st downs with those plays.

      When he first signed, I was not happy to see Favre. But, now I am eating my words. Favre’s aggressiveness has been a great contrast to the conservative play-calling of Childress.

  2. Doctor_Teh Says:

    Yea, I never really valued Henderson until this year, but boy did he make a difference, clearly. I think we missed Pat Williams a ton this week, since he wasn’t being double covered all game we got no pressure at all.

    Well, it was as clear as night and day on Monday. First half was really conservative, passive playcalling. Second half was aggressive and we rolled all over them offense.

    I will admit I am pretty worried about AP. Not the fumbles, that will come with time I’m sure, but just his poor hands with catching and our general lack of big gains on the ground anymore. Favre continues to be effective, but what is the future of our franchise in the year or two once Favre retires?

    Regardless, I still like our chances, we have a lot of talent and can beat any team in the playoffs.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Remember that Favre does have a 2nd year on his contract. But yes, I don’t know what the Vikings will do if he leaves.

    AP is really starting to frustrate me with his fumbles. Someone should get it into his head that he needs to cover the ball with both hands or be more willing to switch the ball to his opposite hand.

  4. Doctor_Teh Says:

    Yes, I am aware of that, I *believe* it is a team option second year? (could be wrong) but seeing as how he has played, then yea, he will be back for one more year. Rather than worry about the future, let’s just win the super bowl this year, eh?

    Yea, it is all because he fights for an extra foot every down. I’m more worried about him compiling a million injuries via all the hard hits he gives and receives and losing his effectiveness. He will probably always fumble more than the average back unless he starts ducking out of bounds or going down easy, which I can’t see him doing. All of this just makes me hope we can resign Chester Taylor, as an able backup and good 3rd down back.

    As always, I have faith that we can win it all this year!

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