MNF Primer: Battle of disappointments when Vikings visit Giants at MetLife tonight

Posted: October 21, 2013 in NFL
Tags: , , , , ,

By W.G. Ramirez

I’m pretty sure the NFL’s schedule makers didn’t think the combined record of the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants would be 1-10, when they put these two in the Monday Night game for Week 7. But, such is the case, as the Vikings come in with a 1-4 mark and the Giants are winless at 0-6.Line1_PROOF

And though the Giants are laying the points in this game, it’s been Minnesota that has been more competitive in its losses over the first six weeks. Other than a 25-point home loss to Carolina last week, the Vikings’ first three losses were by 10, 1 and 4 points. New York, on the other hand, has been humiliated up and down the schedule. Its defense has been non-existent and quarterback Eli Manning has thrown an NFL-high 15 interceptions, matching his number from last season.

To the Vikings’ defense, they lost Christian Ponder to an injury, and Matt Cassel simply proved to be ineffective. This week they’ll introduce Josh Freeman in purple and gold, as the former Buccaneer makes his debut with Minnesota. And lest we forget, Freeman just threw for 27 touchdowns and more than 4,000 yards last year. True, he completed only 45.7 percent of his passes with the Bucs this season, but he was also embroiled in a nasty personality conflict with coach Greg Schiano, who hasn’t made that many friends while he’s been at the helm in Tampa Bay.

As for the Giants, there may not be any excuse.

One of three winless teams left in the league, the Giants come into this one after an 11-day layoff between games. They lost 27-21 defeat at Chicago on Oct. 10, and while it may have marked the lowest point total allowed by the Giants this season, they’re still allowing a staggering league-worst 34.8 points per game. The Giants have committed a league-worst 23 turnovers, and can’t seem to get a grip on either side of the ball.

Then again, the Vikings are third-worst in the NFL in yielding 31.6 points per game.

Let’s take a look at the key matchup…

KEY SHOWDOWN: Adrian Peterson vs. New York defense

Peterson, who is fourth in the league in rushing (483), arrives in Jersey after being limited to a season-low 62 yards last week following the death of his 2-year-old son two days earlier. His focus should be clearer this week, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him explode for one of those 200-yard nights.

Peterson leads the NFL with 9,332 yards rushing since joining the league in 2007. In his past 15 games, he has rushed for 2,081 yards and 15 touchdowns.

New York’s defense has been horrendous, and that’s not good when its pass rush and front line used to be one of the fiercest in the league. To put things in perspective: defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka leads the team with 1-1/2 sacks. That’s over six games

If the Giants can’t control the line of scrimmage and slow Peterson down, it’s going to open things up for the Vikings’ passing game, and Freeman might end up with a brilliant debut.

BY THE NUMBERS: Minnesota at N.Y. Giants (-3.5, 48)

The Vikings are 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS this season, while all five games have gone over.

The well-disciplined Vikings have been called for 22 penalties, tied for second fewest in league, one behind Miami.

Minnesota comes into this one having covered 4 of 5 after an ATS loss.

The Giants are 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS this year, while four of their six games have gone over.

In six games, New York has led for roughly 30 of 360 minutes.

The Giants haven’t scored more than 23 points since opening week, in a 36-31 loss at Dallas. They’ve lost by 5, 18, 38, 24, 15 and 6 – an average of 17.6 points per loss.

The Giants defense has given up a league-high 209 points.

New York checks into primetime on ATS losing streaks of 3-8 against losing teams, 1-5 after losing on the field, 0-4 after an ATS cover and 1-5 overall.

INJURY REPORT: Minnesota: DNP (did not practice): CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle), T Matt Kalil (back), RB Adrian Peterson (hamstring). LIMITED: DE Jared Allen (ankle), CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle), K Blair Walsh (left hamstring), DT Kevin Williams (knee). FULL: TE Rhett Ellison (knee), QB Christian Ponder (rib), C John Sullivan (hand), WR Jarius Wright (ankle). New York: DNP: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (illness), CB Corey Webster (groin), RB David Wilson (neck). LIMITED: C David Baas (neck), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), TE Adrien Robinson (foot), S Cooper Taylor (shoulder), CB Terrell Thomas (knee).

ON DECK: The Giants hit the road next week, while the Vikings are back on primetime next Sunday at home.

New York travels south on Interstate 95 to Philadelphia for an NFC East showdown with the Eagles on Sunday, while the Minnesota welcomes the Green Bay Packers to town for the Sunday night game.

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