2011 NFL Monday Night Football Preview Week 10: Packers Vs Vikings Round 2
I did this last week and figured I’d keep it going for those of you who are already looking ahead to the playoffs. If the season ended today, here’s a look at the potential playoff matchups (take these with a grain of salt since some are based on tiebreakers):
First-Round Byes: Pittsburgh and Houston
Wild Card Matchups: Cincinnati at New England, Baltimore at Oakland
First-Round Byes: Green Bay and San Francisco
Wild Card Matchups: Detroit at New York Giants, Chicago at New Orleans
If there’s anyone out there who picked Cincinnati, Houston, and San Francisco as the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best teams in the NFL before the season, let’s talk…I’ve got a mortgage to pay!
There was a full slate of games this week (strangely, byes finally finish up after Week 11). In the Thursday game, the Chargers continued to prove Rex Ryan’s point while Denarius Moore and Vincent Brown made fantasy owners every take notice. And don’t look now, but the Raiders are now leading the AFC West. Elsewhere, the Falcons blew a chance to even things in the AFC South, the Steelers re-asserted dominance in the AFC North with a win in Cincinnati (while the Ravens showed they’re more of a paper tiger with a loss in Seattle), and the Texans stomped the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
In other early games, the Titans moved to 5-4 by beating Carolina, the Cowboys romped over the Bills, and the Jaguars pushed Andrew Luck one step closer to Indianapolis by taking down the Colts. Speaking of Luck…it doesn’t look like he’s going to Miami after they beat the Redskins, and he’s probably not going to St. Louis either after the Rams beat the Browns in a snoozer that I’m sure even Browns and Rams fans had a hard time watching. The last few games I haven’t touched-upon yet include the Eagles dropping to 3-6 against a John Skelton-led Cardinals team, the Giants dropped a close one on the road to an 8-1 49ers team, the Bears walloped the swooning Lions, and Tim Tebow did his best to kill the quarterback position by going 2-8 in a win against the struggling Chiefs.
Lastly, I owe an apology to Bill Belichick and all the Patriots fans out there. After beating the Jets and taking control of the AFC, maybe Bill Belichick hasn’t completely lost his touch (although, I still think he could use some help in evaluating defensive backs). Hopefully all you Patriots fans will forgive me…although I’d be a fool to expect any forgiveness from BB. Just ask Tom Jackson about that one.
Looking forward to tonight’s matchup, we have what looks to be the makings of a blow-out in Lambeau. The Packers are sitting at 8-0 (and supposedly openly talking about going undefeated in their locker room) and the Vikings are bringing up the rear of the NFC North at 2-6.
The Vikings boast a running attack that is 5th-best in the league, and a run defense that is 6th-best in stopping opponents. That doesn’t come as a surprise since Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in the NFL, but the passing side of the ball (27th on offense, 30th on defense). Christian Ponder is pretty much devoid of any good receiving options (no, Percy Harvin/Michael Jenkins/Visanthe Shiancoe don’t count) and should have his work cut out for him with Clay Matthews in his face all day. There is one piece of good news for the Vikings passing attack, however, and that brings us to the Packers side of the ball…
We all know who has the worst passing defense in the NFL (New England), but do you know who’s 2nd-worst? That’s right….your World Champion, Green Bay Packers! The Packers have allowed 27 and 38 points in their last two games (and one of those was against the Vikings) and are allowing close to 300 yards per game. The good news for Minnesota fans ends there, though, since weare talking about an 8-0 team, after all. The Packers have struggled running the ball (pick it up James Starks!), but they have the league’s 8th-best run defense and the league’s 3rd-best passing offense. That may mean bad things for a Vikings’ secondary that is looking pretty depleted right now…
Fantasy-wise, it should be an interesting game as a top rushing offense (Minnesota) goes up against a top rushing defense (Green Bay) and a top passing offense (Green Bay) goes up against a pretty horrible pass defense (Minnesota). All that being said, I’m envisioning Adrian Peterson has a tough outing tonight as the Vikings will probably be playing form behind and trying to move the ball through the air. On the other side of the ball, James Starks’ struggles will probably continue but I’m also expecting big things for Aaron Rodgers and Co. I’ve been pretty off with my Monday Night picks recently (I’m blaming Philip Rivers and Michael Vick), but I’m going to try and right the ship this week with a pick of Green Bay over Minnesota, 33-17.
And since this is the FANTASY Fix, let’s end with a quick look at some of top fantasy-relevant news from Sunday:
– Michael Vick reportedly broke 2 ribs in yesterday’s game. No word on if he misses any time, but we should know shortly if he’ll be able to go Tony Romo-style and play this week.
– Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee both left the Broncos game yesterday and Lance Ball filled-in capably with 30 carries for 96 yards. He’s a must-grab if Moreno and McGahee miss extended time.
– Laurent Robinson, Denarius Moore, and Vincent Brown are three names to familiarize yourself with if you need WR help.
– Ed Dickson and Harry Douglas tied for 2nd in the NFL this week with 14 targets. I’m not saying either is a must-add, but 14 targets is a lot!
– Welcome back to fantasy-relevancy, Chris Johnson. We missed you…now keep it up!
– Kevin Smith didn’t do a lot yesterday, but neither did Maurice Morris or Keiland Williams. Detroit needs some rushing help and it Smith’s first game back, so give him a look if you need RB help.
Good luck to all you Rodgers/Jennings/Peterson owners out there!
Written by Trader X exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com. Trader X is a top-50 gamer on a major fantasy sports website, and is the founder of www.FantasyTrade411.com. You can follow him and/or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @FantasyTrade411
(October 22, 2011 – Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America)