Tuesday, November 28, 2006

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 13)

What a difference a week makes huh? Last week the Vikes were sitting as the 10th best team in the league and facing what seemed to be an insurmountable hill to get into the post season. Well, things fell our way this week, we took care of business (for the first time in November) and we now sit 1 game out of the playoffs. Here is how it all breaks down and at the bottom will be a list of teams we are chearing for this week.

Current Divisional Leaders (records in () are overall, conference, divisional)

1. NFC North - Chicago (9-2, 7-0, 3-0) - The Bears lost, but to an AFC team so it was ultimately meaningless as they still hold a 2 game lead for home field and conference record probably won't be matched so it is basically a 3 game lead. I don't see that kind of collapse in this Bear team, especially with their remaining schedule.
2. NFC South - New Orleans (7-4, 6-1, 4-1) - New Orleans is the surprise team of this year. With a home game vs. SanFran this week they look to stay close to the Bears in case they do slip just a bit.
3. NFC West - Seattle (7-4, 6-3, 3-1) - Survived a scare through 3 qtrs on Monday night, but this team is 0nly getting stronger as we get into December. Essentially a 3 game lead on the division makes this team almost as safe as Chicago.
4. NFC East - Dallas (7-4, 4-3, 1-3) - The Giants are fading and the Cowboys are surging with Romo under center and TO dropping passes. Still a weak divisional record leaves the door open for NYG, but they are up for now and have an oportunity to widen the gap with a game at New York this week.

Wild Card (overall, NFC record)

Things tightened this week for wild card hopefuls. Philly, SanFran, Atlanta all dropped while MN and STL gained ground making in more of a cluster as we head into December.

5. IN - NY Giants (6-5, 5-2) - 3 straight losses has bumped the Giants from an NFC contender to just another mediocre NFC team. Their next 3 weeks will tell us a LOT as they take on 3 other playofff contenders.
Key games Dal(wk13), @Car(wk14), vPhi(wk15). H2H Tiebreakers Atl, Dal, Phi
6. IN -Carolina (6-5, 4-4) - This is the team Vikings fans wanted to see on the WC list not a Divisional leader. Carolina has few H2H tiebreakers and most importantly lost to MN. And they finish their season with 2 road divisional games. Carolina is holding on but just barely.
Key games @Phi(wk13) vNYG(wk14) @Atl(wk 16) @NO(wk17). H2H Tiebreakers Stl

7. OUT - Minnnesota (5-6, 5-3) - Back in the win column and some help throughout the NFC has put MN 1 game out of the WC. As I've always stated we have solid tie breakers but a 4-1 finish is still likely what they'll need to extend their season. This week vs. the Bears would be a HUGE win but we can recover from a loss, it just makes things a bit harder.
Key games @Chi
(wk13) (wk16) vSTL(wk17). H2H Tiebreaker - Car, Sea
8. OUT - Philadelphia (5-6, 4-3) - The Eagles still have life but it is more vegetative without McNabb. With 4 of their remaining games vs. playoff contenders I think we need to hope for 1 or 2 key upsets that will help MN without letting Philly sneak in to a WC spot.
Key games vCar(wk13) @NYG(wk15) @Dal(wk16) vAtl(wk17). H2H Tiebreaker - GB, SF
9. OUT - SanFrancisco (5-6, 4-3) - I think SF edges out Stl because of better divisional record, but sitting 9th or 10th is essentially the same thing. Trips to Seattle and to Denver likely will doom the improved 49ers.
Key Games @NO(wk13), vGB(wk14) @Sea(wk15). H2H Tiebreaker - Min
10. St. Louis (5-6, 4-4) - Leapfrogged Atlanta, but still looking up at too many teams. The Rams have a few easier games left on their schedule so they'll probably move higher on the list before they move down. Week 17 in Minnesota might determine the playoff lives of those teams.
Key games vChi(wk14) @MN(wk17). H2H Tiebreaker - GB
11. OUT - Atlanta (5-6, 3-4) - The frustration mounts and the freefall continues for the Falcons. Next 2 weeks are winnable but on the road so that may be a lot to overcome for this struggling team.
Key games vDal(wk15) vCar(wk16) @Phi(wk17). H2H Tiebreaker - none

Green Bay (4-7, 3-5) - Going 5-0 to finish the year might not be enough considering they have no H2H tiebreakers. Time to start planning for post Favre in paint thinner territory.

Vikings fans games to watch (in order of importance)...

