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NFL Playoff Picture: Vikings On The Outside Looking In

Yes, it's pretty obvious at this point that the Minnesota Vikings are WAY on the outside of the NFL's playoff picture at this point, but there's still a chance that they could possibly sneak their way in. Yes, it's basically a one-in-a-million shot, but that's not impossible to overcome. . .just ask my friend Lloyd Christmas.

Any scenario that would get the Vikings into the post-season starts, first and foremost, with Minnesota winning their last four games, starting this evening with their road home game against the New York Giants. Then they have to defeat the Chicago Bears next Monday night, the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly the day after Christmas, and the Detroit Lions on the road just after New Year's. But even if all of those things come to fruition, it still might not be enough for what would then be a 9-7 Vikings team to find themselves in the post-season.

For a 9-7 Vikings team to find themselves in the 2010 NFL playoffs, ALL of the following things need to happen in addition to the Vikings winning out to make it happen:

-The Green Bay Packers must lose their remaining three games. . .at New England, at home against the Giants, and at home against Chicago. That would put the Packers at 8-8. The Packers beat the Vikings in any other scenario because of their sweep of the Vikings in the regular season.
-The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to lose two of their final three games. They host the Detroit Lions and the Seattle Seahawks before ending the season with a trip to New Orleans.
-They then need for either the Philadelphia Eagles to lose their remaining three games (at the Giants and home for the Dallas Cowboys with their home game against Minnesota sandwiched in-between) OR the New York Giants to lose to Philadelphia next week, beat Green Bay in Week 16, and lose to the Washington Redskins in their season finale.

But, as I said, it all starts with four consecutive Vikings victories, and that begins tonight in Detroit.

If the season ended today, the NFL playoff picture would look like this. . .only one team in the entire league has clinched a playoff spot at this point, that being the New England Patriots, but the Atlanta Falcons will clinch a spot tonight if the Vikings should knock off the Giants.

NFC Playoffs

First-round byes: Atlanta Falcons (#1 seed, NFC South winner), Chicago Bears #2 seed, NFC North winner)

New York Giants (#6 seed, wild card) at Philadelphia Eagles (#3 seed, NFC East winner)
New Orleans Saints (#5 seed, wild card) at St. Louis Rams (#4 seed, NFC West winner)

AFC Playoffs

First-round byes: New England Patriots (#1 seed, AFC East winner), Pittsburgh Steelers #2 seed, AFC North winner)

Baltimore Ravens (#6 seed, wild card) at Kansas City Chiefs (#3 seed, AFC West winner)
New York Jets (#5 seed, wild card) at Jacksonville Jaguars (#4 seed, AFC South winner)

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.