Vikings Had a Perfectly Scripted Sunday per Playoff Positioning

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If the Minnesota Vikings end up a playoff participant this season — Sunday’s win at the Las Vegas Raiders went a long way in making that happen — Week 14 can be remembered as the game slate that turned the tide.

In short, everything happened favorably for the Vikings. Down the line, in fact.

Vikings Had a Perfectly Scripted Sunday per Playoff Positioning

Minnesota, entering Week 14, preferred a Chicago Bears win over the Detroit Lions, a Los Angeles Rams loss at the Baltimore Ravens, and a San Francisco 49ers triumph over the Seattle Seahawks. Plus, Tampa Bay chipping off Atlanta wouldn’t hurt, either.

Perfectly Scripted
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And then that all happened.

Perhaps the agenda’s least important, the Vikings wanted a Lions loss to keep the NFC North in play, maintaining Minnesota’s hope for a division title and home playoff game. The Vikings play the Lions twice in three weeks to finish the regular season, and they must be within two games of Detroit by Christmas Eve. Chicago beating Detroit — convincingly — on Sunday, while Minnesota won 3-0 at Las Vegas, kept the clubs within two games, indeed.

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The Rams became frisky recently, tabulating a 6-6 record — the same as the Vikings entering Week 14 — with a challenging contest at Baltimore afoot. Then, amid a rollercoaster game, Baltimore prevailed in overtime, courtesy of a punt return touchdown by Tylan Wallace.

As almost a formality, the 49ers defeated Drew Lock’s Seahawks, further sinking Seattle’s once-promising playoff hopes. San Francisco seems like the team to beat in the NFL, and cruised past Seattle 28-16. After owning a temporary Wildcard spot a few weeks ago, Pete Carroll’s team has fallen to the No. 9 seed.

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Meanwhile, Minnesota owns a head-to-head playoff tiebreaker over the Falcons, thanks to “The Joshua Dobbs Game” in early November. The Falcons lost to the Buccaneers, and Tampa Bay climbed atop the NFC South standings, at least for a week. It’s better for the Vikings if Tampa Bay wins the South while the Falcons and Saints vie for the Wildcard. Minnesota has tiebreakers over both teams.

Finally, the dazzling week can climax Monday night when the Green Bay Packers travel to the New York Giants. Green Bay is favored to win by six points, but if it does not, the Vikings will have experienced a perfect playoff-scenario weekend. The way it’s shaking out, there’s a strong likelihood that the Vikings and Packers wiggle into the postseason as sixth and seventh seeds.

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Minnesota has a 64.3% chance of reaching the postseason after the win in Las Vegas, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). Next up for Minnesota? On the road at the Cincinnati Bengals, and Jake Browning’s team is favored to win by four points.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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