  • Philadelphia over Carolina - I don't think Philly will catch us and we need Carolina to lose 1 more game than MN in the next 5 weeks
  • New Orleans over SanFran - we can't catch NO, SF has H2H over us and we need NO to maintain Divisional lead over Car
  • Dallas over NYGiants - we can't catch Dal, bring NYG back to pack so we can land that 1st WC spot and breath easier over the last couple weeks
  • Arizona over St. Louis - get Stl out of the picture so they have nothing to play for in wk 17
  • Washington over Atlanta - also get Atl out of the picture

Monday, November 27, 2006

Post Game


This offense can't be stopped, they are rollin!

All we needed was a little momentum going into Chicago. Don't forget we can still win the division!

OK, seriously now; I know that was a W over one of the teams fighting only for draft position, but it was just what the doctor ordered and nobody reading this would have been shocked to see a Cardinal victory. Here are some highlights / lowlights...


  • Chester Taylor - 136 yards, 1 TD, moved up the 5th in NFL for rushing yards.
  • Run Defense - I know that our pass defense has been exposed, but 51 pass attempts because they aren't going to get anything on the ground leads to 2 INTs.
  • Marcus Robinson - isn't it nice to have a WR that can be counted on to actually catch the ball? 7 catches, 82 yards and a TD aren't Hall of Fame numbers but we haven't that in a long time.
  • Ben Leber - this guy is severly underappreciated. You never hear his name but that might be because he is simply making the plays he is supposed to make. I see him in position, taking on blockers, forcing fumbles and letting the playmakers around him make plays.
  • Antoine Winfield - 13 solo tackles, 1 pass defensed. Solid play.
  • Brad Johnson - 260+ yards and enough TDs to last him 6 weeks.
  • Dwight Smith - 6 tackles, 2 INTs. Most productive day as a Viking for Mr. Smith.
  • Chester Taylor - fumbles were never a problem before, now I'm afraid he's got fumbleitis on his brain. Arguably cost us the game vs. Miami and nearly cost us the game vs. Arizona. He single handedly turned the game from 38-13 to 31-19. If we want to play a 17th game this year he has to stop doing his best Culpepper impersonations.
  • Pass Rush - teams are 1-dimensional now and have been for 4 of the last 5 games. Our D-line which is phenominal vs. the run needs to get the the QB quicker and more often. Leinart threw 51 times and was on his back only once. The last 3 games have seen 135 pass attempts and just 1 sack. That has to change and the line needs to do it without the help from blitzing LBs.
  • The High Road - it must be lonely and frustrating on Denny's high road. We always wondered were that road would lead? Well it looks like it leads to unemployment once again!
  • Gopher Basketball - that's for another blog, but it still saddens me.
All in all the team looked better, albeit not exactly ready for the opening kickoff. The offense looked capable, the run game looked much improved, but all that must be tempered by the fact that it was the Cardinals. Next week at Chicago will be different. We'll likely see a less talented passing game that has been prone to mistakes but we'll also see a more capable running team that will stay committed to it and a MUCH better defense that will make us work for every 1st down.

Losing to SanFran, Green Bay and Miami only meant that we'd have to beat a team or two that we were not supposed to beat if we want to make the playoffs. This is the week to do that. All I know is that next week could be for the division championship! If we can shut down the run and make Rex throw 51 times we might end up with 6 INTs!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WARNING: Vikings offense may be WORSE that it appears

Hi, my name is Tom and I'm a PurpleKoolAid drinker. I've been sober now for one day. That has been just long enough for this analysis of the Vikings offense...

As most of you may (or may not) realize many of the NFL stats oft used to measure the worth of a particular team's offense or defense are very misleading. For instance Denver is the 4th best defense if you use points allowed but they are in the middle of the league (14th) for yards allowed. Really both are misleading...

  • Meaningless TDs are scored when the game is essentially decided, Chester Taylor's TD last week only helped fantasy owners.
  • Teams with leads give up big chunks of passing yards to overinflate yds allowed.
  • Points allowed do not take into account defensive TDs that opponents score. The Vikings defense is on the hook for the 2 TDs that the offense game Miami last week.
This got me thinking about the ineptitude of the Vikins offense. Statistically the Viking offense is ranked
  • 16th in yards per game
  • 27th in points per game
I'm here to tell you that it is MUCH worse than that. Minnesota has scored a total of 167 points on the season. But some of those points are FGs and some are defensive TDs so how much should the offense actually get credit for?

