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  1. #1

    Vikings CAN beat Denver on Sunday! Or so I think....

    There are reasons for hope against the Broncos.

    Despite all the hoo-ha being made about the Broncos D, the Chiefs ran the ball 28 times for 147 yards vs the Broncos. Of those, Jamaal Charles put up 21-125. The other two teams the Broncos faced, the Ravens and Lions, rank 28th and 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards respectively. This suggests that the Vikings ground game could be as successful as they have been in the past couple of weeks.

    Likewise, the Broncos run offense this season is putrid, ranking 31st at 57 yards per game and a 2.6 yards per carry average. They ran for only 41 yards against the same Detroit defense that gave up 130+ to Adrian Peterson the previous week. The Vikings run D appears to have improved since the opening week debacle against the 49ers, and held the Chargers 23 rushing yards below their season average. All signs would point to the Vikings shutting down the Broncos ground game and making this a one-dimensional Peyton Manning aerial assault.

    Denver isn’t moving the ball with any great consistency these days either. Their 18.7 first downs per game rank tied for 25th, while the Vikings are slightly worse at 18.3 (27th). The Broncos are only converting 39.1% of their 3rd downs (18th), though they are better than the 34.4% of the Vikings (26th).
    One place that the Broncos are excelling at are sacks and generating turnovers. The Broncos 11 sacks are tied for 3rd , while their 6 picks rank 2nd and they have also forced 3 fumbles and scored 2 defensive TDs. Peyton Manning has been sacked 8 times, while Teddy Bridgewater has been sacked 6 times. Manning has also been picked off 3 times compared to 2 for Teddy.

    The Broncos offense has generally gotten off to slow starts in all three games this year. In the opener vs the Ravens, although the Broncos kicked two long FGs in the first quarter, the offense didn’t penetrate deeper than the Ravens 32 yard line until there was only 1:04 left in the first half. That game finished with no offensive TDs by the Broncos. The following week at KC, the Broncos didn’t score until there was 2:36 left in the first half. That TD was followed by an interception of Alex Smith deep in KC territory, resulting in a quick 15 yard TD drive by the Broncos. After that, the Broncos managed only a FG until Denver’s final offensive drive began at their own 20 with 2:27 left in the game. That resulted in a classic Manning drive to a tying touchdown, followed by a Jamaal Charles fumble that was returned for the winning score. Last week against Detroit, the Broncos didn’t score until 4:58 was left in the first half. They put up only 17 total points before Matthew Stafford threw an interception with 3:44 left in the game, which led to the Broncos final TD drive of the night. In summary, the Broncos offense has gotten off to slow starts in all three games, and four of their eight total TDs were either defensive TDs (two) or were the direct result of opponent turnovers (two). If the Vikings can avoid turning the ball over, their chances for winning this game increase dramatically.

    So here are my keys for a Vikings win this weekend:

    1. Get the lead early. Trying to come from behind via the pass (especially given the infancy state of our passing offense) plays right into their hands given their sack and takeover prowess. Take the pressure to throw too much off Teddy by giving him the lead.

    2. Establish the run game with AD, and stick with it. The Broncos haven’t established they can stop an elite ground attack, even knowing that the opponent’s vertical game was lacking (see KC and Alex Smith). Keep Manning on the sideline and prevent him from getting into a passing rhythm, while eating clock and keeping the Vikings DL and DBs fresh.

    3. Win the battle of field position. In 26 drives where the Broncos have started inside their own 35 yard line (not counting end of game victory formations), they’ve scored 4 TDs, 2 FGs, thrown two INTs and lost a fumble. In 8 drives starting at their 45 or beyond, they’ve scored 2 TDs, 4 FGs, turned the ball over on downs once and threw one INT. Long story short – on any given drive where they have to go 70-80 yards, they only score twice in eight tries and will turn it over once in those eight tries.

    4. Avoid turnovers and penalties. True for any game, but against this opportunistic bunch in particular. Dumb offensive penalties create down and distance situations that push you into the teeth of the Broncos defensive strength. Use the run game to keep the chains moving and make short, manageable 3rd down plays where you might even consider trying to run for the first down just to keep the clock moving and avoid possible sacks or interceptions, and not losing ground in the field position battle.

