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Patriot's Vs Brad Childress's Mouth.



October 29th, 2010

This was a game I was particularly worried about earlier in the week. Not that I thought the Vikings are a better team., but because I thought this might be the lull game. I know there’s a certain silly segment of fandom and mediadom that likes to say they want players who give 100% one hundred percent of the time, but that’s just stupid. Nobody, nowhere, in no place in time ever gave 100%, one hundred percent of the time. Simply not possible. That silly statement is code for, “if I was a professional athlete (insert chosen sport here) I would try harder than those lazy athletes,” which is of course a flaming wad of crap. These professional athletes work harder than any of us. Their workout schedule, commitments, and road schedule is ridiculous. I know nobody wants to here this, but you couldn’t do what these guys do, even if you had the talent, and that certainly includes me. I went for a three hour walk on Thursday, just a leisurely stroll in a State Forest with my kids, and I’m still tired;-) I wasn’t doing sprints, than practice, then lifting, then meetings, for 10 hours, and then going home to deal with the damn wife;-) Plus, it’s like I always say, “The worst thing that fans and media do is forget that professional athletes are people.” They have lives, wives, and problems just like all of us. And just like you, at your job, they can’t give 100%, one hundred percent of the time.

Which, believe it or not, brings us back to this game;-) The Pats have faced two of the top five defenses in the NFL the past two weeks (you have to include the Jet's and Steelers's defenses in the top five, and Pat’s defense as well;-), and two of their top five rivals. Plus, they have had front page controversies to use as motivation the previous two weeks. Plus, they traveled to the West Coast and back last week. Now I know we shouldn’t think of athletes as  people too, but people get tired, people get jetlagged, people struggle with the blues after a tough week. This week just looked to me like the week when the Patriots would have a life-lagged game. Between the rivalries, the controversies, and the travel, something had to give. A non-conference game against a team they haven’t played since 2006. This is the game they can most afford to lose over the tough six game stretch that follows the Bye week. If they were going to have a lull in their motivation, this was going to be the week. I was all set to pick the Vikings here.

Instead, after last week’s endless series of stupidity, I thought it was impossible for another random act of stupidity to strike in the Patriots favor. I have heard a lot of criticism over the years about Brad Childress being an idiot, but I always thought that was way overblown. I didn’t think he was such a bad coach. Not great, just eh, and cursed with a QB situation that is untenable: Brett Favre sucks, Tavaris Jackson Kan’t Play, and I don’t know who Joe Webb is. His team is flawed, and I thought he was doing a pretty good job considering. Then he comes out on a tired, jetlagged, and uninspired Pat’s team, and goes Spygate on their ass? Seriously? If I were to grade random acts of stupidity, giving last weeks Chargers an A, I would rate this as an A+. The Patriots were mired in one of the lull spots of their season. And I say that, not with any particular insight into the locker room, but with insight into people. Life is filled with ups and downs. When you travel 3,ooo miles from Graceland you get jetlagged. When you get home, the next few days are exhausting and the whole next week you are not at your best. Concentrating in meetings is more difficult. Doing the normal routine is more irritating. Going to work is even worse of a chore than normal. People are never at 100% all week after such travel, period. That is just part of being human.

Suddenly, miraculously, and bizarrely, a random act of stupid is all that you need to inspire the entire team into a random act of revenge. “BB is best sign stealer in the history of the world!” Moo-Wa-Ha-ha-ha! Thank you coach Childress's mouth. No, seriously, thank you.

As for the game itself, as long as the Pat’s don’t try and outsmart themselves they should win. I won’t say easily, because the Vikings have the best offensive weapons in the game, but they have no QB. They are kind-of the opposite of the Chargers. The Charger had a great QB with no weapons. The Vikings have great weapons with no QB. The Chargers had maybe the fastest defense in the NFL, and were excellent against the run. The have terrific size and are terrific against the pass. However, they are not nearly as fast as the Chargers, and not nearly as good against the pass. It’s like when we played the Jaguars in the play offs every year. I always thought it was funny that anybody would pick the Jags, because it was so obvious that all the Pats had to do was spread them out and throw all day. This is the exact same case. The Vikings cannot defend the Pat’s spread offense. Kevin and Pat Williams are good relicts from a great past. However, they are like me, old, fat, slow, and past their prime. If you try and run at them they will out fat you to death. However, if you make them move, run, and rush all day, they will wear down and provide less and less of a passrush each series. Leber, Henderson , and Greenway are good, strong, and tough Linebackers, but speed is not their game. If you allow them to move forward all game they will crush you. However, if you make them move backwards and have to constantly drop into coverage they struggle. Sheppard and Winfield are good corners, but not really in their prime, and not as fast as they once were, while Asher Allen dropped in the Draft specifically because of his lack of speed. All three are good tough Corners, well except for Lito, LOL. But Winfield and Allen are both good tough Corners. However, none of the three really worry me. Now in the running game, ten of the players on their defense are at their best. Only Jared Allen is at his best in the passing game, as what he does best is rush the passer. If the Pats spread them out and Brady is done overthrowing the ball, they will score a lot of points on this defense. The more they try and run, the worse it will be for them.

The biggest problem in this game is that the Vikings have three wide receivers who can score from anywhere on the field at any time” Moss, Harvin, and Bernard Berrian. If you can keep those three guys contained, they can still kill you on the ground. And just when you think you have it covered Visanthe Shiancoe attacks the slot for a big gain. The best news about the offense is that they have QB problems. These receivers could get open all day, and the QB could miss them all day. The problem is that if the put Jackson in, he could have his best game of the season. I call it, “first game back syndrome.” When you haven’t played for a while, it seems the first game back you do everything right, as you are acting solely on instincts and the brain doesn’t get in the way. It also seems the second game back, you can’t anything right as the brain constantly gets in the way, and then you practice your way back to normal. Jackson hasn’t played in a long time, and it he plays he will play better than he would normally. Again, not any particularly great insight into the psyche or game of Jackson , just insight into people. If Jackson plays they will score. If Favre plays, he has already set up too many excuses to lose for them to win. However, the main problem for the Patriot's defense is what to take away? I like to try and figure out what BB is going to try and tale away from the offense. If you take away Peterson, they can beat you deep too many different ways. If you try and take away the deep ball, they will pulverize Peterson and Toby Gerhart into the line all day. With their QB situation you have to think BB will look to take away the run, and hope the patriots new big-play defense can take advantage of the Vikings big-mistake offense.  

I was all set to pick the Vikings for this game, when I heard the random act of stupidity by Childress's mouth. And now I am picking the Pats to win a tough offensive game, where neither defense can really stop the other’s offense. So the only questions are which defense will make the big play first? And which offensive will make the big mistake first? If you are judging by how they played so far this season, you have to pick the Pat’s defense to make the big play first, and the Vikings offense to make the big mistake first.     

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me:


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