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Playoffs!? You wanna talk about. . .Playoffs?!

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First of all, this discussion gives me license to break this out.

Will that ever, EVER get old?  I submit to you that the obvious. . .and correct. . .answer is no, no it won't.

But seriously, the NFC playoff picture at this point is what we military types like to call a "Charlie Foxtrot."  (If you're confused as to what that means, I'll translate it down in the comments section if anyone asks.)  Right now, the wild card spots belong to the Giants (7-4) and the Lions (6-5).  After that, there are six. . .SIX. . .NFC teams that all currently sport 5-6 records.  Those teams are. . .

Arizona
Chicago
New Orleans
Philadelphia
Washington
And, of course, the Beloved Purple.

Now, Detroit looks like they might be starting to come apart, and if yesterday's game was any indication, the Giants might be headed down that road, too.  I still think the Giants can pull it together and get in, but it's entirely possible that there are going to be 8 teams competing for those two spots as we come down the stretch here.

Here's the way the whole she-bang looks at the moment:

Team W-L Conf W-L Div W-L Tiebreakers NFC Games Left AFC Games Left
NYG (5) 7-4 5-4 2-2 DET @ CHI, @ PHI, @ WAS @ BUF, NE
DET (6) 6-5 4-5 3-1 CHI @ MIN, DAL, @ GB @ SD, KC
 
NO 5-6 4-3 2-2 None TB, @ ATL, ARZ, PHI, @ CHI None
ARI 5-6 3-5 2-2 DET @ SEA, @ NO, ATL, STL CLE
MIN 5-6 3-5 1-3 NYG DET, CHI, WAS, @ SF @ DEN
WAS 5-6 3-5 1-3 DET, ARZ CHI, @ NYG, @ MIN, DAL BUF
CHI 5-6 2-5 1-3 PHI NYG, @ WAS, @ MIN, GB, NO None
PHI 5-6 3-5 1-3 DET, MIN SEA, NYG, @ DAL, @ NO BUF

That's the order that the CBS Sportsline "Playoff Race" chart has the contenders listed in.  If you want a list of all of the tie-breaker scenarios, you can find them here.

Now, as you can see, more than half of the teams involved in this race play three of their five remaining games against the other teams on the list.  The Vikings, however, are the only team fortunate enough to have all three of their games against their fellow wild card fighters at home.  New York has to play all of theirs on the road.  The others fall somewhere in between.

After the game back on 11 November, almost nobody. . .myself included. . .would have thought that this team stood a snowball's chance of reaching the post-season.  Now, after a couple of wins and a blowout victory over a quality opponent on the road, there's plenty of reason to believe again.  All of our last five games are winnable. . .sure, they can all be lost, too, but there's no reason why this team can't go 3-2 over their last 5 and end the season at 8-8.  The three most important games, obviously, are the three home games I mentioned earlier.  Winning all three of those would give us head-to-head tiebreakers over Washington and Chicago, and even us up with Detroit. . .at which point a bunch of other tiebreakers would come into play if the Vikings and Lions ended up tied.  The game we could "most afford to lose" (if there is such a thing) would be the season finale at Denver, because it's largely irrelevant as far as any of the playoff tiebreaker scenarios go.

If, by some miracle, the Vikings were to win out. . .and, as I said, all five of the remaining games are winnable ball games. . .a 10-6 record would virtually assure them a playoff spot.  I have a feeling that in 5 weeks when the dust has all settled, we're going to have a lot of 9-7 and 8-8 records staring back at us.  Hopefully the Vikings can continue on the mini-roll they've started and push themselves to the post-season in a year that, just two weeks ago, looked like a lost cause.

Poll

With a 5-6 record and a "favorable" upcoming schedule, what chance do you give the Vikings of reaching the post-season?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    90%
    (43 votes)
  • 4%
    80%
    (15 votes)
  • 12%
    70%
    (39 votes)
  • 14%
    60%
    (44 votes)
  • 18%
    50%
    (57 votes)
  • 12%
    40%
    (40 votes)
  • 10%
    30%
    (32 votes)
  • 4%
    20%
    (15 votes)
  • 7%
    10%
    (23 votes)
308 votes total Vote Now