Vikesball: A True Underdog Story

The Vikings face a huge hurdle when they meet the Giants today. They're not paranoid, but it would seem that everyone is against them.

The Vikings head into today's game with the Giants as the longest of underdogs. In a nine-member panel of NFL observers making predictions for The Sporting News, each of them picked the Giants to win – and win big. A 10-member panel at Pro Football Weekly also went unanimously in favor of the Giants, although a majority thought the Vikings might keep it under the 10-point spread.

The bigger question should be why this isn't going to be a blowout. The Giants haven't lost at home. The Vikings haven't won on the road. In games at the Meadowlands, the Giants have outscored their opponents by a count of 173-76. Meanwhile, in four games away from the Metrodome, the Vikings have been pounded by a count of 133-34.

The Vikings face long odds today. But they have before and have found ways to pull out a big performance when they absolutely need it. A loss to the Giants would likely drop them three full games behind the Bears with Chicago already having a win in hand. This will be a tough one and the Vikings will likely have to play a perfect or nearly flawless game to come away with a win.

* The Vikings have lost all four of their road games by 20 points or more, while the Giants are averaging an NFL-best 36.5 points in their four home games.
* The G-Men are No. 1 in the league for points scored, averaging 29.1 points a game. The Vikings are currently 25th, averaging just 16.3 points a game.
* The Vikings have used four different players as punt returners and three different players as kickoff returners this season.
* Some Vikings fans would like to see Giants punter Jeff Feagles sustain an injury this week. With his play Sunday, Feagles will play in his 281st straight game – just one short of the NFL record held by former Viking great Jim Marshall.
* The Giants have as many wins this year (six) as they had in all of 2004.
* The Vikings are ranked 24th in total offense – 23rd rushing and 17th passing. Defensively, the team is 27th overall – 26th vs. the rush and 23rd vs. the pass.
* For their great record, the Giants haven't been dominant on either side of the ball. The team ranks 12th overall offensively – ninth rushing and 16th passing. Defensively, the team is 25th – ninth vs. the run and 28th vs. the pass.
* Chris Kluwe is currently second in the NFL among punters with a tremendous 47.1-yard average. The last rookie to lead the league in punting was Kansas City's Bob Grupp in 1979.
* No rookie wide receiver has more yards than the Vikings' Troy Williamson.
* A win today would be the 600th career win for the Giants organization. They would join an exclusive club with their 600th victory – only the Bears and Packers have more.
* Michael Bennett needs 122 rushing yards to become the eighth Viking in franchise history to reach 3,000 yards. He has a good history vs. the Giants, including a career-best 167 yards in 2002.
* The Giants are looking to go 7-2 for the third time since 1990. In both of the other two seasons that they opened 7-2, the team went to the Super Bowl.

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