Gauging my confidence going into the NFC Championship Game: a spot-by-spot breakdown…
10: Ryan Longwell – The only Viking player who consistently rates a perfect 10-out-of-10 on the confidence scale. I believe, without reservation, that if Longwell needs to make a clutch kick, he will. Of course, I probably would’ve said the same thing about Gary Anderson going into the NFC Title game that other time, but let’s not think about that right now.
Prince’s Hair – Wherever Prince watches the game from on Sunday, be it the Superdome or the Prince Cave, his hair is certain to be immaculate.
9: Ryan Cook – I have 90% confidence in Ryan Cook’s ability to not screw up from the sideline. There’s always that small chance he could trip and step on Brett Favre’s foot.
Brett Favre – Woah, why do I not have 100% confidence in Brett? Simple – cause I was paying attention during the Arizona game where the defensive scheme clearly messed with his mind. I think Brett will play well, but there’s always the chance the Saints will throw some crazy stuff at him and knock everything out of rhythm.
8: Offensive Line – I’m saying it; I have a decent amount of confidence that our offensive line will play well. They stoned the Cowboys‘ allegedly great pass rushers, and should be able to handle what the Saints throw at them. Their worst games have come outdoors.
Sidney Rice – If Brett gets time to throw those deep balls to Sidney and the Saints are single-covering him like most teams do, then Sidney will have a big game. If the ball is catchable he will catch it.
7: Chester Taylor – If Chester gets chances to make plays, he’ll make some plays (kind of a big if). My concern is that he could have one clank off his hands like in the Pittsburgh game.
6: Visanthe Shiancoe – I like Visanthe’s sure-handedness, especially if we’re way up and trying to rub it in. Health is the concern. And that he could disappear like he did against the Cowboys, if the flow of the game goes away from him too much.
Tackling – This is only at 6 because they tackled well against the Cowboys. It was probably closer to 2 about a month ago.
5: Defensive Line – After that incredible performance vs. the Cowboys, this should be much higher, but there are a couple of factors that keep it from being so: 1) Kevin Williams and Ray Edwards are banged up; 2) If Ray Edwards doesn’t play, the Saints will load up against Jared Allen even more than they would have anyway; 3) Pat Williams has had injury problems recently as well; 4) As the second Bears game taught us, even when teams block Jared one-on-one, he can be taken out of the game; 4) 5 is about where the line deserves to be rated in a road game, considering how they played on the road most of the year. This will shoot up to 10 if they pressure Drew Brees a lot in the first quarter.
4: Adrian Peterson – I’ve gone from not knowing what to expect from Adrian to basically expecting him not to show up. The only thing I can say with any certainty is that, if Favre tries a dump-off pass to him over the middle, he will miss it.
Secondary – Yeah, I know, they looked great against the Cowboys…or was that just because Tony Romo sucks? I can’t have much confidence in this unit given who we are playing, where we are playing, and what state Antoine Winfield is in.
3: Brad Childress – Call me a Chilly-hater if you will, but my greatest fear remains that the game will be close and the pivotal moment will involve a terrible game management decision or a challenge flag at the wrong time or something else absurd. Or that Childress will decide this is the time to run Adrian Peterson up the middle 30 times to “shorten the game.”
2: Kick Coverage – Admit it: You fully expected the Cowboys to get back in the game by housing a kick-off. You’re still amazed it didn’t happen.
1: Percy Harvin – Looks like we’ll have to do it without him. We might as well get used to this.
0: Packer Fans Keeping Their Shit Together if Favre Goes to the Super Bowl - The stupidity and bitterness will flow fast and furious if the Vikings win, sending Favre to the Super Bowl. And then of course there will be the phonies who say they were rooting for him all along.
Topics: Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Chester Taylor, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Pat Williams, Percy Harvin, Ray Edwards, Ryan Cook, Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe