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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Can Teddy Bridge The Gap? - NFL 2015 TNF 14

At no time does the saying "Defense wins championships" ring truer than this NFL season. Of the 12 teams that are best situated to make the playoffs, 10 of them are ranked tops in Defense. The two that are not are the division leaders for the NFC East and AFC South.

Though ranked fifth in points per game, the Minnesota Vikings defense is coming off a humbling experience, having given up 38 points this past Sunday. The Vikings also gave up 30 points in Week 11 against the Green Bay Packers.

Even before the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, coming into tonight's game, one could see what type of teams give the Vikings defense problems. The Vikings have only beaten one team that would qualify if the playoffs started today.

The Vikings are 1-4 when they give up 20 or more points. In today's NFL that type of offensive production does not work.

Minnesota has to score more and even though the focus is on Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, it is the Vikings' offensive approach that is outdated.

The days of NFL success being measured by having a dominant running back are over. Heading into Week 14:
  • 2 running backs have reached 1000 yards
  • 10 more running backs can reach 1000 yards for the season, provided they maintain their average weekly output
  • of these 12 running backs, only 5 of their teams would qualify if the playoffs started today

Gone also are the days, where a quarterback throwing for 3000 yards meant the team's passing was on point.
  • 12 quarterbacks have reached 3000 yards; only 4 of their teams would qualify if the playoffs started today
  • 13 more quarterbacks can reach 3000 yards for the season, provided they maintain their average weekly output

Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (2398 yards) sits near the bottom of the 25 quarterbacks on pace to reach 3000 yards. Since this is only his second year in the NFL, there is much time for improvement.

With the playoffs on the horizon, an ailing defense and tonight's matchup - Minnesota At Arizona (-10.5; 46.5) - how soon can Teddy bridge the gap of a past NFL era to today's, where dominance is measured by throwing for 4000 yards?

Of the 21 quarterbacks on pace to throw for 4000 yards, 9 of their teams would qualify if the playoffs started today. This, in itself, is a great measuring stick because the other two quarterbacks and teams that fall short do so because of injuries.

Bridgewater has the opportunities and accuracy but needs to improve on his longer passes, particularly with a dominant running back, Adrian Peterson who leads the NFL in Rushing Yards.

The numbers point toward the Arizona Cardinals (.632) to win by 9 points, and that 3 out of the 4 times the Vikings lost, they did so by 17 or more points.

So, I take Cardinals (OVER) because I see Vikings getting 17 points - not enough to outduel Cardinals. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then get on up and take it to the bridge.

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