NFC Championship Preview
Wow, what a matchup, the type that Football fans could only dream of. The Number one and two seeds in the NFC square off in a game that has been anticipated since September. Two of the best Offenses go head to head and two of the NFL’s best Defenses will try to outdo each other to see who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. It is very possible that the team that has the ball last in the game will win.
Time: Sun., January 24, 6:40 PM
Venue: Louisiana Superdome
MoneyLine: Vikings +160 / Saints -190
Spread: Saints -3.5
The ownership and the management of the Vikings sure look like geniuses now don’t they? Bringing Brett Favre into the fold right before the start of the season was indeed a gamble, but one that has obviously paid off. Favre has brought with him a winning attitude and a will to succeed at all cost – a sentiment that had been sadly lacking for so many years in Minnesota. Favre has succeeded this year by limiting his well-advertised mistakes and by making all the players around him seem like all-stars (Sidney Rice). He’s had the season of his career and has had a blast doing so. There is no reason to think that Favre will not keep throwing the ball on Sunday – a recipe that has brought the Vikings to the title game. Sidney Rice, Shiancoe, and Chester Taylor should all figure prominently in the passing game that made an uber-Hot Dallas secondary look like high schoolers.
Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota running game also figures to be a huge part of the NFC Championship game. The run sets up the pass and vice versa. If the Vikings are to be successful, Peterson is going to have to prove that he can run against the New Orleans front four. If he can, it will afford Favre time and options to take what the Defense gives him. It’s easy to forget, with Brett Favre’s presence, that Peterson himself is a game changer as well.
On Defense, the Vikings just need to continue to do what they have been doing. Their secondary is healthy again and, as always, is made to look better than they are by the front four. If the Vikings can pressure Drew Brees the way that they hassled Tony Romo, mistakes will come, making the opportunistic secondary the potential difference in the game. The Vikings’ Defense has been ranked in the top three of the league for a reason folks – they are ferocious pass rushers and their corner backs are risk takers who guess right more than they guess wrong.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is a field General in every sense of the word. He looks to be a step or two ahead of everyone else on the field. With his Studly stall of receivers and his agile set of running backs, Brees has the luxury of three or four options on each and every play. If his receivers are covered, Brees simply has to dump the ball off to one of his backs and they are more than likely to make a play. Brees has total command and if his Offensive Line can give him some time to scour the field, scores should come easily as always. That’s a big “IF”. Yes folks, for New Orleans, the Offensive Line is going to be the story of this game.
The running game has featured no less than five running backs this year – each having some success at different times – proof that the Offensive system employed by coach Sean Payton and company really works. The running game is healthy for the first time in a long while, leaving the problem of whom to focus on in the hands of the Vikings Defensive Coordinators. Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Mike Bell – pick your poison. Not unlike the passing game, the running game’s success depends largely on the play of the Offensive Line. If the big men up front can find some success, New Orleans will have multiple backfield weapons at its disposal. The New Orleans running game doesn’t figure to be a huge part of the NFC Championship, but their success or lack there of could go a long way in determining the outcome of the contest.
Buckle up folks, the NFC Title Game has all the makings of a classic. Despite the two strong Defenses, there will be a lot of points scored – that’s for sure. The team that can limit its mistakes will most likely represent the NFC in Miami.
Minnesota is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing New Orleans
Minnesota is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing New Orleans
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games when playing New Orleans
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Minnesota’s last 9 games
New Orleans is 14-3 SU in its last 17 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Orleans’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Orleans’s last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of New Orleans’s last 5 games when playing Minnesota
NFC Championship Pick:
I like the New Orleans Saints in this game – Brett Favre is long overdue for a couple of interceptions and maybe a fumble or two.
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