Skip to main content

Wins by Philly, Washington complicate Vikings' chances to clinch a playoff spot

It's a giant mess with just two weeks to go.

The Vikings did what they needed to do with a blowout win over the Dolphins on Sunday, but their playoff hopes are no clearer thanks to the Redskins and Eagles pulling off big road upsets. 

Washington was an 8 1/2-point underdog at Jacksonville before leaving with a 16-13 win, doing so behind quarterback Josh Johnson, who made his first start in the NFL in eight years. 

Then on Sunday night, the Eagles turned to backup quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and went from being 9 1/2-point underdogs to 30-23 winners over the Rams.

Chicago, meanwhile, eliminated the Packers from playoff contention and clinched the NFC North, leaving the Vikings fighting for one of two wild cards. The Seahawks also lost, so the wild-card picture is jam packed with only two weeks to go. 

Carolina can make the race even more complicated if they beat the Saints at home on Monday Night Football

NFC Wild Card:

  1. Seahawks (8-6)
  2. Vikings (7-6-1)
  3. Eagles (7-7)
  4. Redskins (7-7)
  5. Panthers (6-7)

If the playoffs started this week, the Seahawks and Vikings would be in as wild cards. 

So what's the fastest route the Vikings can take to clinching a playoff berth now? It's simple: win at Detroit this week and have the Eagles and Redskins (and the Panthers if the Panthers win tonight), lose. 

Week 16 key games: 

  • Redskins at Titans - 3:30 p.m. Saturday
  • Vikings at Lions - 12 p.m. Sunday
  • Texans at Eagles - 12 p.m. Sunday
  • Falcons at Panthers - 12 p.m. Sunday

Fortunately for the Vikings, the Lions are reeling while the Eagles face a Texans team fighting for a first-round bye in the AFC, and the Redskins hit the road to play a Titans team still trying to make the playoffs. The Panthers will be favored against Atlanta, but that game matters way less if they lose tonight to the Saints. 

Clinching scenario Week 16 if Carolina beats the Saints tonight: 

  • Vikings win + Eagles, Redskins, Panthers losses.

Clinching scenario Week 16 if Carolina loses to the Saints tonight: 

  • Vikings win + Eagles loss + Redskins loss.
  • Vikings win + Eagles tie + Redskins loss.
  • Vikings win + Eagles tie + Redskins tie.

Minnesota can still jump up and grab the top wild card spot, but that would require winning out against the Lions and Bears and the Seahawks losing one of their remaining two homes games to the Chiefs and Cardinals. 

Follow Bring Me The Sports on Facebook

We're not even going to consider the range of possibilities if the Vikings lose to the Lions. Let's just hope that doesn't happen. 

But what about the NFC East complicating things?

Because Dallas got shutout by the Colts 23-0, the Eagles and Redskins still have a chance to win the NFC East. But all the Cowboys have to do to clinch the division is get to nine wins, which they can do with a win over Tampa Bay at home this week or at the Giants in Week 17. 

The Vikings likely want the Cowboys to win the NFC East and stay out of the messy wild-card picture. 

A tiebreaker involving the Vikings is unlikely because the Vikings have a tie in their record, but if it were to happen the Vikings own a win over the Eagles and currently have a higher conference winning percentage than the Eagles, Redskins and Panthers.  

What if it comes down to the final week?

If it comes down to the final week of the season, here's what each team has on the schedule:

  • Bears at Vikings - 12 p.m.
  • Panthers at Saints - 12 p.m.
  • Eagles at Redskins - 12 p.m.

There's a chance that the Vikings could be 8-6-1 while the Eagles, Redskins and Panthers are all 8-7 entering Week 17. If that happens, the Eagles-Redskins game almost guarantees (barring a tie) one of them finishing 9-7, meaning Minnesota would absolutely have to beat the Bears to clinch with a final record of 9-6-1.

What's frustrating about that is that the Bears could easily still be playing for a first-round bye, meaning the Vikings would have to beat arguably the best defense in the NFL to make the playoffs. 

Next Up

ambulance

Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.

ShutterflyGoogle

Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.

Related

Vikes' playoff chances rise as Carolina, Philly, Washington all lose

Minnesota can really do some damage in the playoff race with a win Monday night.

The fastest route Vikings can take to clinching a playoff spot

It can't happen this week, but it could as early as Week 16.

No playoffs yet as Eagles stun Texans to spoil Vikings' win

An insane end to the Eagles-Texans kept kept the Vikings from clinching.

How the Vikings clinch a playoff spot and teams they could face

Maybe the Bears will pull their key players during the game?

Peterson would love to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs

It's possible that Minnesota and Washington meet in the postseason.

Washington loss adds clarity to Vikings' clinching scenarios

Beat Detroit and get the Texans to top the Eagles and the Vikes are in.