The New York Giants original plan to face the Minnesota Vikings in the Metrodome fell apart Sunday when the Teflon roof of the dome collapsed under heavy snow. The problems first started when the Giants got stranded in Kansas City due to the same weather. When the roof collapsed at the Metrodome, the NFL had to act quickly to decide where the game would be played. They finally decided to have the game in Detroit's Ford Field on Monday at 7:20pm. Through all of this, the Giants were stuck in Kansas City, unsure of their schedule. The uncertainty and change of venue will certainly be a distraction when the two teams finally face each other.
Now that the venue has been decided and both teams are on the move, there are serious implications to discuss. Vikings quarterback, Brett Favre, said that he certainly would not have played on Sunday, but the 30 hour time difference could change that. The delay in the game also gave wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith more time to decide if they are healthy enough to play. Both teams will be anxious, antsy and ready to play by the time they kick off on Monday. The biggest question, in my mind, will be how the two teams react to all of the distractions.
GIANTS KEYS TO VICTORY
Pressure the Quarterback
Whether Brett Favre or Tarvaris Jackson starts is a moot point. Both quarterbacks are prone to throwing interceptions. Big Blue is tied for third in the NFL in total sacks with 35, averaging nearly three per game. They're in the middle of the pack (tied for 12th) in interceptions. They have 29 forced fumbles (17 recovered) on the season. They forced Donovan McNabb to fumble the ball three times last week. If they can do the same this week, it will force the Vikings to rely more on Adrian Peterson who will have to face the tough Giants linebackers.
The Offensive Line Must Hold
The Vikings have the sixth ranked defense in the NFL. In order for the Giants to pull off a win, the offensive line must continue to do what it has done over the past few weeks. They need to give Eli Manning time to throw and time to make good decisions with those throws. They need to give Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw room to run. Jacobs has the capability to run over anyone in his way, but if the line creates holes for him, his job will be that much easier. Bradshaw can cut and leap all over the field, but if he doesn't have to he'll gain more yards. The offense must move the ball down the field and score points to win. The offensive line has a test ahead of them. It's time they prove they're as good as we think they are.
Test the rush defense
While the Vikings have the fourth best rush defense in the league, they haven't seen a back the likes of Brandon Jacobs. They also haven't faced a team with a duo like that of the Giants. Ahmad Bradshaw and Jacobs compliment each other in their diversity, and that throws off defenses. Jacobs has arguably more power than any other back in the league. Big Blue needs to test the defense by switching up the backs and giving them different looks. Jacobs for power, Bradshaw for finesse.
Attack the Offensive Line
The Giants defense is one of the best in the league. They've got great speed for their size, and they've got some good safeties that can come up and blitz nicely. I'm not saying blitz on every play, but Big Blue needs to have Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora both walk away with a big game. They're both capable of getting off the block or holding someone back so another player can get at the quarterback. They'll be able to wear the offensive line out quickly, limiting the quarterback as well as Adrian Peterson.
Get the crowd involved
This game should have been played in enemy territory. Instead, Detroit will play host as these two teams go head to head. There may not be much of a crowd at all, or it may be a full house with the tickets being free. Regardless, no one in Detroit is likely to root for Minnesota, a team from the same NFC North division. Besides, it will be near impossible to get out of Minnesota to get to the game. The Giants now have the upper hand with the crowd. They need to get them involved and do it early so that the Vikings know who is in control of the game.
BIG GAME FOR…
Over the last few days I've been saying it until my face is blue, the offense has got to look at Jacobs tomorrow. He'll be the main contributor in getting the ball down the field as he can rush on short yardage to gain a first down. He will be a big factor in how many points are scored not just because he can gain yards, but he's a power back that can punch it in on the goal line. When the offense lets him take the lead, Jacobs needs to respond by playing to the best of his ability.
Big Blue's confidence is rising with each win. They've made many adjustments this season and overcome each one. The change in venue, getting stuck in Kansas City, the shortened week before the Philadelphia game are all distractions, but come tomorrow at 7:20pm, all of that is out the window. The Giants are getting some key players back this week and the Vikings are likely to be without Favre. I fully expect the Giants to come out swinging and put another win under their belts as they continue their run at the playoffs.
Giants 20, Vikings 7Adrian Peterson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Brett Favre, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Steve Smith, Tarvaris Jackson
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