Two winless teams square off at
Arrowhead on Sunday. The best part about
this game is that someone has to win, no matter how hard they might try to
prove otherwise, so come Monday either Vikings’ or Chiefs’ fans will be
Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs: MIN -1.5
This game is a deceiving one at
first glance. The Kansas City Chiefs are at home coming off a nail-biting
loss to the heavily favored Chargers. The Minnesota Vikings have choked
three straight games away and now travel on the road with a winless
record. I can understand a lot of people going with the home dog in this
situation, but despite the Vikings's 2nd half performances, I can't ignore a
mismatch when I see it. I think Minnesota should be favored by a field goal in
this game and the books are moving the line that way.
Both teams are winless, but both have played relatively difficult
schedules. This makes it a bit easier to interpret the data thus
far. The biggest mismatch that leaps off the page is Adrian Peterson vs
KC's shaky run defense. Last week they went away from AP in the 2nd half,
but coaches and players have both indicated that won't happen again at
Arrowhead. This is not what you want to hear if you're a fan of the
Chiefs. With Eric Berry out for the year, stopping the run is going to
need to be more of a collective effort.
What's worse is Kansas City are
giving up far more points than their yardage would indicate. Allowing
teams to score TD's instead of field goals and giving up points due to
turnovers and short fields are not winning ingredients. In 2011, KC simply
hasn’t been able to stop anybody on third down or in the red zone. Mcnabb
might be past his prime, but his offense should be able to put up some
points. Harvin was sick last week throwing up on the sidelines, and he
should be good to go here. Their job might be easier this week if Brandon
Flowers isn’t 100% due to an ankle injury.
It doesn't get any prettier for the KC offense. Without Charles, they are
relying on an over-the-hill Jones and out-of-position McCluster. I like
McCluster as a specialty player, but not as a feature back. This
experiment isn't going to work out well. Cassel played better last week
in the 2nd half, but this was against a relaxed SD defense. This offense
didn't even get a 1st down until the 3rd quarter of the game!
Steve Breaston was supposed to come
in and open things up for Dwayne Bowe and the rest of the offense. With Moeaki out for the year, Todd Haley was
hoping the rest of the skill players would step up. Yet, it hasn’t worked out that way as
Breaston has only been targeted 10 times all season. In 3 games they have a combined 20 points
from long drives. That is tied for 2nd worst in the league only behind the
49ers. It shouldn't come as a surprise that KC rank near the bottom on 3rd
down and time of possession as well.
It’s hard to win games when you only
average 43 completed plays per game. Good teams average around 50. This week they'll have to contend with the
likes of Jared Allen who is making his first trip back to KC since he
left. He didn’t sound pleased with how things were handled during his
time with the Chiefs. Yes the hype
surrounding a “revenge game” has been overblown before, but it never hurts to
have that edge on your side. The O-line was an area that was supposed to be a
strength for KC, but they've been average to start the year. Without a reliable
running game, this is going to put extra strain on pass protection.
This offense just can't figure
things out and no one is even sure who exactly is calling the plays. Is it too early to be asking about Todd
Haley’s job security? It doesn’t appear
he’s lost the locker room just yet—the players showed good heart last week
after they refused to lie down against the Chargers. At the same time, hope is
dwindling after suffering so many critical injuries. If they fall behind again
in week 4 NFL you have to wonder whether this team can rise above the
In contrast, the Vikings actually believe they are a good team. They have an
inner self-belief based on three 1st halves of football this year. I
believe this is the week where they finish the job, but if you disagree you can always check out Joe Freda's play on the Chiefs.
Bank MIN -1.5.