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Game Previews Tom Kiss

Week 15 Preview: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings

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By Tom Kiss
 
Well, as Jet fans, we’ve all seen this movie before.  Playoffs in reach, a winnable home game versus the Buffalo Bills, and of course the week long swagger in the Jets fans minds (including mine if you saw last weeks).  Of course the Jets would lose to the Bills in a big December game, they almost always do.  The biggest problem now is that this week’s game against the Vikings was the scariest of the Jets final four games.  At 6-7 the Minnesota Vikings have the opportunity to set the record for the most proficient run defense.  That’s right, the Vikings have defense, at least on the ground.  This fact is why this will be the toughest game of the Jets season.  In the collective mind of most Jet fans this should be a win.  However, a look deeper shows that this will be a very difficult game to take control of.
 
When the Jets have the ball:
The Jets will try to get a running game going but to no avail.  I’m sorry but there is no way that the Jets group of running backs are going to be the ones to take this Viking defense of its incredible streak.  Kevin and Pat Williams, no relation by blood, only relation by size and position.  These two run stuffers are the main reason why the Vikings have the best run defense in the game. 
 
With no running game the Jets will be forced to go to the air.  Early on you’ll see Pennington have some success, probably hooking up with four or five different receivers into half time.  As good as the Vikes run defense is, their pass defense ranks 28th in the league while giving up almost 230 passing yards a game.  After the half the Vikings will adjust and look for the pass.  It is here that the game will be decided.  Can Chad win the game with only his arm?  I say no.  Not because I don’t think he’s a good QB, but mainly because I just don’t know if he can win without a running game as often as he did early on this season.  Chad will probably have a good day, but don’t expect Chad to carry the Jets to victory this week.
 
When the Vikings have the ball:
Much like their defense, the Vikings run better than pass, though they are middle of the road passing as opposed to near the bottom of the league.  Chester Taylor has been nursing the injuries coming from his first season as a full time starter, but expect to see him out there.  He will be the focus of Vilma, Rhodes and the rest of the Jets defense as the Jets like their chances against Brad Johnson.  First year head coach Brad Childress has shown a lot of confidence in Taylor as he has begun to build his offense around him this year.  In the five games that the Vikings won with Taylor as the starter, he averaged 125.8 yards a game, in the losses he averaged 67 yards.  SO, as Taylor goes, the Vikings go.
 
Brad Johnson is done.  It’s obvious that Johnson can no longer compete in this week, and if not for a shoulder injury former Jet Brooks “Bollywood� Bollinger would be the starter.  So, look for Childress to run.  Johnson has decent targets in Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Troy Williamson but Johnson just doesn’t have it anymore.  I don’t believe Bollywood will be ready to go and I don’t think that Childress will go with Tarvaris Jackson so Johnson it is, at least this game.
 
Match up of the game:  Fred Smoot vs. Jericho Cotchery
Almost Jet Antoine Winfield will probably have help against Laveranues Coles so expect to see Smoot in one on one on coverage against Cotchery.  This will be the most intriguing match up of the game because this will be the Jets chance to take an edge in the game. 
 
Prediction: Jets 17-Vikings 14
Look for a big play by Justin Miller in the return game to propel the Jets.

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