Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Dec 2009

ESPN AGS: Cardinals over Vikings

As we discuss in this week's Any Given Sunday, the Cardinals are almost like a lab experiment designed specifically to beat the Minnesota Vikings, and it is very likely that the Vikings will have to face them again in the postseason.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 08 Dec 2009

17 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2009, 12:31am by Sifter


by R O (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 1:42pm

Cardinals over Vikings?

They were in the Super Bowl last year! That barely counts as an upset.

I was SURE you would do Raiders over Steelers. That is the mind blower.

by Spielman :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 10:56pm

Well, since F.O.'s reaction to the Cardinals run last year was to stick their fingers in their ears and scream LALALATHISISNOTHAPPENING as loudly as they could, their being in the Super Bowl last year doesn't count for much. And really, it shouldn't when talking about this year.

I would think they'd have noticed that Arizona ranked as a top 10 team this year in their own system, though.

by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 1:45pm

How long has AGS been an Insider thing? Rats!

by Measure (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 3:33pm

I was pretty ticked about that too, but around black friday, they announced deal on amazon that let me get the ESPN mag for a year, insider included, for $5. I ordered right away, and I was just now able to get insider activated.

by Tom Gower :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 5:21pm

All season, along with everything else written for ESPN unless specifically noted.

by ArizonaCardinalsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 2:06pm

I thought you might be going with Raiders over Steelers too, or even Dolphins over Pats.

The Cards have finally figured out what that Tight End is supposed to do for their offense, and that's made a huge difference. Plus that Jared Allen guy needs to figure out how to help his defense if he can't get to the QB.

Of course, Minnesota pulled an 0-fer when the Vikings lost in Glendale on Sunday and the Wild lost to the Coyotes on Monday. Good times.

by E :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 2:34pm

Man, it seems so obvious in retrospect the way you wrote it Vince ... and yet FO had Minnesota as 69% likely to win and a "yellow" pick ATS. I'm not criticising -- I think you guys do great work all around -- but this AGS highlights a reason the picks may be off this year - not enough attention given to matchups. (It's just a hypothesis, since I have no idea how much attention given to matchups, but there must be a reason for the atypical season-long slump.)

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 2:47pm

We've already written a lot about both the Steelers and the Raiders this year, especially the Steelers. The gist of that story would have been "See, we told you the Steelers are much worse without Polamalu," and "Hey look, Bruce Gradkowski is better than JaMarcus Russell." Hardly seems like Insider-worthy content. (And for the person who asked, AGS has been on Insider all season.)

Dolphins over Pats was going to be the choice until the Sunday night game, which was chosen largely because both teams are likely to make the playoffs. NE-MIA and NYG-DAL were also possible playoff previews, but there's a good chance that at least one of those teams will go on to miss the playoffs entirely.

by jmaron :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 3:01pm

I don't have the ESPN insider. I'll pay for FO premium because I like FO but I can't bring myself to pay ESPN.

Would have loved to read the article. That was the first game this year where I thought Minnesota lost the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball. I think the injuries to Loadholt and McKinnie hurt as neither played anywhere near as well as they have recently.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 3:18pm

Yeah, any game in which a team's two starting offensive tackles leave the game for extended periods with injuries is hard to generalize from. I don't like to psychoanalyze teams much, because it isn't based on anything but hunches, but I didn't expect the Vikings to match the Cardinals intensity in this game, given the standings, and given how the Vikings embarassed the Cards last year in Glendale, or, more accurately, how the Cards embarassed themselves.

If the Vikings don't play very physically this Sunday against the Bengals, it will be officially time to get concerned.

by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 6:49pm

I would have to agree that the Cardinals controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. For the first time this year perhaps we saw Favre get pressured and make mistakes. I have a funny feeling that the Cards will be the team to beat in the NFC come playoff time. Chances are they will not have to endure alot of cold weather and if they have to play at either Minny or Orleans theyre team speed will match the hosts. Telling you the Cards are in a perfect position.

by RickKilling (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 3:37pm

When were the Vikings 9-2, as stated in the first line of the article? Don't tell me that they are actually 9-3 right now and everyone was laughing at me when I proclaimed them 10-1.

Public ridicule sucks.

by RickKilling (not verified) :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 7:09pm

And of course now it's corrected so I look like I've been drunk-typing. Hate it when that happens...

by andrew :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 3:38pm

Obviously the Vikings should have gone back to Tarvaris Jackson for this game, as he knows how to beat the Cardinals.

They should also have put Berrian on punt return duty, and played the cardinals one week after they clinched their division title.

by gattoma :: Tue, 12/08/2009 - 7:22pm

The game showed why Vikings fans (myself included) are so concerned about their chances in the playoffs: both the Saints and Cardinals are poor matchups for their defense. AGS laid it out so I won't bother repeating it, but the Cards are a particularly bad matchup. It doesn't do any good to take away the running game when the other team has no real interest in running in the first place. 1st round pairing of the Packers or Eagles with the Cardinals would be interesting because both teams present a better matchup with Arizona's passing game. Regardless of how it shakes out, the NFC playoff field looks absolutely loaded this year (first time in a long time).

by ChicagoRaider :: Wed, 12/09/2009 - 5:38pm

The idea that AGS was written about one sure-fire playoff team beating another sure-fire playoff team is horrible. Sure-fire playoff teams should be expected to win. Doing that write up is a game-of-the-week writeup, not a wow-you-would-not-believe-it win. It was a total cop-out.

And it would have been so hard to write about the Raiders coming from behind 3 times in the fourth quarter. Your stats say the Raiders are cleaning algae off the bottom of the NFL, but beating the reigning champs was just, well, so predictable.

by Sifter :: Thu, 12/10/2009 - 12:31am

Well how about this? 2 weeks ago Vince wrote about both Oakland AND Pittsburgh. That was the week Oakland beat Cincy and KC beat Pittsburgh.

Personally, I think the copout would have been writing ANOTHER article on an Oakland upset and a Pittsburgh collapse. Stuff hasn't changed much in 2 weeks.

The guy's just trying to make the reading more original and interesting. Shame you can't appreciate that just because it wasn't the biggest upset of the weekend.