Call me the schizophrenic fan. No less than 24-hours after openly ripping the Vikings for their horrible (albeit winning) performance against the Lions things have dramatically changed.
First Antoine Winfield and Matt Birk are expected back into the starting lineup against the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Eve. That alone gives the Vikes the run stopper needed on defense and brings depth back to the already depleted offensive line.
But more importantly, the Philadelphia Eagles will have to try to make it to the Super Bowl without the guy who made the biggest difference for them in 2004.
Receiver Terrell Owens, according to the Associated Press, will miss the rest of the regular season and possibly the playoffs with a sprained right ankle and fractured fibula, suffered in the third quarter of Sunday's 12-7 win over the Cowboys.
He'll have surgery on Wednesday. The best-case scenario for Owens' return is the Super Bowl. But without him the Philly offense isn't much different than the crew that lost the last three NFC championship games.
This incident breathes life into the postseason hopes of teams like Atlanta, Green Bay, and Minnesota. Both the Packers and the Vikings already have lost at Philly. In a 27-16 win over Minnesota, Owens had four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown (which would have been reversed via replay if Mike “Coach Flaggy” Tice had thrown his red hankie). In a 47-17 thrashing of the Packers, Owens had eight receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown.
As a result, Friday's game between the Packers and the Vikings takes on even greater importance. The winner of the Christmas Eve showdown will win the division and nail down the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff field. Suddenly, making it to the Super Bowl for the three seed won't be such a long shot. It'll take a playoff win against a .500 team such as the Carolina Panthers, a road win at Atlanta, and a return visit to Philly against a team that has to be feeling a lot less confident about its chances to make it to the next level than it did before Owens' injury last Sunday.
Think emotions won’t be running high about 2:00 PM CST time this Friday? A North Division crown and an “easy” playoff road to Philly. Yeah, the wind outside the Dome will be raw but the players emotions will be sky high come kick-off. Pass the cheese and egg nog, please.
Go Vikes!!!!Posted by maasx003 at December 21, 2004 8:07 AM