It is a good month to be a sports fan. While the Giants look for their third win a row on Sunday against the Vikings, postseason baseball begins in the Bronx between the Yankees and Twins. With that in mind, we bring you a special October edition of Fact or Fiction.
Daniel Jones will be responsible for more touchdowns against the Vikings than Aaron Judge has home runs in the playoff series against the Twins.
John Schmeelk: Fiction – The real question here is how many games it will take for the Yankees to knock out the Twins. If history is any indication, it shouldn’t go to five games. A good over/under for Judge would be 1.5. Jones has never seen a defense like the Vikings in his football life. They are physical. They run multiple coverages and do an excellent job disguising them. They have a fierce pass rush off the edge and up the middle. Their linebackers are good players. Jones is going to have to be sharp and get a lot of help from his teammates to put up multiple touchdowns in this game.
Dan Salomone: Fact – This is Daniel Jones’ town now. The rookie has five total touchdowns – three passing and two rushing – in two career starts. Aaron Judge has a measly seven homers in 18 postseason games. Jones gets to touch the ball on every play. Judge sees a handful of pitches per game.
Lance Medow: Fiction – Of the four quarterbacks the Vikings have faced this season, three of them have thrown for two touchdowns. The only exception is Bears’ signal caller Chase Daniel, who had just one last Sunday. Although Daniel Jones also has the ability to run in for a score, Minnesota has a strong defense that has surrendered over 20 points just once thus far. Aaron Judge only played in three of the Yankees’ six games against the Twins this season and didn’t hit a home run, so there’s not much of a sample size. I think Daniel Jones will account for the same number of touchdowns as Aaron Judge homers in the playoff series against the Twins. That’s why I’m going fiction.
The Vikings’ defense will be a bigger challenge than the Twins’ batting order to their respective New York opponents.
Schmeelk: Fact – The Vikings defensive personnel are good at every level. Danielle Hunter, who will line up over Mike Remmers, and Everson Griffen, who will line up over Nate Solder, are excellent edge rushers. Hunter has three sacks and Griffen has two. Linval Joseph is a load to handle up the middle and has two sacks of his own. Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are playmaking linebackers. Harrison Smith is a versatile safety who can play deep and shallow. Fellow safety Anthony Harris moves well in coverage. Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes are capable of covering man to man. After Chicago, this might be the toughest unit the Giants face all season. This is not to undersell the Twins offense, which led Major League Baseball in homeruns. They are formidable, just not as formidable as the Vikings defense.
Salomone: Fiction – The Vikings’ defense is a force to be reckoned with, but it is not historic yet. The Twins, meanwhile, broke the Yankees’ all-time home runs record for a season. The Giants also have the benefit of Pat Shurmur, who knows the personnel and practiced against that defense for two years in Minnesota.
Medow: Fact – This is a very tough statement to respond to because I feel as strongly about the Vikings’ defense as I do the Twins’ hitting. Mike Zimmer’s defense is a top 10 unit in the NFL and ranks fifth in scoring and on third down, sixth in total defense and 10th in sacks. The Vikings have a disciplined group that has played together for several seasons, which is why this will be one of the toughest challenges for the Giants’ offense to date. On the other hand, the Twins set an MLB single season record with 307 home runs and finished second in the majors with a .270 average and 939 runs. Their lineup is deep and dangerous. I’ll give the slight edge to the Vikings only because the Yankees’ lineup is just as intimidating as the Twins’ and the Yanks’ offense can offset the Twins’ bats.
The best images from the all-time series between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings
The Giants will allow fewer points to the Vikings than the Yankees give up to the Twins in the series.
Schmeelk: Fact – I expect the Twins and Yankees to engage in some slugfests over the course of their series, and if it goes five games (it won’t), the Twins could score upwards of 25-30 runs. The Vikings run one of the most conservative, run-heavy offenses in the NFL, which keeps their point totals down. Dalvin Cook has been one of the best running backs in the league so far this season. Starting wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have expressed unhappiness with the current offense, so it will be interesting to see if they decide to open things up a bit this week. Kirk Cousins has been up and down this season, capable of both spectacular and not so good plays. The Vikings offensive line has not protected him well. The Vikings will score fewer points against the Giants than the Twins will score runs in their playoff series against the Yankees.
Salomone: Fact – The Giants have allowed just six points in the past six quarters after they gave up 91 in the first 10 quarters to start the season. James Bettcher has been pushing all the right buttons and looks to do it again this Sunday against a Minnesota team averaging 21 points per game. Meanwhile, in baseball, the Twins-Yankees could turn into a slugfest.
Medow: Fact – The Vikings are averaging 21 points per game and the Giants are surrendering 24 per contest. In comparison, in six games against the Yankees this season, the Twins scored 38 runs. The most the ALDS can go is five games, and if it gets to that point, Minnesota is capable of putting at least 30 runs on the board. With the Yankees’ starting pitching still a concern, I’ll give the edge to the Twins lineup. I can see this series being a high scoring clinic where the most effective bullpen will be the deciding factor.
Lawrence Taylor is a bigger figure to Giants fans than Babe Ruth is to Yankees fans.
Schmeelk: Fact – Yes, but only because there are still millions of Giants fans that remember watching Lawrence Taylor play. Babe Ruth had a bigger impact on his sport and on American culture, in general. He hit more home runs than entire teams in his era. He was a celebrity as much as he was a baseball player. The reason we don’t hear about it is because there are few people alive that remember Ruth as a player. Taylor, on the other hand, reinvented the pass rush position and helped make the “sack” an official NFL stat. He struck fear in the hearts of his opponents. Taylor is someone Giants fans revere because they remember his dominance.
Salomone: Fiction – Far be it from me to speak for Yankees fans, but there is no athlete more iconic than the Sultan of Swat. The fact that people didn’t see him actually adds to his folk hero status. At his Hall of Fame induction, Ruth said, “The fans would rather see me hit one homer to right than three doubles to left.”
Medow: Fact – Lawrence Taylor is the most dominant defensive player in NFL history, but he is synonymous with the Giants and is usually the first name people mention when you bring up the history of the team. While Babe Ruth is one of the greatest players in MLB history, his connection to Yankees fans is more legend than substance. Given the Yankees have produced so many great players, I don’t think Ruth tops the list to the same degree as Taylor. You can make a stronger case for Derek Jeter as the equivalent to Taylor more than Ruth.
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