Ten of 12 playoff spots now clinched!
It’s been another lost season for the 6-9 Minnesota Vikings, who have broken many hearts over and over with their inability to consistently finish games. Sunday in Miami, the Vikings did it again on the road — start fast, jump out to a 14-0 lead, and find a way to lose again by two points, this time 37-35 to the Miami Dolphins.
Last week it was 16-14 at Detroit. It was Bud Grant who said many years ago, when he was head coach, good teams win close games and bad teams lose close games.
he Vikings finish year one of the Mike Zimmer era Sunday at TCF Stadium against the 5-10 Chicago Bears. Sunday’s loser clinches last place — both the Vikings and Bears are well south of the 2015 playoffs.
However, with this the last week of the regular season, 10 of the 12 playoff spots have been locked up. In the NFC, Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay, Dallas and Detroit have all clinched playoff spots. Can you say “balance”? All five teams have identical 11-4 records.
The sixth and final NFC playoff spot will be decided embarrassingly by 6-8-1 Carolina vs. 6-9 Atlanta Sunday. The winner wins the NFC South and secures the final playoff spot. And believe it will host a playoff game the following weekend.
The AFC playoff picture, like the NFC’s, has one spot to be filled. 12-3 New England, 11-4 Denver, 10-5 Indianapolis, 10-4-1 Cincinnati and 10-5 Pittsburgh have all clinched. San Diego and Baltimore, both 9-6, and 8-7 Houston are fighting for one spot.
The Bengals clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight season for Marvin Lewis 37-28 over defending AFC Champion Denver Monday night. The Bengals travel to Pittsburgh Sunday. The winner wins the AFC North and the loser is a Wild Card.
The Packers host the Detroit Lions Sunday; both teams are 11-4. The winner wins the NFC North title and the loser is a Wild Card. The Lions have not won at Green Bay since 1991!
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.