Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Look Forward to the Second Half of the Season

Today on Vikings Corner we will take a closer a look at the second half of the Vikings season and the accomplishments needed to make a run for the postseason. The beauty of the next six games is that the Vikings control their own destiny and the ability to make a run to the postseason. With 4 divisional matchups between Chicago and Green Bay, the Vikings can take control of the NFC North. This will be a very difficult task as the Packers and Bears have been hot down the stretch. The old adage says, "You have to beat the best to be the best," and that is definitely the case for this Vikings team.

The Vikings came in with high expectations and have surprised the NFL with their ability to win contests during the season. I expected Adrian Peterson to make an excellent recovery, but not as miraculous as it has been early in the campaign. Peterson has been one of the huge reasons the Vikings have been winning games on a consistent basis. He has the ability to change the game and kill clock which are two huge keys to winning in this league. Christian Ponder was a concern over a stretch of two weeks, but nicely bounced back with his best performance of this season vs. the Detroit Lions. It was a great way to enter the bye and gave Ponder confidence before he reaches the must win division games in the coming weeks.

The defense has been impressive and has been surprisingly good against the pass. The addition of Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson to the secondary has markedly improved the Vikings pass defense. The defense has played well even during absence of Chris Cook, but Calvin Johnson's 207 passing yards before the bye was an absolute concern. We still won the game and were in no threat of losing, but it definitely is an issue that must be addressed when we face wide receivers such as Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson, and Andre Johnson over the next few weeks.

So how will the Vikings finish the last six games? Will they have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs? These are two questions that will be answered by our team and their response over the next few weeks. Furthermore, here's our breakdown of the remaining six matchups for the Minnesota Vikings.

Week 12: @ Chicago Bears- (Win): The Vikings have had two weeks to prepare for the Chicago Bears and were able to further address the threats the Bears have on the offense and defensive sides of the ball. The Bears have a short week as they took on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. The Bears offense line was shredded en route to a 32-7 loss. The Bears have a great pass defense, but have shown vulnerability in the running game over the last few weeks. Arian Foster had a great game against their defense and Adrian Peterson always plays well at Solider Field. Therefore, I feel the Vikings will control clock and squeak one out in Chicago.

Week 13: @ Green Bay Packers- (Loss): As much as it pains me to say this, I don't think the Vikings can beat the Packers at Lambeau. The Packers have an average run defense, but are great against the pass. They have been without Clay Matthews as of late, which will be an improvement to their pass rush. Aaron Rodgers has played well and has major weapons in Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. I think the Vikings will be competitive in this game, but will lose within the last few minutes of the game.

Week 14: Chicago Bears- (Win): At home I think the Vikings have as good of a chance to win as they will at Chicago. The Bears offense will be in a hostile environment and will need to respond to pressure. The Vikings always play well at home and have a 5-1 record at home this season. This would be a huge win as the Vikings would then be guaranteed to finish over .500 in the NFC North, which is pivotal to playoff contention.

Week 15: @ St. Louis Rams- (Win)- This game will be a must win and is a key to the Vikings postseason quest. The Vikings must win games they should win and this is definitely one of them. them. Sam Bradford has struggled with limited weapons and the Rams haven't played well as of late. Losing to the struggling New York Jets is an issue and shows the poor defensive play of St. Louis. Adrian Peterson will have big day and the Vikings defense will force turnovers.

Week 16: @ Houston Texans- (Loss)- This game will be very close and it is very tough to know the type of team we will see with the Houston Texans. One week they look like a dominant force in the AFC and the next they struggle with teams like the Jaguars. Matt Schaub is a great quarterback and Andre Johnson has been returning to his dominant form. The Texans have a great pass rush and have been in most of the games because of this asset. The Texans will prove to be to much on the road and the Vikings will pick up a loss in a close ending.

Week 17: Green Bay Packers- (Win)- This game will prove to be huge and a game the Vikings will need to win to possibly make the postseason. If the Packers win the first matchup, the Vikings will need to match this and split with the Packers. It will be huge having this game at home and it will definitely be a motivation for the Vikings. All their hardwork could come down to one moment and I think they would respond well to this. The Vikings know what it is like to lose and will want to win to claim a potential spot in the postseason.

Vikings Corner Second Half Prediction: 4-2 (10-6 overall)

Overall, the Vikings played well over the first half of the season and have doubled their win total from last season. Even to have the opportunity to be in the chase over the last six is a huge accomplishment. I'm just very concerned about the Wild Card chase. With losses to Tampa Bay and Seattle, who are in contention, tiebreakers would be lost and a heartbreaking end could be in the making. This is why we must win as many games as possible to lessen the worry of a potential tiebreaking situation.

I'm so proud of this team and the response they have shown to the adversity of last season. Even if they collapse at the end, I will be proud of the way we have improved and will look forward to a future that looks to be very bright.

Let's have a great second half of the season and make a run to the playoffs!

Skol Vikings!


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