This post began as a response specifically to Hyperion Ecta's post, thinking this week's game vs. Minnesota will be much harder than previously thought, and that they played 'inspired football' last night. Though I certainly cannot disagree (you've got to be inspired to win in most cases), I think that the fact that the Vikings beat a possible Super Bowl contender is being blown out of proportion. Any given Sunday, guys.
That said, I do believe this game has a lot of impact for our guys heading into next year, and you'll see that kind of effort in their play. The Lions, not the Vikings, will be the ones playing inspired football, heading into the offseason FINALLY out of the NFC North cellar, and with high hopes for 2011. Here's why:
Everyone is talking about Minnesota's monumentous win over Philly with their new franchise quarterback, Joe Webb.
OK, so maybe not all of that is ENTIRELY true, but I really believe in giving credit where it is due.
Teams tend to slump after big wins like the one the Eagles experienced, and it's not like their defense is top ranked (22nd in PA [24.2], 16th in PYA [223.7], 13th in RYA [107.1]).
Yesterday's stat line:
Passing: Webb 17/26 195 yards 0 TD's
Rushing: Peterson 22 ATT 118 yards 5.4 avg 1 TD
Webb 6 ATT 31 yards 5.2 avg 1 TD
Given the statistics from Minnesota's offense, I'd say they played the defense for what they were worth. In that case, I believe they're going to be in for a rude awakening come Sunday.
The Eagles defense gave up exactly the number of points on average from the season (via an additional fumble return for a TD and a FG) and gave up slightly more rushing yards and much less passing. The Eagles are built to score high, and keep pace with the fact that the defense is just not that good. The offense didn't do it's job yesterday, if it had (with an average of 28.4, good for 2nd in the league) there would be little talk of this being a real tough matchup.
Our offensive line held their defense in check last we met, allowing one sack and two INT's in Hill's 2nd game with the team. We have familiarity with their scheme and players, and so long as Adrian Peterson doesn't rip off another 160 yard game, I highly doubt the Joe Webb-led Vikings are going to come into Detroit and deliver another stunner after the debocle this season has produced for them.
These are two teams on completely different tracks, with a youth movement on the defense in Detroit (and in general) and a 'get it done no matter what' attitude. The Vikings, on the other hand, are probably right around the 'run from the burning wreckage as fast as possible' part of the crash and burn Favre, Childress, and Co. have sent them into, and to me anyways, are hardly a threat.