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Viking View (01/30/2008)
By Patrick Marek
Don't bet on a Giants Super Bowl Victory

The life of a back-up Winona Post football column writer is a lot like that of a second string quarterback. Every week you formulate clever ideas for columns that will springboard you to fame and fortune, only to watch them die on the vine, as John "Old Ironsides" Edstrom sets new marks for editorial durability.

Finally, on the snowy week before Super Bowl Sunday, Edstrom's muse has finally deserted him, and I get my big chance. What to write about?

Let's start with the Super Bowl. Because my bride is a Massachusetts lass, my misguided children are Randy Moss fans, and the fact that we get the NFL network (Thanks HBC.), I have had the opportunity to watch virtually every Patriots game this year. I have seen them dominate, and I have watched them scratch out last second victories. This is a team of destiny. Tom Brady is the best quarterback of his generation, and perhaps the greatest of all time. His underrated offensive line gives him more than enough time for him to make his lightning quick reads, and he is shifty enough in the pocket to avoid most defenders when they do make penetration. Will the Giants league leading pass rush be able to put a hurt on a gimpy Brady, and is his foot really injured, and not just another one of Belichick's dirty tricks? We'll find out Sunday, but I doubt it.

I had the Giants defense on my fantasy team and discovered the hard way that their pass rush seems to disappear in big games. I also astutely picked up Wes Welker off the waiver wire, and watched him put up league leading statistics as the ultimate possession receiver with speed. If the Giant's pass rush is neutralized, look for the Patriots corps of talented receivers to exploit a beat up secondary. I predict that Moss will reappear on the radar in this biggest of all stages, and get two touchdowns. However, the difference maker will be the Patriots venerable third down running back Kevin Faulk. Remember, you heard it here first.

As for Eli Manning, I have to give him his props for three unbelievable games with no turnovers in the playoffs. Every time he had to make a big throw, he came through with a completion, sometimes in horrible conditions. I love the "Comeback Kid" redemption story line for the Super Bowl, but this is where reality sets in. The Patriot's linebackers will knock Eli senseless, and their cornerbacks will take back at least one pick to the house. Final score: Patriots 27 - Giants 14.

Finally a word about the Vikings. I'll have to give them credit for at least operating from a different script this year. Instead of starting off hot, and then settling into a dismal fade, this year they began the year horribly, then showed enough improvement to launch themselves into the playoff race (admittedly not a huge feat against this season's mediocre competition), just in time to dash our hopes with uninspired losses to the Redskins and Broncos.

So, with an 8-8 record, Childress gets another year. What does he need to do to take us to the promised land, or at least the playoffs? First of all he needs to get somebody on this team who can sack the quarterback, and it can't happen through the draft. How many number one picks have we wasted on defensive ends? I say grab a free agent with a track record, and then we'll see, once and for all if it's the system, or the personnel. We need wide receivers who can stretch the field, a quarterback who can make quick reads and accurate throws, and a coach who can make adjustments when offenses pick us to pieces, or defenses stack the line to stop Adrian Peterson. On second thought, maybe Childress shouldn't get another year.  

 

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