Friday, October 19, 2007

Save Us Purple Jebus!

The Vikings will be facing one of the top offenses in the NFL on Sunday, and the best offense in the NFC. A team with enough firepower to score 27 points against the Patriots defense and a team, that, prior to last week, was on pace to break the 1998 Vikings' record for points scored in a season (they are currently on pace for 540 points). This is a team with the third best DVOA in overall offense (23.8%, behind only New England and Indianapolis), the third best passing DVOA (38.6%) and the fifth best running attack by DVOA (12.1%). They have a running back, Marion Barber III with the highest DVOA for a back (39.4%-for comparison, All Day's is 25.0%) and the ability to break any tackle.

Their quarterback has the 6th highest DPAR in the NFL, ahead of such big names as Brett Farve and Carson Palmer, despite throwing seven interceptions in the last two games. He also picks up more big name females than anyone outside of the Fertile one in New England. He is, however, as you can tell from the interceptions, a "gun slinger", so there is hope for Antoine Winfield, Darren Sharper and the rest of the secondary, provided they don't let the ball hit them between the "3" and the "1".

And it's not like Tony Romo is throwing to untalented hacks. Patrick Crayton has blown up in his fourth year. He has already had the second best season of his career, and is well on pace to set career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Not to mention the fact that he's hauling in 62% of the passes thrown his way and is eighth in DPAR amongst receivers. His bigger name compatriot, Terrell Owens, isn't doing quite as well, largely due to a case of the drops. Owens' has only caught 48% of passes thrown his way, which would be the lowest of his career.

Neither Crayton nor Owens is leading the team in receiving this year, however, which is yet another reason for Vikings' fans to worry. The Cowboy's tight end, Jason Witten, is leading the team in receptions, yards and is tied for the lead in touchdowns. Witten also has the second highest DPAR amongst tight ends, behind only Antonio Gates, and the fifth highest DVOA. You may remember the tight end who's in third in DPAR, seeing as how Tony Gonzalez had seven catches for 96 yards against the Vikings. Witten becomes even scarier when one considers that the Vikings have had problems defending tight ends this year, giving up a DVOA of 24.4%.

Quite simply, the Cowboys have the most potent offense the Vikings will face this year, and it will take the Purple Jesus performing another miracle for their offense to keep up with the Cowboys. There's some solace to be found, however, in the fact that the Vikings do not necessarily need to win this game to make the playoffs. Definitely wouldn't hurt if they did, but realistically, this is not a must win game, like last Sunday's was.

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