Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vikings Schedule Breakdown: Weeks 2-11

Can Christian Ponder continue to lead the
Vikings on the same path as week one
vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Today on Vikings Corner, we will analyze the Vikings schedule during weeks 2-11. The Vikings are coming off an exciting opening day win vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. With this win, many question the amount of games the Vikings can win this season.

Week 2: @ Indianapolis Colts (Win)-The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a 41-21 week one loss to the Chicago Bears. Quarterback Andrew Luck made his regular season debut in this contest and struggled by throwing three interceptions. The Colts defense was destroyed vertically in their opening contest and allowed 41 total points. The Vikings have an effective run game and can move the ball with Percy Harvin's athletic ability across the middle. I feel like the Colts will play well since the game is taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium, but I feel like the Vikings can pull off a much needed victory.

Week 3: San Francisco 49ers (Loss)- The 49ers are fresh off a 30-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the league, with a great pass rush and run defense. Offensively, many question Alex Smith's ability as a leader. Smith can make the throws and has three great receivers in Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and Michael Crabtree. The 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFC and the Vikings just don't have the vertical wide receiver or the defense to keep up with such an athletic team.

Week 4: @ Detroit Lions (Win)- The Vikings need to win as many divisional games as possible, while playing in such a difficult division. The Lions participated in a down to the wire battle with the the St. Louis Rams, but squeaked out a 27-23 victory. Matthew Stafford was the main issue to such a close contest, as his he threw three interceptions. This resulted in the Rams having good field position for most of the game. The Lions have a great wide receiving core lead by receivers Calvin Johnson and Titus Young. Their defense has potential with several excellent pass rushers, including Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Cliff Avril. With the Vikings versatility in the run game, they can pull off a win in this game. Jerome Simpson will be back from suspension and has a ton to prove in his return. This game will be very close and has the chance to go either direction, but I'm optimistic the Vikings will be victorious.

Week 5: Tennessee Titans (Win)- Chris Johnson and the Titans will come to town in week 5 in search of a key road win. The Titans lost in week one to the New England Patriots 34-13 in New England. The Titans are rolling with second year quarterback Jake Locker and will see inconsistency at times, just like the Vikings do with Christian Ponder. The Titans defense has struggled and lost Cortland Finnegan, a key leader in the Titans secondary. The Titans are going to struggle and face the Chargers, Lions, and Texans in the next 3 weeks. Look for the Titans to be arriving at Mall of America Field with an 0-4 record. The Vikings will need to win this game and with a solid run game and solid run defense, they have a great chance to improve their record to 4-1.

Week 6: @ Washington Redskins (Loss)- A much improved Redskins team will pose many problems for the Vikings defense. RG-III will be a difficult weapon to scheme for, as he has the ability to run or pass on a consistent basis. The Redskins finally added a great wide receiver in Pierre Garcon, who had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Redskins defeated a marquee Saints team on the road, 40-32. The only concern is how the Redskins defense allowed 32 points, but they do have an average secondary and were playing one of the best passing attacks from a season ago. The Redskins will be very difficult this season and will give the Vikings all they can handle on the road.

Week 7: Arizona Cardinals (Win)- The Cardinals have a ton of uncertainty surrounding the the quarterback position, as John Skelton was named the starting quarterback and then was injured in the first half of a win over the Seattle Seahawks. Kevin Kolb entered the game and led the Cardinals on several captivating jobs, which eventually led to enough for a victory. Also, it will be exciting to watch Larry Fitzgerald's return to Minnesota. Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in this league and will be a big threat to watch in this contest. Look for the Vikings defense to attack a mediocre Cardinal offensive line.

Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Loss)- You may wonder why I have the Vikings losing to a team like the Buccaneers, but with a Thursday night game only allowing the Vikings a few days to be prepared, they will struggle. The Bucs won their first game vs. the Carolina Panthers 16-10. They revealed a new scheme by Gene Schiano and looked impressive with the new addition of Vincent Jackson to the roster. More importantly, the Bucs held a Cam Newton led Panthers roster to only 10 points. They will prove too much to handle for a Vikings offense coming off a short week for preparation.

Week 9: @ Seattle Seahawks (Win)- The Vikings will get to catch a glimpse of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in week 9. Wilson will be an elite level quarterback, once he is given a weapon as a wide receiver. The Seahawks struggled in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week one and looked weak at the wide receiver position. Braylon Edwards looked terrible and dropped a touchdown that went directly through his hands. The Seahawks have a young defense and don't have the offensive threats to give the Vikings a challenge, even on the road.

Week 10: Detroit Lions (Win)- Many of you will question how I have the Vikings sweeping the Lions in divisional play, but I just don't see the spark I saw last season from the Lions. This game is at home and will strictly be dependent on whether the Lions receive consistent play from quarterback Matthew Stafford. He will be entering a hostile environment and will need to be mentally and physically tough in this ballgame. In addition, the defense will have to hold tough and challenge the Vikings offense to pass, rather than run.

Week 11: BYE WEEK

Overall, the first half of the schedule will be much easier than the second half, as the Vikings will play the Bears and Packers twice and will take on Houston and St. Louis on the road. With a successful first half, the Vikings can build confidence leading up to the second portion of the schedule, beginning week 12 vs. the Chicago Bears. Time will tell, but with my predictions listed the Vikings would enter the bye week with a 7-3 record with six games remaining. We will continue to analyze the Vikings schedule as games continue and will bring you the latest excellent analysis.

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