With all the excitement of Week 14, the Vikings win over Detroit didn’t cause a lot of noise. However, with one key loss and plenty of games next week variable in their playoff plight, Minnesota is doing what they need to do to make the NFL postseason tournament–and improve their seeding.
Knocking off the Lions in your home stadium is rarely going to make headlines. But watching the Green Bay Packers get out of Lambeau Field with a five-point win over the lowly Washington Redskins might. So will a thrilling upset of the Superdome Saints in the last seconds of the game by the San Francisco 49ers.
Put it all together and you’re cooking with purple playoff gas.
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Redskins Make A Battle Of It
The Packers, flying under the radar as media darlings after their crushing loss in San Francisco a few weeks ago, have been whipped twice in their last five games and have now notched W’s with narrow victories over the 5-8 Carolina Panthers and 3-10 Redskins.
As the surging Chicago Bears travel to Lambeau Field next Sunday with ideas still kicking about their own back-door playoff invitation, are the Packers due for another unpleasant surprise?
If you say no, I say why not?
Washington, led by awful rookie QB Dwayne Haskins, made the game against Green Bay a one-possession affair on Sunday, revealing a team from Wisconsin that’s hardly intimidating at this point of the season.
The Packers, though 10-3, have now fallen to the 23rd NFL rank in offensive yards gained this season and the 22nd rank in defensive yards allowed.
Big Loss In The Big Easy
Always nice to see the Saints lose, eh, folks?
The game of the week was clearly in Louisiana on Sunday, where the 49ers matched the Saints’ offensive firepower and deep playbook with explosives and executions of their own, beating Sean Payton–who again insinuated in his press conference that the refs stole the game from him–with a last-second kick from now-healthy 49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould.
Hey, Sean, the refs make bad calls all time! Check out the ‘roughing the passer’ call on Vikings Stephen Weatherly in the fourth quarter yesterday!
Regardless, let’s consult our NFC playoff picture now. Holy cheese blintzes, Batman! Packers in the number two spot! Impossible!
The Tricky Part To The Two Spot
Even though the Seahawks lost to the Rams, it make little difference to Minnesota how the NFC West plays out. The way to the number two or three seed for the Vikings is based on the play of the Saints and the Packers from here on out.
In that regard, it’s time to say a little prayer for Mitchell Trubisky. Despite being the butt of jokes for most of the 2019 season, Trubsiky has played well enough to lead the Bears to three wins in a row and four victories in their last five games.
The Bears, now 7-6, will not only be seeking revenge on their Week One loss in Lambeau, but a win to keep their own slim playoffs chances alive. A Chicago win not only seems possible but perhaps likely with the way both teams have been playing.
The rub to the #2 seed lies back in the Superdome in Week 15. The Indianapolis Colts, once in the thick of the AFC playoff picture, have to beat the Saints at home–OR the Saints have to lose twice in their last three games.
Inconceivable? No. See Week 10 in Superdome: Atlanta Falcons 28, New Orleans Saints 6
Bear Dreams, Bear Nightmares
If the Saints win two out of their last three, the #2 is gone–but the #3 is still there. Getting that seed means that most likely the Vikings can face the Packers back at US Bank Stadium and not in Lambeau Field.
That means: ‘Win, Bears, win’ next week in Wisconsin!
For those of us who fear a great fear of yesterday, that the Chicago Bears could win out while the Vikings could be tripped in Los Angeles against the Chargers this coming Sunday or at home against the visiting Packers in Week 16, setting up a “win-to-get-in” situation again in US Bank Stadium in Week 17 against the Bears…I understand your anxiety.
But, with the Bears coming off that potential win in Green Bay they will face the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs in Soldier Field in Week 16. The Chiefs, at 9-4 now, will be locked into their own playoff positioning fight and will come at Chicago with all guns blazing.
Mitch vs. Mahomes? I’ll take the kid with the curly hair.
Adam In The Playoff Garden
Though Adam Thielen missed yet another game last Sunday, the prognosis for him returning to action before the 2019 playoffs begin seems good–if you listen to Mike Zimmer. But since Thielen has been out for almost two months now (Oct. 20), it may be wishful thinking to consider him a factor in the last three games the Vikings have to play,
But we might as well count him in here. We’ve got flyers out on enough circumstances that Thielen should be one of them. No one would doubt the lift it would give this entire Minnesota Vikings football team to see him back on the field making plays.
In the reality of things right now, this team, now at 9-4, seems a world away from a 2018 squad that was 6-6-1 at this point of the season and coming off four crucial losses in four games which resulted in the firing of their offensive coordinator.
For Minnesota, it’s now a quick road trip to L.A. and a return home for two home games to end the season.
Sounds like a nice hat trick to end this crazy 2019 regular season.