Predicting the Final 5 Games on the Vikings’ Schedule
We are officially in the home stretch of the 2023 NFL season.
The Minnesota Vikings have just five games remaining on their regular season schedule and currently hold the No. 6 seed in the NFC at 6-6. However, they sit in a pack of five different teams with the same record (Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks), and they need to get back on track in order to maintain that spot.
As we head into this final stretch of the regular season, here is a prediction for how each of the Vikings’ final 5 games will turn out.
Week 14 at Las Vegas Raiders
It has been a tough stretch for the Minnesota Vikings prior to their bye week, but they have reinforcements coming for their game against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Vikings will welcome both Justin Jefferson and Akayleb Evans back to the lineup in Week 14, assuming there are no setbacks with their injuries.
The Raiders defense quietly has been one of the better units in the NFL this season, allowing 20 or fewer points in five of their past eight games. As a result, this could be a low-scoring affair considering the Vikings defense is also among the top 10 in points allowed per game this season.
Minnesota just has a bit more firepower on offense, especially with Jefferson returning, and they should be extra motivated after having to sit with their loss to the Bears in Week 12. The Vikings will get their seventh win on Sunday to get back over .500.
PREDICTION: Vikings 27, Raiders 20
Week 15 at Cincinnati Bengals
This game would have been much more concerning if Joe Burrow were the quarterback for the Bengals. Instead, Cincinnati is relying on Jake Browning the rest of the way, who led the Bengals to just 10 points against the Steelers in Week 12. Perhaps things get better between now and Week 15, but it’s tough to see the Bengals being able to hang with a mostly healthy Vikings offense.
Keep in mind as well, the Bengals defense has been subpar throughout the year. They have allowed the most yards per game in the entire league at 389.3, and opponents have racked up 150+ rushing yards six times in 11 games prior to Monday night’s game against the Jaguars.
PREDICTION: Vikings 28, Bengals 13
Week 16 vs. Detroit Lions
This is where things get interesting for the Vikings. Assuming they get to 8-6, they will head into the final three weeks of the year with three NFC North games in front of them to get into the playoffs. The first of these games comes against the Detroit Lions, who hold a commanding three-game lead over the Vikings and Packers for the division.
One of the weirdest parts of this Vikings season has been the fact that they have struggled at home. Minnesota is just 2-4 at U.S. Bank Stadium this year after going 8-1 at home last season. Detroit has seen some major struggles on defense since their bye week, though, and the Vikings likely will need this game much more than the Lions.
PREDICTON: Vikings 31, Lions 28
Week 17 vs. Green Bay Packers
This feels like a chance for something very Vikings-esque to happen. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions all year, and if they indeed rattle off three wins between now and Week 17, that will be just the latest climb in the ride just for it all to come crashing down again.
While Minnesota has gone cold, the Green Bay Packers are now red-hot and are coming off a win over the defending champions on Sunday night. They have won four of their last five games, and Jordan Love is beginning to come into his own as a passer. It’s painful, but the Vikings are going to lose at some point between now and the end of the regular season.
PREDICTION: Packers 24, Vikings 20
Week 18 at Detroit Lions
If things work out as suggested above, the Vikings will be 9-7 heading into the final week of the season and needing a win to secure themselves a spot in the playoffs. Meanwhile, there is a good chance that the Lions will have already sealed the NFC North by the time this game rolls around.
As a result, this could be a situation where Detroit rests some (if not many) of their starters with a top-3 seed in the NFC potentially being locked up. On the other hand, we all know what happened last year in Green Bay when the game meant nothing to Detroit, and their only motivation was keeping the Packers away from the playoffs.
Still, a playoff game should be more important to the Lions this year rather than keeping a division rival out of the tournament. If Detroit rests, the Vikings should win this game and lock up a playoff seed.
PREDICTION: Vikings 26, Lions 20
NOTE: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.