Week 14: Vikings vs. St. Louis

- wadE

I was hosting a brunch for my neighbors during this game so obviously I did not attend in person, and I didn't get to see much of the first half, but here's what I was able to glean from the little I saw:

If Daunte was healthy and playing, and the offense was performing like it has lately, even if the Vikings were on a winning streak, people would be complaining about him. Why no complaining about the offense now? They are awful at times. Way too many 3 and outs...they completely lost the field position game.

It's still hard to get too excited about this defense. Five interceptions (could/should have been 7 or even 8) is good, but how good is it when the quarterback was a rookie from Harvard? Did the complete disrespect for Fitzpatrick allow us to be tough on the run? Hard to say. Next week against Pittsburgh will be the game that tells the Vikings if they are really a team worthy of making the playoffs. And if Pittsburgh has a complete collapse like the Giants did against us, then it doesn't matter if they're a good team or not, like the old adage: "I'd rather be lucky than good."

I read today that even if the Vikings win out, they could not make the playoffs...? Huh, wouldn't we hold the tie breaker against Chicago? Apparently not. If Chicago wins against Atlanta, I believe they would end up with a better record in common games.

For Division ties:
1. Head-to-head
2. Best PCT in games within division
3. Best PCT in common games

So the Vikings really need a full collapse by Chicago to get to the playoffs, or Dallas and Atlanta to lose. Those games from the beginning of the year are really coming back to haunt this team. It's very possible they could go 11-5 and not make the playoffs. Who would have though that was possible for any NFC team to have a record like that and not make the playoffs. Was this the year that 7-9 was going to be a playoff team in the NFC?

If the Vikings need both Chicago and Atlanta to lose, who do you root for next Sunday night when they play each other? Atlanta has Chicago, Tampa Bay, and Carolina left. Dallas has Washington, Carolina, and St. Louis left. While Chicago has Atlanta, Green Bay, and the Vikings.

It's messy, but let's look at the scenario of the Vikings not winning out or tieing the Bears, the Vikings could only hope to be a wild card.

For Wild-Card ties (2 Clubs):
1. Head-to-head
2. Best PCT in games within conference
3. Best PCT in common games, min. of four

If the Vikings win out and Dallas wins out (which is pretty possible looking at their remaining games), the Vikings would be out of the playoffs based on #2 (Vikings 8-4, Dallas 9-3). Atlanta has the first tiebreaker against the Vikings, but also the toughest schedule.

So, to answer who do you root for... If the Vikings beat Pittsburgh, you root for Atlanta to win. That draws the Vikings even with the Bears, and puts them in position to win the division on the final game of the season (assuming the Vikings beat Baltimore).

If the Vikings lose to Pittsburgh, you probably have to root for the Bears to win and for Dallas to lose at least one of their final three games. The Vikings would then have to win their last two games against Baltimore and the Bears, then the Vikings and Dallas would go to the third tiebreaker.

Looking at the schedules, I think we might have them on that; Dallas would be 1-1 against the Giants who the Vikings beat (V:1-0 D:1-1, both beat Detroit in all matchups (V:3-0 D:2-1), it would then come down to which game Dallas lost out of their last three. If they lose to Washington, but beat St. Louis and Carolina, the common games records would be V:4-1 D:4-1 (which would take us to the 4th tiebreaker "4. Strength of victory.", and I've got no idea how that is calculated). But, if Dallas does lose to either Carolina or St. Louis, the Vikings would have them on that 3rd tiebreaker.

But then you have to worry about Atlanta, they hold the first tiebreaker on the Vikings, so you have to root for them to lose at least two of their final three games... which is possible given their schedule.

Confused yet? Just wait!

If the Vikings lose two of their final games, that will pretty much require Atlanta and Dallas to lose all of their remaining games. If the Vikings beat the Bears and lose to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, they would need Dallas to lose two games (which would give the Vikings the 3rd tiebreaker) AND Atlanta would have to lose all of their games. If one of the two losses comes against the Bears, the Vikings will need Dallas and Atlanta to lose all of their games; although if Dallas did win one game, we would go to the scenario above that goes to the 4th tiebreaker.

If the Vikings lose all three games, that's easy...they're out!

Don't worry, regardless of the outcome of the games this weekend, we'll revisit this same topic next week.

Skol Vikings!

- 12/12/2005


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