After trouncing the Bills by a mark of 38-14 on Sunday afternoon at Mall of America Field, the Vikings improved their record to 5-7 and are still mathematically in the hunt for the playoffs (see below for the conference breakdown).
So here’s another edition of the divisional recap to see how the NFC North shook out. But this week we’ll dedicate a great deal of the focus on what needs to happen for the Vikings to reach postseason play – and as you’ll see, A LOT of help is needed.
The Chicago Bears won their 5th consecutive game with a 24-20 win over the lowly Detroit Lions at Ford Field, improving their record to 9-3 while maintaining their hold on the division lead.
The Lions led 20-17 midway through the 4th quarter, but a questionable unnecessary roughness penalty called on Lions DT Ndamukong Suh led to a 7-yard go-ahead TD pass from Bears QB Jay Cutler to TE Brandon Manumaleuna on the ensuing play.
Cutler completed all but 5 of his passes, going 21 of 26 for 234 yards and the go-ahead TD. Chicago will host the AFC East-leading New England Patriots (9-2) next Sunday.
The other team in the division vying for a playoff spot found its spark in the 2nd half at Lambeau Field. The Green Bay Packers defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 34-16, improving their record to 8-4.
The Packers held a slim 14-13 lead at halftime, but QB Aaron Rodgers and Co. opened the 2nd half with a quick 4-play, 69-yard scoring drive that ended on a 61-yard TD pass from Rodgers to WR Donald Driver. From there it was all Green Bay, with the Packers adding another TD – Rodgers to WR Greg Jennings – and 2 Mason Crosby FGs to seal the victory.
Green Bay will travel to Detroit to take on the Lions (2-10) next Sunday.
The Packers win over the 49ers coupled with a Bears victory eliminated the Vikings from defending their back-to-back division titles. Even if the Vikings win their remaining 4 games, the Bears and Packers face each other once more this season, and common sense will tell you that at least 1 of those teams will leave the Week 17 matchup without a loss (I can’t say with a win because there is always the chance of a tie).
So if you are wondering, “can the Vikings still make the playoffs?” here’s what needs to happen…
1) Vikings win remaining 4 games.
2) Packers lose remaining 4 games.
3) St. Louis Rams or Seattle Seahawks lose at least 2 games.
4) NY Giants or Philadelphia Eagles lose at least 3 games – 1 must be to the Vikings.
5) Tampa Bay Bucs lose at least 3 games.
If all 5 of the listed possibilities happen, here is how the NFC playoff picture would look:
South Champ – Atlanta Falcons or New Orleans Saints
North Champ – Bears
East Champ – Giants or Eagles
West Champ – Rams or Seahawks
Wild Card – Either the Falcons, Saints, Giants, Eagles, Rams, Seahawks or Bucs (all dependant on which teams win their respected divisions and which team has the best record among the rest of the Wild Card prospects)
Wild Card – Vikings
I realize that’s a lot to chew on, but something to keep in mind for all the supreme optimists out there.
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 9 Comments »