The Minnesota Vikings seemed to be a long shot to get to the 2012 NFL playoffs before yesterday's 23-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but now the odds are longer still. . .not just because the Vikings have to win out to have any realistic chance at the post-season, but also due to who's near them in the playoff chase.
If the 2012 playoffs were to end today, the seedings in the NFC would look like this:
1) Atlanta Falcons (11-1, NFC South leaders, best record in NFL)
2) San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1, NFC West leaders)
3) Green Bay Packers (8-4, NFC North leaders by virtue of head-to-head victory over Chicago)
4) New York Giants (7-4, NFC East leaders with game coming tonight)
5) Chicago Bears (8-4, wild card)
6) Seattle Seahawks (7-5, wild card)
The Vikings are two games behind two different teams in the NFC North, both of whom they've lost to in the past two weeks. The chances of a division title at this point are just about nil. So, how about the wild card spots?
Well, right now the top non-playoff seed in the NFC belongs to the Dallas Cowboys, who have the same 6-6 record as the Vikings.
They're followed in the seedings by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who also have the same 6-6 record as the Vikings. . . and who the Vikings would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with (much like they would against Seattle).
If the Washington Redskins can knock off the Giants on Monday Night Football, they'll climb to 6-6 as well. . .and, yes, the Vikings would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to them, too.
There's an explanation of the playoff tiebreaker rules right here, but as far as I can see, the Vikings basically have to run the table to get to 10-6 and make sure they don't end up in a tie with Seattle. Or Tampa Bay. Or Washington. Or any two of those teams in a three-way tie. Or, you know, anybody, really.
I'm not sure that we're going to have to worry about playoff tiebreakers and scenarios for a whole lot longer here anyway. But, if you were curious about them or anything, there they are.