I did some league wide research.
  • FGs and return TDs go to special teams
  • safeties and defensive TDs go to the defense
  • offensive TDs go to the offense
  • extra points go whoever got the TD
The average NFL offense scores 69.5% of the teams total points.

Where does the Viking offense rank? 31st with their offense only accounting for 49.1% of their offense! Let me rephrase for dramatic effect...THE OFFENSE ACCOUNTS FOR LESS THAN HALF OF OUR TOTAL POINTS! Well maybe our defense is just that good, or we score a lot of FGs?

Baltimore leads the NFL in defensive TDs, their offense? - 62.6%
Chicago has the league leading FG kicker, their offense? - 62.1%
Tampa Bay has 4 games where the offense has contributed nothing and they are at 68.9%

Just for your reference...

1. New England - 86.4%
2. San Diego - 804.%
10. Detroit - 75.7%
21. Green Bay - 68.11
27. Chicago - 62.1%
30. Buffalo - 59.8% - one of 3 teams under 60%
31. Minnesota - 49.10%
32. Oakland - 47.5% - worse O-line and a new QB every other week

What does this mean? How do we fix this? How did this happen? I don't know but here is what I do know...
  1. Please don't tell me anymore that Brad Johnson needs to be paid more money. If this is the best he can do, I see no reason that he should be paid more. He's leading this team like a back up QB and he should be paid like one.
  2. We had 2 good weeks of offense, Week 1 and Week 7. Week 1 Childress had the month of August to prepare and the results were very good. Week 7 was following the bye week when Childress had 2 weeks to prepare for Seattle. When given enough time he seems to have an effective gameplan. When he is limited to 1 week we struggle. My solution? Give the offense to your offensive coordinator and you worry about being a head coach! To this point you have not shown you can do both.
  3. Personell is not totally the issue. Chester Taylor is on pace for nearly 1400 yards and our O-line has been struggling but has talent. Recievers are certainly an issue, I'll grant you that. But this offense has enough talent to score more than half of the team's points.
  4. Quite making stupid penalties. The O-line is responsible for at least 3 drives moving from inside the 5 to outside the 10 and resulting in FGs. 3 extra TDs at least gets you over the 60% mark and that's respectable.
The Vikings are not too far away from being a playoff team that can win in January. Everyone will tell you that if you stop the run and run the ball, you are in position to win every week. Minnesota is dominant against the run and has been effective running the ball, but this lack of offensive efficiency is astounding and is THE reason that we are sitting at 4-6 instead of 6-4 or better.

This is depressing, get me a cup of Kool Aid STAT!

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 12)

Since my last Playoff recap the Vikings have fallen to the fringe of the playoff radar. My rule before was that you had to be .500 to get consideration, but I'm changing the rules because I think the Vikings still have a shot (my Kool Aid gets stronger with each passing week).

Current Playoff Scenarios (records in () are overall, conference, divisional)

NFC East - NY Giants (6-4, 5-2, 3-0) - NYG has gone 1-2 in the last 3 weeks and are tied with Dallas, but I think the Giants are safe due to their divisional and conferenc records. They are @ Tenn this week before the Cowboys come to town for the game that could give them yet another tie breaker over Dallas.
NFC North - Chicago (9-1, 7-0, 3-0) - The Bears are only playing for homefield throughout and with a 3 game lead over anybody in the NFC they should clinch that sooner rather than later.
NFC South - Carolina (6-4, 4-3, 3-1) - The Panthers passed Atlanta and New Orleans in the last 3 weeks to hold a slight lead for division champs. They are tied with the Saints at 6-4, but hold the head to head, at least until they meet in the Superdome in week 17.
NFC West - Seattle (6-4, 5-3, 3-1) - The Panthers seemed to clinch when they beat St. Louis for the 2nd time in week 10, but lost a bad game to SanFran in week 11. Fortunately for them St. Louis has fallen off the map with 5 straight losses.

Wild Card (overall and NFC record)

3 weeks ago the WC teams were Atlanta and Minnesota, they have both lost 3 straight and are fighting for their playoff lives. I also mentioned that there is always one team to come out of no where and make a run at the WC, this year's team appears to be San Fran. They certainly were not on anybody's radar 3 weeks ago and at 5-5 they are in the mix. Here is the current list of teams fighting to get in.

