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What if all the one-score games the Vikings played in 2018 had the opposite result?

Well. . .it wouldn’t have changed much

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Minicamp Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for another theme week around the SB Nation family of NFL blogs, and this one is one that we’ve done before: “What if” week. Now, nobody has more potential “What ifs” than the Minnesota Vikings do, but for now we’re going to crib an idea from our friends over at Pride of Detroit.

PoD went back and looked at how different things would have been in 2018 if the results of every one-score game went the opposite way. Sadly, for the Vikings, things really wouldn’t have changed all that much. Here’s the full breakdown:

Vikings 2018 record with one-score games flipped

Week Opponent Real Result Real Record New Result New Record
Week Opponent Real Result Real Record New Result New Record
1 San Francisco 49ers W, 24-16 1-0 Loss 0-1
2 Green Bay Packers T, 29-29 1-0-1 Tie 0-1-1
3 Buffalo Bills L, 27-6 1-1-1 Loss 0-2-1
4 Los Angeles Rams L, 38-31 1-2-1 Win 1-2-1
5 Philadelphia Eagles W, 23-21 2-2-1 Loss 1-3-1
6 Arizona Cardinals W, 27-17 3-2-1 Win 2-3-1
7 New Yok Jets W, 37-17 4-2-1 Win 3-3-1
8 New Orleans Saints L, 30-20 4-3-1 Loss 3-4-1
9 Detroit Lions W, 24-9 5-3-1 Win 4-4-1
11 Chicago Bears L, 25-20 5-4-1 Win 5-4-1
12 Green Bay Packers W, 24-17 6-4-1 Loss 5-5-1
13 New England Patriots L, 24-10 6-5-1 Loss 5-6-1
14 Seattle Seahawks L, 21-7 6-6-1 Loss 5-7-1
15 Miami Dolphins W, 41-17 7-6-1 Win 6-7-1
16 Detroit Lions W, 27-9 8-6-1 Win 7-7-1
17 Chicago Bears L, 24-10 8-7-1 Loss 7-8-1

The Vikings only played in five games that were decided by one score in 2018, and none after Week 12’s win over Green Bay. Of those five games, two that had been losses would have turned into victories (Week 4 against the Rams and Week 11 against the Bears), while three of the victories would have turned into losses (Week 1 against the 49ers, Week 5 against the Eagles, and Week 12 against the Packers).

So, overall, the Vikings’ record would have gone from 8-7-1 to 7-8-1. According to Pride of Detroit, who ran the numbers for every team in the NFL for 2018, that would have dropped the Vikings to third in the NFC North behind the Bears (10-6) and the Packers (9-6-1), and just barely ahead of Detroit (7-9).

That also would have moved the Vikings’ draft slot from #18 to #11, as there would have been just 10 teams in the NFL with worse records than the Vikings’ 7-8-1 mark in that scenario.

Success in one-score games is a pretty solid indicator of success in today’s NFL. Ideally, we’d like to see the Vikings not play a lot of one-score games as they’d be blowing teams out of the water, but for much of the Mike Zimmer era things haven’t worked that way.