Free NFL Picks Dallas at Minnesota 10-17-2010

October 14, 2010

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Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings 4:15 PM EST

Sunday October 17th, 2010

Line: Minnesota -1 1/2

Overview:

It is fitting these teams are meeting up. At the beginning of the season, many thought this could be the NFC Championship. Now, both teams are trying to stay afloat. at 1-3, there are question marks all over the place. Maybe neither team is in panic mode yet, but the loser will be. This is a must win game. Although neither team has lost to a mediocre team, there comes a time when you need to put it all together. The talent is present on both rosters. It is a matter of wanting it.

Keys to the Game:

  • Brett Favre might miss a game. This is nothing new in his career. He has been beat up before, but he has never missed a game in his professional career. Why would he start now? The Vikings want Favre to finish the season, so if that means sitting out with tendonitis, so be it. Favre already had his bye week, so this is going to be a long road. He clearly gives the team a better chance to win than Tarvaris Jackson, but ruining the season over pride is not going to be the remedy for success. Unfortunately, he injured his texting throwing elbow. There were a number of times when he was wincing in obvious pain during the Jets game. Not only is this a lingering injury, it is one that gets worse over time. Rest and ice might be needed, but if Favre sits out, the Vikings don’t have a chance. He might not be able to bomb the ball down the field, but he still managed to air one out sixty yards last week when he needed to.
  • The Vikings are going to have their hands full the entire game. Miles Austin is the complete receiver. He can run every route and has proven he is here to stay and not a one season wonder. The Cowboys gave up a lot for Roy Williams. He hasn’t produced as they had hoped, but with Austin being a number one receiver, you could do worse than Roy Williams as your second option. That leaves Dez Bryant in the slot. He is a developing young talent, but he provides a few catches a game and does his part to contribute. With all of these weapons at wide receiver, Jason Witten is tough to cover. Defenses struggle with Witten because he creates mismatches. Dealing with all of the different skills each one of these players brings is difficult for a defense to handle. Everyone brings something different to the table, which has made the Cowboys the number three passing offense in the NFL.
  • The Vikings need to apply pressure. They fare well against the pass, mostly because they can get to the quarterback. Even if they don’t bring down the quarterback for a sack, making him uncomfortable in the pocket makes it easier on defensive backs. When a quarterback has to worry about his pocket collapsing, he goes through his progressions quicker. Sometimes the correct read is not the one that is being made. The Vikings don’t allow anyone time to let everything develop, which is critical when you are going up against an offense that likes to air it out.
  • Adrian Peterson has to have his best game of the season. 5.5 yards a carry is wonderful. 166 yards against the Lions is a terrific performance. Peterson will need to do better than that against the Cowboys to give his team the victory. Randy Moss isn’t going to be a huge factor in this one because Favre is not 100 percent and if Jackson has to come in, he won’t be able to get Moss the ball. Peterson is going to need to carry the team like he has in the past. Last week, Chris Johnson ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns. A.P. will look to match that performance on Sunday. The Cowboys have holes in their defense. Peterson might not have the speed Johnson has, but he runs downhill. The Cowboys are going to have a hard time containing Peterson.

Wrap Up:

This game is in Minnesota. It is one of the loudest places to play in the league. That being said, the Vikings might not be able to capitalize at home. Neither team looks like it is ready to take the jump. Both teams are in disarray. It all comes down to who starts living up to expectations. I’m going with the Vikings as long as Favre is in the game.

Free NFL Pick: Minnesota -1 1/2


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