IN - New Orleans (6-4, 5-1) - NFC record of 5-1 gives them the edge over the Cowboys. The Saints have a tough remaining schedule including their next 3 vs. teams fighting for NFC playoffs. Their next 3 games may determine their fate. Key games @Atl(wk12), vSF(wk13), @Dal(wk14). H2H Tiebreakers Philly
IN - Dallas (6-4, 3-3) - Their recent win over Indy solidified them as a legit NFL team but really didn't boost their NFC resume all that much. Ultimately they are 3-3 in the NFC and only 1-3 in their own division. Tie breakers are not currently in their favor so they must have a 1 game lead over somebody to make the playoffs. Key games @NYG(wk13) vNO(wk14). H2H Tiebreakers Car

OUT - Philadelphia (5-5, 4-3) - Lost 3 of last 4 to fall out of playoffs. This team may head south in a hurry with McNabb out for the season, a trip tin Indianapolis this week and 4 road games in next 6 weeks. Key games vCar(wk13). H2H Tiebreaker - GB, SF
OUT - SanFrancisco (5-5, 4-3) - Look out, here come the new and improved Niners. After getting pummeled by the Bears they have won 3 straight. Some key games in the next 3 weeks put them in a similar boat as New Orleans. Win or play the last 3 for fun or draft position. @Stl(wk12), @NO(wk13), vGB(wk14). H2H Tiebreaker - Min
OUT - Atlanta (5-5, 3-3) - Vick surges, Falcons are in; Vick struggles, Falcons are out. It has been that simple through 10 weeks. So would the real Vick please stand up. After this week's game with NO, Atl can make up some ground vs. Was and TB or they can get back in the Brady Quinn sweepstakes. Key games vNO(wk12). H2H Tiebreaker - none
OUT - Minnnesota (4-6, 4-3) - 4 straight losses have made things very dicey for MN. But they remain on the list because of their tie breakers. They could have really solidified their playoff spot by beating SF in an ugly game and by beating GB at home, but they didn't and they sit at the bottom of teams with a shot. 5-1 to finish the season isn't unreasonable and with tie-breakers 9-7 MIGHT be enough, but ultimately they'll need some help. Key games all of them. H2H Tiebreaker - Car, Sea

Green Bay (4-6, 3-4) - with 3-4 conference record and no significant H2H wins outside of their division they'll have to go 6-0 and get some help.
St. Louis (4-6, 3-4) - same boat as Green Bay but they do have 4 of 6 remaining games at home.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Call Out / Shout Out

Call Out - Brad Childress

  • Please make an offensive adjustment throughout the game!!! Your offense has been rather effective on opening drives this season, scoring on most of them. Touchdowns have been a struggle but I won't put false start and holding penalties on your shoulders (yet). But the following our opening drives opposing defenses are obviously making adjustments and your offense seems content to run the same plays over and over. We have to be able to counter their counters and we have to run routes to the open areas of the field.
Shout Out - Mike Tomlin
  • It has been a LONG time since we have seen a defense ranked in the top 10 in total yards allowed and points allowed. The defense this year is 9-1, unfortunately the offense is 1-9 and that nets out to 4-6. This defense is legit and fun to watch. The passing stats are a little high but much of that can be attributed to the run defense being so good that teams are forced to pass on every down and that leads to higher passing yards against.
Call Out - Bryant McKinnie / Steve Hutchinson
  • You guys are making a combined 33 million in guaranteed money. It is about time you started playing well on EVERY down. Currently you do your job on some downs and get manhandles on other downs. In the last month Brad Johnson looks like a jumping bean in the pocket because he knows that he doesn't have much time. You only make up 40% of the O-line but you need to be more consistent so we have SOMEONE on that line we can rely on.
Shout Out - Pat Williams
  • You sir are the MVP thus far! Your stats do not accurately show your dominance and your ability to make big plays when big plays are needed most. For my money you are the anchor and heart of this improving defense.
Call Out - Brad Johnson
  • I am tired of hearing what a game manager you are and how you may not win games for your team but you surely won't lose games. Well I find that statement false. I say you are direclty responsible for the Chicago, Buffalo and Miami losses. And you are a significant contributor to the New England and San Francisco losses. Your 10 INT to 5 TD ratio is terrible and when it counted most is the Chi, Buf, Mia games you came up remarkably short. Let me be one of the first to call for a change at QB (maybe I'm not the first, but you get the point).
Shout Out - Chester Taylor / Tony Richardson
  • This shout out could be attributed to Rick Speilman for signing the two highly effective backs. Chester has proven to be a more than capable every down back. His QB has been sketchy and his O-line has been inconsistent yet he is on pace for nearly 1400 yards. My eyes tell me that you are able to make the first guy miss more often than not and when given a hole you make the most of it. Richardson is down and out but he was effective and made a few gutty first downs.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What happened?

