Why the Vikings are a scarier Wild Card for the rest of the NFC than the Rams
The Minnesota Vikings are all but guaranteed a spot in the postseason this time around. However, it all seemingly depends on where exactly the surging Vikings will ultimately slot into the NFC playoff picture as Minnesota still has a legitimate shot at being crowned NFC North champions.
Currently sitting at a stellar 9-4 on the season, the Vikings most recently dominated the ailing Detroit Lions en route to capturing a 20-7 victory at home this past Sunday. Not only that, but the Vikings, who are now just one game behind the rival Green Bay Packers in the divisional standings, have notably won three of the team’s last four games.
With the 10-3 Packers slated to visit Minnesota in Week 16, the Vikings could potentially steal the division from Green Bay when all is said and done. If not, the Vikings could more than likely serve as the No. 6 seed and second wild card team in the NFC, which would obviously cost Minnesota a home playoff game. Unfortunately for Minnesota’s hopes in regards to winning the NFC North this season, the Vikings previously lost to the Packers back in Week 2 by the score of 21-16.
On a more positive note, the Vikings will take on the Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago Bears over the course of two of the next three weeks — both of which are winnable games. As for the Packers, Green Bay will take on the lowly Lions and aforementioned Bears to round out its schedule.
Because of Minnesota’s dominant play over the last few weeks, the Vikings will surely reach the postseason as either a division winner or second wild card team. Certainly capable of winning out en route to solidifying a 12-4 regular-season effort in 2019-20, the Vikings are not only one of the more dangerous teams in the NFC but the entire league as it stands today.
Because of the impressive play of the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Packers, and Vikings, the Los Angeles Rams remain on the outside looking in at the postseason at 8-5 on the year. If the season ended today, the Rams would sit in seventh place in the NFC standings. Although the playoffs remain within reach following a massive home victory over the rival Seahawks in Week 14, the Rams will take on the Dallas Cowboys, 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals to close out the regular season, making things a bit difficult in terms of gaining ground on the Vikings.
Additionally, the Vikings are just a better all-around team on the football field as it stands today — especially on offense, which will be more than necessary to advance come playoff time.
The Rams have received back-and-forth play under center from quarterback Jared Goff while Vikings’ signal-caller Kirk Cousins has been lights out for the majority of the campaign. The Rams have also had trouble getting starting running back Todd Gurley going with the Vikings receiving a stretch of absolutely tremendous effort from up-and-coming running back Dalvin Cook, who has finally turned in a relatively healthy season after encountering several injury-plagued years to begin his NFL tenure.
The one advantage that the Rams may hold of the Vikings, though, is the fact that Minnesota has been without star wide receiver Adam Thielen for the last several weeks. With Thielen banged up and remaining on the sideline, the Vikings might be in trouble when it comes time to play some serious contenders in the NFC. However, on the other hand, perhaps Minnesota knows precisely what it is doing when it comes to Thielen’s health as the veteran pass-catcher could return to form when the Packers come to town in a few weeks. If the Vikings are indeed saving Thielen for the latter portion of the regular season and beyond, then Minnesota has put together a perfect plan as the NFC North franchise has won just about every game that it was supposed to down the stretch.
It simply might just bee too little too late for the Rams, who represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season. With the Rams coming up short against the New England Patriots by the score of 13-3, it is more than likely that another team from the NFC will be headed to this year’s installment of the NFL’s championship.
Because the Vikings have been better throughout the 2019-20 regular season with the Rams just recently coming back to life, Minnesota is currently the more dangerous team of the two, with only three weeks remaining on the schedule before playoff time arrives.