That’s not the case for the better teams, including the Minnesota Vikings. Football aficionados all appreciate that anything can happen in the National Football League playoffs. But there’s one simple fact, you have to get there for anything good to happen.
Currently, Minnesota holds extremely favorable odds to at least make the playoffs. Essentially, what the -650 futures bet to be part of the NFC playoff bracket says is that the Vikes will be there. You can find complete NFL Vegas Odds live on Lineups.com.
Of the teams who are not virtual guarantees, San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans, the Vikings actually have comparatively favorable odds for being a playoff team among the rest. They’re still a fair chunk behind NFC North Division rival Green Bay at -2,000, but looking a whole lot better than anyone else.
The odds point to Minnesota having a far better chance at the big dance than Dallas, Philadelphia, or another divisional rival, Da Bears. So, a better question than will they make the playoffs might be what path will be in front of a team just one year removed from losing in the conference finals?
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Seattle will either come back to earth Sunday night against the Rams, or put a hard stamp on their odds of winning the NFC West. The Seahawks have what is as close to a cakewalk the following two weeks, before a divisional showdown in Seattle against the 49ers.
Losses in those two games could make the Minnesota loss to Seattle an even harder pill to swallow. That would give the Seahawks the wildcard tiebreaker and the right to play the worst team out of the third and fourth best division winners.
The other scenario follows a similar path, but it will only change the NFC West team who does not win the division. To clear one aspect of the wildcard race up, the current standings and schedule collective show Chicago and Philadelphia hard-pressed to get a foot in the door.
Chicago must virtually win-out to pull even with Minnesota and steal the wildcard via the head-to-head tiebreaker. We said, Vikings fans must root for a couple bitter rivals over the last month. However, that also means Minnesota must fold up like a cheap accordion as well.
The Eagles are another story. They are like a three-legged long shot to have any hope of a wildcard. The stars would need to align perfectly, and all three NFC North teams would need to implode. However, Philadelphia does have hope.
They play two of the three worst teams in the NFL to end the season. In the middle is a game in the City of Brotherly Love against the Cowboys. However, a 9-7 record might still not be enough to win the division. Dallas sits a full two games behind Minnesota in the wildcard picture.
In addition, they have a third black mark since the Vikings beat them head-to-head. This means that unless Minnesota falls flat on their face the final four weeks, losing every game, the only realistic way the Cowboys or Eagles can make the playoffs is to win the NFC East.
Conclusions drawn with a month left on the NFL regular season schedule are wrought with debatable angles. However, it is pretty clear that if Minnesota takes care of business; they are headed to the NFC playoffs. The question is against whom and where.
Unfortunately, that might be a long shot. What it does mean is probably either a trip back to Seattle or to The City by the Bay. Sure, there are a lot of quarters of football left before the playoffs begin. However, a tried-and-true Vikings fan might want to check out airfare prices to either Seattle or San Francisco for a plane trip to kick off the New Year.