Last week I kicked off a little series here at VT where we look forward to the 2012 Season and make some bold predictions. We started off by looking at the first quarter of the Vikings 2012 schedule and guessing (an educated guess, of course) what the outcome of those games might be. Now we will look forward to the second fourth of our schedule to determine where the Vikings may be at the halfway mark of the 2012 season.
But first, a little recap of my predictions for the first four games:
Week 1: Jacksonville (W, 1-0)
Week 2: @ Indianapolis (W, 2-0)
Week 3: San Francisco (L, 2-1)
Week 4: @ Detroit (L, 2-2)
Week 5: Tennessee
After two straight losses in weeks three and four, the Vikings will be looking to bounce back in week five against the Titans. But while both teams has very comparable stats in 2011, their records were far different. Just barely missing the playoffs in 2011 (due to a tie-breaker with the Bengals), the Titans will be the favorites to win this game.
Personally though, I think the Vikings matchup well against the Titans. The Titans don’t have a real passing threat (unless Kendall Wright immediately makes a significant impact) and Chris Johnson left their running game a disappointment overall in 2011.
I expect our defensive line to cause serious problems for the aging Hasselbeck and push this one in our favor.
Plus, at this point, Peterson is back (for the purposes of these predictions, anyway) in the mix. And fortunately for him, he should have a relatively easy first game back considering the Titans, on average, allowed around 130 yards-per-game rushing in 2011.
Interesting note: Steve Hutchinson comes back to Minnesota to play against the Vikings after being released this offseason.
Week 6: @ Washington
This could go one of two ways. RGIII could come in to the NFL this season, live up to the hype, pull a Cam Newton and cause some serious issues for us. Or, he could be your typical rookie quarterback still adjusting to play at the NFL level and we’ll have an advantage.
I expect the latter.
I never really bought into all the Robert Griffin hype leading up to the draft. In my opinion, he is no Cam Newton and the expectations placed on him to turn around the franchise will be too much. By only week six in the season, Griffin will still be raw, he will still be flustered by managing an NFL offense and he will still be making rookie mistakes.
Another Vikings Win
Week 7: Arizona
The Cardinals have had a pretty uneventful offseason and are unlikely to be a much improved team in 2012.
And, unfortunately for the Cardinals, this game is at the dome. In the Metrodome, the Vikings always seem capable to beat anyone.
Kolb has a lot to prove this season. The Cardinals paid a pretty penny to acquire him from the Eagles last offseasons and, so far, he has not proven he was worth the trade.
It should be a close game. With the addition of wide receiver Michael Floyd in the draft, the Cardinals will likely have one of the more high-powered receiving corps in the NFL. This could be a major issue for a Vikings secondary that is very young and still has a few question marks.
Still, I see the Vikings coming out of this nail biter with a win and increase their winning streak in the second quarter of the season to three.
Week 8: Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers and quarterback Josh Freeman had a rough season last year. Freeman, who impressed in 2010 and set the bar pretty high for himself in 2011, was a major disappointment throwing six more interceptions than touchdowns.
The Bucs have had a very busy offseason though and I expect Freeman to bounce back and show why he’s the Bucs quarterback of the future.
Although it’s a home game, I think the Vikings will have a tough time beating the Buccaneers. They have a handful of weapons, especially after the addition of Vincent Jackson in free agency and rookie running back Doug Martin in the draft, that could provide a real nightmare for the Vikings defense.
I’m predicting the Vikings drop their three game winning streak here with their first loss at home of the season.
This second quarter of the season really favors the Vikings and should be a great opportunity for them to pad their record with wins in anticipation of their difficult second half of the season. The third quarter of the Vikings schedule includes three division matchups – two of which are away at Soldier Field and Lambeau.
Make sure to check back in a few days for part 3 in this series. In the meantime, what do you think of these predictions? Where am I off or on? What are your own predictions?
Let us know in the comments.