Rejoice!! The NFL Is Back

Whats good everyone. Not gonnna do a full-fledged preview of tonight’s Vikings-Saints like I did for last season’s Thursday night opener, but I do have some thoughts on the game as well as a prediction.

-Just based on what happened last January in New Orleans, one would have to say Minnesota is the better team here. I mean they outplayed and out-gained New Orleans easily in the NFC Championship game and should have come away with the win. A pair of fumbles by star running back Adrian Peterson and a ill-timed interception by the ageless Brett Favre sealed the Vikings fate. Their third loss in the NFC Championship game in 11 years, and this one hurt more than ever because it came from self-inflicted wounds.

-Fast forward to tonight’s game. The Saints are looking very sharp. They have all of their key offensive weapons returning and the only weakness I sense with them is at the safety position with Darren Sharper who is starting the season on the PUP list. The Vikings have living legend Brett Favre back under center, however I expect him to be a bit rusty. I know he was amazing last year, putting up career high numbers in completion percentage and TD-INT ratio, but he is another year older. And at 40 years old, one more year equates to a sizeable drop in production. He will be without his go to receiver from a year ago, Sidney Rice, who is also starting the season on the PUP list. But with arguably the best running back in football, Favre doesn’t have to be perfect. He just has to avoid the costly mistakes. Tight end Visanthe Shianco hauled in 11 touchdowns in 2009 and is a great threat at in the redzone. If the Vikes want to have a shot at winning tonight, both Peterson and Shainco need to step up.

-Like I said earlier, this isn’t a complete preview, there are so many other aspects of this game I’d like to touch on, but in the interest of keeping this blog concise, it is time to wrap it up and leave you with one final thought and my prediction.

The Saints are the defending champs, and they are playing in front of their deafening home crowd. I can just see New Orleans coming out of the gate with the same type of intensity that they did in September of ’06, when they reopened the Superdome for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Anyone who watched that game, specifically the first quarter, knew that the Saints were NOT going to lose on that night. SAINTS 27 – VIKINGS 16

P.S. – Ravens preview coming soon.

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