Here are the reasons why the Vikings should upset the Chiefs in the Metrodome on Saturday:
?In spite of their gaudy 12-2 record, the Chiefs have trouble playing defense away from home. They were a joke in their last road game, in Denver. The Broncos' offensive line put Kansas City's front four on skates. Clinton Portis had a 218-yard day, and when Jake Plummer wanted to pass, he found huge holes in the K.C. zone. Minnesota has the capability of doing the same thing.
?The Vikings are desperate. They're tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead, and the runner-up could be left out of the postseason entirely. The Chiefs are fat cats. They clinched the AFC West last week, and a letdown typically follows after a team has qualified for the postseason.
Here are the reasons why the Chiefs should hold off the Vikings:
?Desperation hasn't served Minnesota well. The Vikings are reeling, having lost six of their last eight, including Sunday's defeat in Chicago.
? Minnesota's defense can be had. If K.C. can put the Vikings in a catch-up mode early, panic would set in and the self-doubt and finger-pointing would begin.
My pick? I'll take the Vikings in an upset. I never like a team the week after it has clinched.
Except for St. Louis. Heading into their home game against the desperate Bengals, the NFC West champion Rams are in much the same situation as Kansas City. St. Louis is due for a letdown after its breathtaking win over the Sea-hawks, a game that didn't figure to come down to the final play. Cincinnati got a gift when the Ravens were upset by the Raiders and dropped into a tie with Cincy for the AFC North lead. The Bengals will be traveling to St. Louis with fire in their eyes, so the same upset formula should hold, right? Uh, afraid not.
Cincinnati's fireworks have come on offense. The defense still has to prove itself, and the Eddie Dome is not the place to make a statement. Sure, the Rams will have lost a little of their edge after having clinched, but they'll also be loose. I'm afraid that Cincy won't have enough defense to stop them. You never know, though. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is a defensive wizard, and his team is on a mission, and....
Sorry, I have to go with the head, not the heart. The Rams win it.