Look for Vikings to gather Moss in Green Bay
In last season's November 1st, 38-26 Lambeau win for the Vikings, the buzz word emitting from the Green Bay faithful toward Brett Favre was "revenge."
This year, given the quarterback's well-publicized off-field allegations, that ire may trend closer to "reproach."
But whatever reception Favre receives on Sunday night in Lambeau, the more important gridiron drama should be focused on the former number in last year's outcome, a result that marks the Vikings last win away from the Metrodome.
En route to charting as the second-leading offense in all of football (at 29.4 ppg.) in 2009, the Purple scored 27 or more points in 13 contests. This year, the 2-3 Vikings have yet to reach that 27 mark even once. Through five games, the Purple currently chart 26th (tied with Buffalo, ech) in league scoring, averaging just 17.4 points per game. That number is on the rise, however, as the Vikings -- after finding the end zone just twice in their first two contests -- have put up eight offensive TD's in their last three.
The offensive ascension appears well-timed for this nationally televised set with the Packers, who have lost back-to-back games in overtime. The Pack appear to be rounding into some form of defensive health in a season quickly decimated by injuries. But even though it appears fellow linebackers Brandon Chillar may play after missing the past three games and NFL sack leader Clay Matthews (with 8.5) will be back after a Week 6 absence, the respective returns and seasonal debuts of d-backs Al Harris and Atari Bigby are still a matter of question.
That Green Bay owns the league's 17th-ranked pass defense (215.5 yards allowed per) would seem an inviting opportunity for a Vikings offense that should explode at some juncture. There's just too much talent there for the Purple to plod onward for much longer, and I'm of belief that this will be the week where Randy Moss actually looks like Randy Moss.
Through two games in his return to purple, Moss has collected a combined nine catches for 136 yards and a Week 5 TD against the Jets. His presence has no doubt created advanced opportunity for Percy Harvin, and Moss surely isn't to blame for the fact that his injured 41-year-old quarterback can't complete a 40-yard pass behind a measured o-line. Entering the weekend, the Vikings are just one of three NFL teams yet to chart a pass play of said distance.
The nostalgia here is palpable. Favre's own luminary history in Green Bay notwithstanding, Moss hasn't appeared against the Pack since 2005 when the Vikings won a January Wild Card game to extend their 2004 season. Moss' tawdry, faux mooning homage to Packer fans after scoring in the Vikes' eventual 31-17 win is as much remembered for cementing the receiver's rep as a polarizing persona as it is for eliciting an ill-informed, knee-jerk reaction from announcer Joe Buck. That Moss finished with four grabs for 90 yards and two scores came as little surprise at the time. In his 13 career regular season games against Green Bay (again, all prior to that Wild Card win), Moss averaged 95.6 yards and scored a dozen TD's. The yardage clip serves as Moss' best average versus any NFL team he's faced more than six times in his strange, storied career.
Given the facts that Adrian Peterson hasn't hit the 100-yard mark in his last two games and that the Packers have yet to allow an individual runner to hit the century mark this year -- I'm looking for Favre and Moss (with their combined 33-years of service time) to make some new history for themselves in Lambeau this weekend.
Aerial success will be contingent on Favre's health and the strength of his protection, especially on third down where Viking backs have provided their immobile QB with inconsistent blocking this season. The grandfather has already suffered 13 sacks on the season, that's the fifth-most in the NFC. Early doses of A.P. combined with shorter patterns to Harvin and rediscovering Visanthe Shiancoe in the middle should open up room for Moss to work as the game progresses
Randy Moss -- fifth all-time in receiving yards and ninth in receptions -- has now gone 14-straight games without a 100-yard effort or a six-catch game. It's time for the alleged sext freak and the Superfreak to get explosive. Let's just hope that in the process the latter doesn't confuse assassin with asinine.
Green Bay 23
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