The Minnesota Vikings will finish Sunday in the driver’s seat for the 6th seed in the NFC playoff picture after a defensive 27-9 win over the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Houston Texans choked on the final drive and lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on a game-winning 35-yard field goal by Jake Elliot. With the Eagles winning today and keeping their playoff dream alive, the Vikings are in for an uphill battle to make it to the post-season.
The Eagles and Seahawks both have easy wins against the Redskins and Cardinals in week 17; while the Vikings will have no choice but to win the final game of the season against the Chicago Bears to lock in their playoff spot. Resting starters in week 17 seems to have all but been forgotten by the NFL and we should all expect to see the Bears’ first-string offense and first string defense play the entire game against Minnesota.
With the playoffs on the line next week, Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski cannot have a first half against the Bears like he had against the Lions. Minnesota opened the game with four three-and-out drives on offense and only scored on their fifth drive due to Detroit blowing coverage on a crucial 3rd and 17 that allowed the Vikings eventually score their first touchdown of the day. If it weren’t for the 44 yard Hail Mary TD to TE Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings would have only had 7 points and 108 yards of total offense to end the first half.
The Bears excel at turning any offensive woes into points on the scoreboard and can pressure opposing quarterbacks at will if they start to build a lead. The Bears are also at the top of the league with 22 total turnovers and a +13 turnover margarin entering week 16. The Vikings cannot leave it up to the Redskins to beat the Eagles or the Cardinals to beat the Seahawks in the final week of the season. Seattle will secure a playoff spot if they can beat the Chiefs at home in week 16; therefore making the game against the Cardinals a non-factor in the Vikings’ playoff fate. Next week’s game vs Chicago will have Vikings’ fans biting their nails and everyone should be watching the Eagles vs Redskins in the event the Vikings cannot come away with a win vs the Bears.
Side note: This is my first piece for purplePTSD and I would like to give a shout out to my mother Lisa, my partner Calysta, and even my bandwagon Cowboys fan roommate Arthur. SKOL Vikings!