How far has this team fallen? 4 weeks ago we were sitting at 4-2, owned the top wild card playoff spot, we had just dominated the defending NFC Champions and we were heading into the easiest portion of our schedule. Here is the ugly recap post New England game...

San Francisco 3-9 (road) - If you were able to stay awake for this one, congratulations you got to watch all 60 min of arguably the worst game in the NFL this year. Looking back now, SanFran is improved and up to .500 but there is no excuse for scoring only 3 points against a defense that has allowed 34 or more points in half their games this year.

Green Bay 17-23 (home) - Brett Favre is closing in on the NFL interception record and his struggles in the metrodome are well documented, so one would have assumed this was going to be a certain W. But Brett Favre looked as good as he did when he was hyped up on pain killers and beer throwing for 347 yds and 2 TDs. Even with Favre's solid play, the Vikings made a couple critical mistakes that essentially cost them the game.

Miami 20-24 (road) - Miami is also one of the hotter teams in this middle portion of the season, but once again the offense was able to give this game away despite another brilliant performance by the defense. This time the Vikings offense accounted for 34 points! Unfortunately 14 of them were gifts to the Miami defense and those points counted for the wrong team on the scoreboard.

And that brings us to present day. 4-6 and needing to basically go 5-1 (at worst) to have a crack at the playoffs.

The Brad Childress era is starting to look eerily similar to the Tice era. We are unable to make adjustments and we are outcoached / out-schemed on a weekly basis. The NFL season is long and full of adjustments to keep your edge. We started strong but now teams have adjusted. You can't have a winning season if we zig, zig, zig every week; we have to zag sometime.

Ultimately it is far too early to adequately judge Childress. He has brought more discipline to this beleaguered franchise, he has been relatively prepared for the start of nearly every game and a good portion of the lack of production can be attributed to the quality of personnel. But he also has shown an inability to make offensive adjustments to counter defensive adjustments and his play calling is about as vanilla as it gets.

The season is not over and 5-1 is not out of the question if you look at the schedule. That would put us at 9-7, but we have some positive tie breakers and 9-7 just might get us into that wild card!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Vikings v 49ers Kool-Aided Preview

Week 9

Well this week is pretty simple, if you want to make the playoffs, you have to win this game. The Niners are 2-5 and the Vikings need to maintain their stellar NFC record. Like I said, this isn't complicated the Vikings must win or think about whether or not they want to make the playoffs.

The Trenches - The MN defensive line overmatches the SF offensive line. This is a match up that we need to do more than just win, we have to dominate. On the other side of the ball this is a match up we can also win but it is not a sure thing. The Vikings are facing another 3-4 defense this week and it was not a particularly good situation last week vs. New England (that was the last Patriot / 49er comparison). We should be able to handle their 3 down linemen (SHOULD) but the Niner LB corp is pretty solid and we have to do a better job of picking them up on the blitz.

The Pretty Boys - If the OL can give Brad time he should be able to move us downfield. Our passing game should seriously overmatch the San Fran secondary. Chester should have an opportunity to get his legs going again IF our OL can manhandle their defensive front. On the other side, the Niner offensive skill guys are young and improving. But they are still young, make mistakes and they don't have the OL to help them out.

The Ball Hawks - THIS is an interesting match up. Last week the Vikings secondary looked like they were wearing maroon & gold and they were still tired from getting beat by Ohio State. This week could be ugly or they could grab a handful of turnovers.

Keys to the Game

  1. Minnesota D-line MUST DOMINATE - Not much to elaborate on here, get to Smith and keep Gore from breaking anything big.
  2. Minnesota secondary - has to make the adjustments that got them embarassed on Monday night. Alex Smith is not Tom Brady no matter how much Kool Aid I drink, but Smith is getting better and he can get on a roll if we let him.
  3. Overcome injuries - Napoleon Harris and Marcus Robinson are out this week. Marcus is a bigger loss than we thought before and usually I wouldn't care about Harris but his speed is necessary to help cover Vernon Davis (assuming he is back from injury). Also Napo was inefective last week and I think he'd come back this week to be productive.
The season would not be lost but this is a must win. The Vikings have a handful of games vs. bad teams in the next month. Losing to Green Bay is a possiblity as divisional games are often competitive, losing at Miami would not hurt as much as losing this week as they are an AFC team and Arizona at home is a dangerous game with Leinart improving and Denny returning to the Dome. All that to say that this is the easiest of the upcoming games and a must win to keep their playoff position.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 9)

Alright - it is never to early to start looking at playoff scenarios. Since I only care about 1 team and they are in the NFC there will be little to no talk about AFC scenarios. The rule is that you either have to be .500 or close to .500 and a playoff team from last year to warrant any consideration. Here we go...

