It’s been said that the 2017 NFL Playoffs are the most “wide open” playoffs of any in recent memory and that was proven to be true today, during the first day of the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Both teams that were favored ended up getting upset, at home, in dramatic fashion especially for the Titans/Chiefs. It was thought by many that the Vikings would end up playing the winner of the Rams/Falcons game, because everyone thought that the Rams (and their probable MVP Todd Gurley) would easily dispatch Atlanta. Instead, they were essentially dominated by the Falcons mainly because they looked scared. Coming into that game, a lot of people questioned whether the Rams were getting too good, too fast, based on the age of not only their players but also their 31 year old head coach.
The Rams/Falcons game obviously had a huge impact on the Vikings playoff schedule, as now the Vikes are awaiting the winner of tomorrow’s Panthers/Saints game to see which team they’ll face in the Divisional round next week. That means that the Vikings will face either the Panthers (the only team to beat them after the first four games of the season) and the Saints (a team that the Vikings dominated, with Sam Bradford, week 1 of the season)). We ran a poll on purplePTSD.com, asking our 12,000 readers which team they wanted to win tonight’s game (meaning, did they want the Vikings to face the Rams or the winner of tomorrow’s game, and they overwhelmingly chose the Rams (especially as the game progressed and it became obvious that the Rams were overwhelmed by the pressure that comes in the playoffs). Here’s that poll:
Ironically, the ratio of the poll almost perfectly mirrored the final score of that game, in reverse. So, we’ll toss up another poll for the week asking which team the fans want to face next week, but if you were to ask me which team I’d rather face… I’d probably get a nose bleed. But, considering that’s basically the point of this article, I’ll grab some cotton swabs. Now, I’ve said a few times that I don’t really fear the Panthers (anymore than any other team), despite the fact that the Vikings went down to their stomping grounds and laid an egg. But that’s just it, they played arguably their worst game of the season and still tied it with two minutes left. Think about that.
If the Panthers come up and run their option offense, which they will because former MVP Cam Newton lost the ability to throw the ball, the Vikings will be wiser and also less prone to make the mistakes they did in Carolina. Outside of that, I don’t see the Vikings defense playing the way they did last month. So, that just leaves the Saints, the team that the other hosts of the purpleJOURNAL Podcast (Joe Oberle and Luke Braun) have said they wanted to avoid in the playoffs (if possible) for really the past five to six episodes. Sure, we dominated them in the season opener, but that really isn’t the same team the Vikings would be facing next week. They had a lot of new pieces on defense that were learning how to play together on the fly, and they played Adrian Peterson in lieu of Alvin Kamara, which obviously was to their detriment.
Then there’s the subject of 2009 and what it’d mean to lose to the Saints, again, in a season that feels as charmed (if not more so) than the 2009 season the Vikings had with Brett Favre. I was talking to Nick Swardson the other day (#HumbleBrag) on Twitter and I think he summed up how I feel better than I ever could :
Me too, man. Me too.