Playoff Clincher Ranked #3 In NFL.com Top 20 Games Of 2012

I'm thinking that this should just be Jarius Wright's standard picture from here on out. - USA TODAY Sports

We know that the 2012 regular season finale at the Metrodome between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers was an incredible football game. Just how incredible? Well, the folks from NFL.com have finished ranking their Top 20 games of 2012 and, according to them, the final game of the 2012 NFL regular season was also its best.

The Vikings/Packers tilt came in at #3 on the NFL.com list. Given that the two games that rank ahead of it both came from the 2012 NFL Playoffs (the Atlanta Falcons beating the Seattle Seahawks at #2 and the Baltimore Ravens defeating the Denver Broncos at #1), that makes it the best game of this past regular season. Kind of hard to disagree, given everything that was on the line.

The article, as you'd expect, points out a lot of pretty cool stuff about the game. For example, did you know that Adrian Peterson's 199-yard performance was only the second highest total in a season finale for a running back that put up a 2,000-yard season? Well, it was. . .by one yard. O.J. Simpson put up an even 200 in the season finale in 1973 when he became the first runner to go over 2,000 yards.

It also gave quite a bit of respect to the Vikings' much-maligned quarterback, Christian Ponder.

Ponder hasn't exactly been getting love notes from NFL analysts - or closet NFL analysts - around the country. But in a tie game in the fourth quarter, and with a playoff spot on the line, Ponder made a throw that a lot of other NFL quarterbacks don't make.

Watch his 65-yarder to Jarius Wright here. That's throwing the deep ball. Ponder-to-Wright would lead to a Ponder-to-Jenkins touchdown later in the drive -- yet another extremely accurate throw.

They also highlighted the 25-yard completion on 3rd-and-11 on the game's final drive from Ponder to Michael Jenkins. Biggest play of Ponder's career, bar none, and he nailed it. Hard to argue that. If anyone wonders why I'm so reluctant to just toss Christian Ponder aside, plays like that one are the reason why.

Overall, the NFC North was featured in six of the top 20 games of 2012. The Green Bay Packers were featured three times, including this game against the Vikings, and the Detroit Lions were also featured three times. (The Chicago Bears did not make the list at all.) Their featured games didn't go quite as well for them as Minnesota's did.

#3 - Minnesota Vikings 37, Green Bay Packers 34
#4 - Seattle Seahawks 14, Green Bay Packers 12
#7 - Indianapolis Colts 30, Green Bay Packers 27
#11 - Tennessee Titans 44, Detroit Lions 41
#13 - Houston Texans 34, Detroit Lions 31
#15 - Indianapolis Colts 35, Detroit Lions 33

Hopefully the Vikings can continue their regular-season momentum as they prepare to kick off the 2013 season in about 14 weeks or so.

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