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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