    I am not suggesting that the Vikings completely abandon passing the ball. Indeed, they may have to use some screens, or short crosses, to beat or slow down the rush. This also might be the game we see one or two trick plays….maybe a flea flicker from AD heading into the line tossing it back to Teddy, or a halfback option pass by McKinnon if he can avoid showing his intentions too soon to allow the DBs to recover. This could be a big game by guys like Pruitt and Ellison as they chip on the edge then drift out as safety valves for Teddy.

    At any rate, it doesn’t appear to me that Peyton Manning is leading an unstoppable offensive machine, nor are the Vikings helpless to attack the Denver defense. I’m not saying the Vikings WILL win on Sunday, but I believe with the proper game plan and discipline, they have more than a fighting chance.
    SKOL VIKINGS!

  2. #2
    ^^ Great post.

    The Viking run defense is excellent ... what you saw in the San Francisco game was its vulnerability to Jumbo, power running formations when the offense uses 8 blockers which neutralizes the Viking gap control and lateral speed. Denver doesn't run Jumbo sets, and very few other teams do because they lack the required blocking personnel. So the Broncos will struggle mightily to run on the Purple, and will need to rely on Manning's veteran craftiness to win this game.

    The Vikings certainly have the talent to beat Denver, which, as you correctly elucidated, is a team with a very good defense but an inconsistent, although still capable, passing attack. Run the ball, be +2 in the turnover category, and pressure Manning with 4 rushers and the occasional A gap blitz, and a win is very likely.

    BUT, Denver has a record of 23 - 2 at home since acquiring Manning, and the Vikings historically have been notoriously bad on the road against above-.500 opponents in that afternoon time slot with a large national TV audience.

    So, no surprise Denver is a 6.5-point fave ... all the historical numbers suggest the money will flow to the Denver side of the ledger with any spread under a TD.

    But therein lies the opportunity for our Beloved Purple. THIS is our statement game, THIS is the chance to start a new successful chapter for this franchise, and a win Sunday afternoon would put the team on the national radar and get the league buzzing about all this great young talent the new Viking coaching staff has at its disposal. There's also very little downside, as they are expected to lose.

    THIS could be the game we look back on and say, "that game in Denver in early 2015 was the point where the Vikings turned the corner from Mediocre Street on to Elite Avenue."

    Let's do this. SKOL!

    LEAFMAN THE PURPLE FAN
    Last edited by Leafman; 09-30-2015 at 06:36 PM.

  3. I dont even care if we win. I just want to see us show up put a beating on them and keep it close. I remember a game in 2009 against the Steelers when we knew that we were ready for big time. We lost it but we were competing that game and thats all i wish for us this Sunday.

  4. #4
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    That's pretty much how I expected it to play-out… granted, we made it a game, I figured it would come down to our QB play. That final fumble, just have to shake my head. This is classic Vikings and Rick Spielman, who has never drafted a successful QB throughout his entire career in the NFL. Oh well.

    Great game regardless and proud of our guys. Skol

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by C Mac D View Post
    This is classic Vikings and Rick Spielman, who has never drafted a successful QB throughout his entire career in the NFL. Oh well.
    No, the only thing classic here is you. So predictable...

    LEAFMAN THE PURPLE FAN

  6. #6
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    What really bothered me on the last fumble is the fact that immediately after the ball was knocked out, Bridgewater essentially gave up on the play. He made no attempt to dive on the ball or even try to make a play on it… he just sorta threw up his hands and said 'darn'.

    Guess I'm just frustrated and pointing out small mistakes… but it bothered me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leafman View Post
    No, the only thing classic here is you. So predictable...

    LEAFMAN THE PURPLE FAN
    Is this site just a Vikings fan circle jerk? Or can some people, like myself, have an informed and honest opinion? Oh well, whatever… Skol.

  8. Pisses me off that we lost. That was a really good game. Could have went either way. We played tough. Who was the back that gave the guy off the corner free run on the strip fumble. If he would have blocked never would have happened or if Teddy flipped him the ball he may have had some room. Still a hell of a game.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by thorshammer View Post
    Pisses me off that we lost. That was a really good game. Could have went either way. We played tough. Who was the back that gave the guy off the corner free run on the strip fumble. If he would have blocked never would have happened or if Teddy flipped him the ball he may have had some room. Still a hell of a game.
    Heck of a game, came down to that missed FG being the difference. The TOs were huge on both sides. #22 Hits hard!

  10. #10
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    Yeah.. Harrison Smith is a beast. Love watching that guy play.

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