By Timothy Downs @Tidow1212 on September 3, 2014
The Minnesota Vikings will travel south to take on the St. Louis Rams on Sunday to kick off each team's respective 2014 campaigns. Matt Cassel and Shaun Hill are both uncertainties at quarterback, and both need to get a win to calm the clamoring for their backups to be inserted. Here are my five bold predictions for this Week 1 showdown.
The Vikings' defense is far from a certainty heading into the 2014 campaign, and Rams QB Shaun Hill is not the terrible, lifelong backup many deem him to be. Hill's got the knowledge, skills and ability to air it out. He will throw for 300 yards and two TDs at home on the fast Edward Jones Dome turf, and put some of the negativity that surrounds him in the dust.
There has been a ton of hype surrounding Cordarrelle Patterson heading into the season, but it's all based on size, speed and potential. During the 2013 campaign, he showed a few glimpses of brilliance, but has done little to dismiss the stigma that his hands are not good whatsoever. Patterson will drop a ton of passes, negating all the big plays everyone is expecting. Look for rookie nickelback Lamarcus Joyner to shut him down.
The Vikings are playing their home games outdoors this season, and are built a bit differently than in the past. Minnesota's secondary seems suspect other than safety Harrison Smith, and the Vikings' front seven does not resemble anything close to what it looked like when Jared Allen and company dominated. Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Jared Cook and Kenny Britt have enough talent to light up the Vikings' pass defense.
St. Louis has what is arguably the best defensive line in the NFL, and Minnesota's offensive line is far from a juggernaut unit, which sets up to be a recipe of disaster for quarterback Matt Cassel. He's not the most mobile QB in the world, and will have trouble avoiding the likes of Robert Quinn and Chris Long after they swim past the Vikings' line. Cassel's going down hard and often while running for his life all game.
Minnesota's defense isn't any good as currently constructed. RB Zac Stacy has been hearing all summer about how his YPC was too low in 2013 to be a featured back, and the addition of rookie Tre Mason should have motivated him as well. The Rams' offensive line was good against the run this preseason, and will open up enough lanes for Stacy to have a big opener.
Timothy Downs is a St. Louis Rams/NFL writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.
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