The Basics (for all of you girls, soccer fans and American males who live under rocks)

  • There are 4 Divisions in the NFC and 16 teams (4 in each division for the math challenged).
  • 6 teams make the playoffs
  • The 4 division winners + the 2 remaining teams with the best records regardless of what division they come from.
  • The Division winners with the best records get a bye.
  • Basic tiebreakers are Overall record, Head 2 Head (if applicable) then NFC record.
  • and that should cover the basics, without getting into tie breaker scenarios.
Current Playoff Scenarios (records in () are overall, NFC, divisional)

NFC East - NY Giants (5-2, 5-1, 3-0) - currently hold a 1 game lead over Dallas and Philly, but have beaten both of them on the road already. As it stands the Giants have put themselves in pefect position but there is a lot of season left and this is a tight division. Upcoming key game is home to Chicago in Week 10.
NFC North - Chicago (7-0, 6-0, 3-0) - 3 game lead over 2nd place MN is nearly a lock to win the division already. The Bears are really playing for homefield advantage throughout. Key game is @NYG in Week 10
NFC South - New Orleans (5-2, 4-1, 2-1) - the surprise team of the NFC is tied with Atlanta but the Saints beat the Falcons earlier to maintaint the lead. This division is also very tight as the Saints, Falcons and Panthers all have a shot to win this one.
NFC West - Seattle (4-3, 4-2, 2-0) - The defending NFC Champ has lost 2 in a row but has won @St. Louis who they are tied with for the division lead. Key game is STL in Week 10.

Wild Card (overall and NFC record)

IN - Atlanta (5-2, 3-2) - Overall record of 5-2 puts them in the WC drivers seat, but 3-2 NFC record needs some work or tie-breakers will not be pleasant to the dirty birds. H2H Tiebreaker - none
IN - Minnesota (4-3, 4-1) - This begins the run of 4-3 teams. MN would currently be the last WC team based on their 4-1 NFC record. Next 4 games are all very winnable games @SF, GB, @Mia, AZ. H2H Tiebreaker - Car, Sea

OUT - St. Louis (4-3, 3-2)
- 2 game losing streak has currently put them looking up at the playoff teams. With KC, Sea, Car as upcoming games the Rams are in danger of losing 5 straight and falling off this list. Key games are @ Sea Wk10 and @ Car Wk11. H2H Tiebreaker - none
OUT - Dallas (4-3, 2-2) - The Cowboys had a big win @ Carolina this week to stay in the thick of things. Like MN, Dallas has a handful of "easier" games in the coming weeks to strengthen their playoff resume. H2H Tiebreaker - Car
OUT - Philadelphia (4-4, 3-3) - Would the real Philly team please stand up? The Eagles looked like a SuperBowl contender after their 4-1 start, but 3 straight losses have turned their playoff plans into hopes. They have their bye week to figure things out and for their fans hopefully will return to their form of the first 5 weeks. H2H Tiebreaker - none
OUT - Carolina (4-4, 2-3) - The Panthers have been very "Eagle-like" this season starting 0-2, 4-0, then 0-2. 4-4 is OK but what really hurts the Panthers is that they have lost any H2H tiebreakers with MN and Dal. H2H Tiebreaker - none

One team always waits until about this time of year then rattles off a bunch of wins to get their name in the Wild Card scenarios (see Washington and Minnesota from 2005). Green Bay looks to be the only team in that category this year. Their next 4 games will either put them out or make them a team to recon with. My vote is that it will put them closer to the Brady Quinn sweepstakes than it will to Wild Card weekend. They play @Buf, @MN, NE, @Sea.

So that basically leaves us with 10 teams fighting for 6 spots. That sounds good for MN, but when you say that really you have 6 teams fighting for 2 WC spots that makes it sound a bit more daunting. This week is big for the Vikings. SanFran will not be in a tie breaker scenario with MN so the H2H is meaningless but pusing their NFC record to 5-1 would be exactly what they need to maintain their WC hold.

Kool Aid Drinkers