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Continued: Mark Craig's look at the NFC

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 3, 2014 - 6:48 AM

But you just know that some are probably looking at Eagles coach Chip Kelly and thinking, “Oh yeah, prove it again.” Prove that last year’s 10-6 transformation wasn’t the result of a quirky breakneck offense with a short shelf life. And, while you’re at it, prove that it can be done with Jackson in Washington.

Don’t underestimate Kelly’s offense. Especially if his run defense, which ranked 10th a year ago, can keep the other team from resting its defense.

Lovie, Leslie & Tampa 2

Anyone who follows the Vikings closely has been treated to an almost daily explanation of why Mike Zimmer’s multifaceted defense is the way to go and why the more conservative Tampa 2 scheme that was a team staple since 2006 belongs in a museum next to leather helmets.

Well, there are places where the Tampa 2 still is revered. Look no further than, well, Tampa.

Former Bears coach and current Bucs coach Lovie Smith and former Vikings coach and current Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier have teamed up to strike a blow for the Tampa 2. Smith won an NFC title with it in Chicago, while Frazier probably came within a 12th man in the huddle of doing the same thing at New Orleans as Vikings defensive coordinator.

The Bucs have standout playmakers at all three levels of the defense and an offense that might be complimentary enough to help them become the seventh NFC South team to need only one year to go from worst to first.

Milestones ahead

With his season averages of 1,445 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns rushing and receiving, the Vikings’ Peterson would move into the top 18 on the all-time career list. He would go from 27th in rushing yards (10,115) to 16th or 17th, depending on what Steven Jackson does ahead of him this year. He would pass the likes of O.J. Simpson and John Riggins. As for touchdowns, he’d go from 30th (91) to 18th and pass people named Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Franco Harris, Curtis Martin, Steve Largent and Don Hutson.

MARK CRAIG





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Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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