Path To The Playoffs: Week 13 Edition

Talk about a squandered opportunity… Last week, I laid out the best case scenario for a Vikings effortless stroll into the postseason. There were eight games that had potential playoff implications for the Vikings. I outlined the eight teams that we needed to lose. Those eight teams lost. Every single last one of them… But of course, the most important one, our game, was a big, steaming pile of horse excrement. I know I don’t need to remind you, but I will anyway – had the Vikings won last Sunday against the Chicago Bears, we would sit atop the NFC North looking down amongst our division rivals. We would have been #1!

Oh well, can’t live in the past. Onwards to week 13 where the Vikings have another difficult road game against the Green Bay Packers. By the way, isn’t it just our luck that the Packers our coming off an absolutely embarrassing defeat to the defending champions on prime time? Just wonderful. Now we’ll get to suffer the wrath of a ticked off team two weeks in a row.

This is a big weekend for the Vikings. They could take either a humongous step forward in the conference standings or fall further backwards while our competition moves up. Let’s cut right to the chase and first take a look at what teams would represent the NFC in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Playoff Picture

  1. Atlanta Falcons (11-1)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (8-2)
  3. Chicago Bears (8-3)
  4. New York Giants (7-4)
  5. Green Bay Packers (7-4) / Wildcard
  6. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) / Wildcard

What We Want: Week 13

New Orleans at Atlanta: Saints loss.

Well, we’re off to a good start as this game has already taken place and the Saints did indeed lose. The Falcons are well ahead in their division and could clinch their division this weekend with a Buccaneers loss. The Saints on the other hand are still in wildcard contention and we don’t want that. At this point, the odds are against the Saints gaining access to the postseason, but crazier things have happened so we should continue to root against them.

Seattle at Chicago: Seattle loss.

I know, that hurts. And I’m not 100% positive that a Bears win is the best thing for us, but here is my reasoning: It’s likely that we probably won’t win the NFC North. It’s definitely not impossible… But the odds of us getting into the playoffs with by winning the division is less likely than by getting a wild card spot. The Seahawks are tied with us at 6-5 and are currently the 6th seed. Even if the Vikings beat the Packers this weekend, if the Seahawks also won, they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over us. I think a better scenario is the Bears beat the Seahawks this weekend and then we beat the Bears next weekend. But, for now, I’ll just stick with a Seahawks loss. Don’t want to get too carried away…

Indianapolis at Detroit: Lions loss.

The Lions aren’t completely out of the race just yet… And as a general rule of thumb, we’re just going to root against NFC teams when facing AFC teams. Okay? Okay.

Carolina at Kansas City: Panthers loss.

See above.

Arizona at New York Jets: Cardinals loss.

This is starting to seem repetitive…

San Francisco at St. Louis: Rams loss.

Another situation very similar to the Falcons/Saints game. The 49ers will likely win their division while the Rams are [technically] still in contention for a wildcard spot.

Tampa Bay at Denver: Buccaneers loss.

This is one of the more important match ups this weekend and, along with the Seattle game, is one of the more crucial games that isn’t between the Vikings and Packers. We need the Buccaneers to lose. Much like the Seahawks, the Bucs have the same record as us but their head-to-head victory gives them the tie-breaker. This is another weekend where it’s very likely that both the Seahawks and Buccaneers could lose. Both face difficult road games against teams that are hot.

Philadelphia at Dallas: Dallas loss.

The Eagles are last in the conference and making the playoffs is the furthest thing from their minds at this point. Dallas, on the other hand, still has a narrow opportunity to get back in the wild card race with a win over Philadelphia. Let’s hope the Eagles can pull out a win. It’s not unlikely despite how bad they are lately… Have you seen the Cowboys play in the big, fancy stadium? Worst home team ever.

New York Giants at Washington: Washington loss.

The Washington Redskins are right behind the Vikings in conference rankings at #9. While the Giants aren’t too far ahead of the Redskins in their division, it works out better for us to have the Giants win their division and for the Redskins to fall further in the wildcard race.

Now, I’m not going to lie… While it’s fun to look around at the NFC Playoff landscape and see what needs to happen in other games, I really only care about one game this weekend. And that’s the Vikings game. More specifically, that’s the game where we beat the Green Bay Packers. If we don’t win that game, then the other games listed above become more of an interest to me.

There aren’t a whole lot of games that really impact the Vikings this weekend, so let me simplify it a little bit. First, we want the Vikings to win destroy the Green Bay Packers. Then, it would be great if the Seahawks, Buccaneers and Redskins all lost (I’ve underlined them above).

Enjoy this weekend’s games, everyone. Not sure if we were planning on doing a live chat tomorrow but I’ll discuss it with Adam and we’ll let you know.

(On a side note: I have to give Adam some props… He’s been doing an excellent job of running our Twitter page. So excellent, in fact, that we just gained a new follower this morning. Fran friggin’ Tarkenton. Pretty awesome if you ask me.)