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NFL Bargain Bets: Week 15
Decemer 11th 2008
by Old Man Winner

Arizona Cardinals (-3) vs Minnesota Vikings 

Anyone could handicap this game and tell you exactly how each team will game plan. When the Vikings have the ball, they will run it. That is their strength, and besides they will have no desire to ask Tavaris Jackson (filling in for injured Gus Frerotte) to "go out there and win them the game." Arizona is in the middle of the NFL pack against the run. Therefore, I fully expect AP to get 25-30 carries and be pushing a buck and a half for the game with 1-2 scores. With a line like that you would assume a Viking victory. Unfortunately for them, those will likely be their only scores unless they get one from their def/special teams. Okay so the Vikings eek out twenty-something points.

Now what about the Birds? We know they play better at home. We know the weather will be good. We know the track will be fast. And yes, we know they will attack the Vikings through the air. The Cards average a paltry 75 yards per game on the ground - dead last in the NFL. The Vikings average giving up only 73 yards per game rushing. So, if you average those out (carry the one, take the square root of the sum and divide by pi), a novice would guess that Arizona should rush for about 74 yards, right? Wrong! I will be surprised if Arizona hands off the ball into the double digits and gains even 40 yards. Is there ANY reason for them to ever rush the ball in this game? Actually, yes, to give their receivers a rest from their route running, but that is it. Warner passes for 3 scores and 314 yards - ironically taking over the more heralded Drew Brees by 1 yard in the race to beat Dan Marino's single season yardage record.

Quite simply, this game comes down to whether Minnesota's running game is better than Arizona's passing game. I am going with Arizona - at home - veteran, experienced QB - best receiving tandem in the league - against a very average pass defense.

Final: Cards 38 Vikes 27

Bargain Bets 2008 Record:  8-5-1



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