In order to get a grasp on this matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers K.J. Segall of Minnesota blog “The Daily Norseman” and Andrew Ilnicki of New York blog “Giants Gab” strap on the pads and butt heads over which team not only wins, but covers the spread Monday night.
WHY MINNESOTA WILL COVER
K.J. Segall writes for The Daily Norseman. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @DailyNorseman.
Adrian Peterson cometh
After his terrible personal tragedy, people expected a monster game from Peterson against Carolina. But once the Vikings found themselves in an early hole, they were forced to abandon the run game and the reigning league MVP only had 10 touches (which still netted an impressive 62 yards).
This game, however, will see Peterson likely getting the most touches of the season because of new QB Josh Freeman. If you think the Vikings revolved around the run before, you’re going to think we’re a rugby team Monday night. The more the Vikings feed him the ball the better things seem to happen, and that’s going to be a big factor.
Speaking of Josh Freeman…
Josh Freeman has two major things going for him in this game. The first is the complete lack of tape the Giants have on this guy playing in purple. Sure, they can pull up quite a bit of him as a Buccaneer, but he’s not going to be playing anywhere near the same scheme. While the Bucs were asking him to throw nothing but jump balls, the Vikings bread and butter is the short pass.
The second bonus is his self-proclaimed “chip on the shoulder”, which I legitimately believe he has. Players with that extra motivation often go to the next level. Having to deal with Musgrave’s boneheaded offensive coordinating and having to make up for one of the worst defenses in the NFL may start to numb Freeman’s chip, but once again that won’t be an issue yet come Monday.
Eli Manning has lost his mojo
Do the Manning brothers have some sort of magical bond where they absorb each other’s powers at certain times? I’m just saying, Eli’s greatest moments were when Peyton was on the sidelines (his two heroic Super Bowl efforts), and now Peyton is having his best year and Eli is having hands down the worst of his.
Seriously, what’s wrong with him? Even with guys like Chris Cook, who hasn’t had an INT his entire career, I have a feeling Eli is going to find a way to get the ball into the hands of one of our defenders. I just don’t see him shaking the slump on national television after dropping six games in a row. The Giants won’t go winless this season, but it’s not going to change on MNF.
WHY NEW YORK WILL COVER
Andrew Ilnicki writes for Giants Gab. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter @GiantsGab.
Winning the ground game
The Giants are coming off their best effort running the football all year against the Bears, and Brandon Jacobs had his best game since facing the Dallas Cowboys in 2011. One of the main reasons for that was the Chicago's porous run defense. The Viking defense is even worse in that regard, while the Giants have one of the top run defenses in the league.
With Jacobs back in the swing of things in old New York, adding Peyton Hillis who signed this week, and with explosive rookie Michael Cox ready to pick up the slack, the Giants will out run Adrian Peterson and the Vikings and be in total control of the game from start to finish.
Jon Beason not just a middle man
Jon Beason's first game back at middle linebacker was a breath of fresh air for New York. For the first time all season, the middle of the Giants defense shut down the run and came up with big stops in the fourth quarter, giving the offense a chance to win. It didn't happen last week, but the Giants will build on that momentum and turn progress into a big win on Monday Night Football.
New system for Josh Freeman
Tampa Bay runs a similar offense to the Giants, we know Peyton Hillis has picked up the terminology pretty quickly in New York because of his three months spent with the Bucs earlier in the year.
Josh Freeman is heading into a completely new system and he'll be starting against a Giants defense with their backs against the wall. This is a major advantage for Big Blue. They will look to stop Adrian Peterson and put the game in Freeman's hands. This is a strategy that gets the Giants their first win.
Join the debate. Who covers Monday night: Minnesota or New York?