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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    Posted on Sun, Nov. 20, 2005
    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]


    [size=18px]Vikings face their fourth 'must win'[/size]


    The 2005 NFL season is barely past the midway point, and the Vikings have already played, by one modest count, three must-win games. The "must-win" phrase is typically reserved for games in December. But starting 0-2 and then going 1-4 certainly changes a team's perspective.

    With little margin for error, the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome, offsetting a 24-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season opener at home and their deficiencies on the road.

    Now, the Vikings face a fourth must-win game Monday night against the rival Packers at Lambeau Field.

    "This is big. It gives us a chance to get to .500," Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "If we lose this one, we're definitely going to be in trouble. You could say our schedule is in our favor, but we still have some tough games coming up. So I think this is a must win for us."

    Two games behind the Chicago Bears, the Vikings cannot count on finishing with a better record than Chicago, so they must excel in the NFC North. With a loss already to the Bears, the Vikings cannot afford any more division losses because that is the second tiebreaker, after head-to-head matchups. With four second- and third-place teams with winning records in the NFC, the Vikings cannot expect to get one of the two wild-card spots like they did last season.

    "We need to do well in the division because we don't have the best record," Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "We have to pretty much go out there and try to win the division so we can solidify our position to be in the playoffs."

    If necessary, the third tiebreaker is the won-loss-tied percentage against common opponents. Excluding the division, the Vikings and Bears play eight other common opponents. So far, the Bears are 2-2 in that regard, while the Vikings are 1-4. But the Vikings' remaining common opponents are the Cleveland Browns (3-6), the Baltimore Ravens (2-7) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2), while the Bears still have games against Buccaneers (6-3), the Carolina Panthers (7-2), the Atlanta Falcons (6-3) and the Steelers (7-2).

    The Vikings want to be proactive.

    "I don't know how the tiebreaker situation works," Winfield said. "But we can't afford to lose, especially in our division. We're fighting to catch Chicago, and they have a tough schedule. But we can't bank on that. We have to go out and do our part."

    Although the Vikings have won two consecutive games, McKinnie said they need to beat the Packers to have an official streak.

    "You need three in a row," McKinnie said.

    With a victory Monday, the Vikings can take comfort in a moderately challenging finish, with four of their final six games at home. That includes their two toughest games (against the St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers) at the Metrodome. The Vikings would also devastate the Packers' hopes, handing them a 2-8 record.

    The Bears, meanwhile, play host to the Panthers and the Falcons, and they are guests in hostile Tampa and Pittsburgh.

    Depending on what happens over the next five weeks, the Vikings and Bears could play a winner-take-all game in the season finale on New Year's Day at the Metrodome.

    But Vikings veteran running back Michael Bennett said he and his teammates cannot get ahead of themselves. For starters, as impressive as the Vikings' 24-21 upset of the New York Giants was, the Packers had an equally — if not even better — performance last Sunday.

    "They're coming off a big win against Atlanta, a team that beat us," Bennett said. "So the emotions are going to be high."

    Bennett pointed to history. While the Vikings have won two of their past three games at Lambeau Field, including the playoffs, they have not swept the Packers since 1998.

    If the Packers win, their final six games are not all that daunting. They will play the suddenly vulnerable Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 27, followed by two games against the Bears, one against the Lions and one in Baltimore. Their toughest remaining game, in fact, would be the season finale against the Seattle Seahawks. But the Seahawks are three games ahead of the Rams, and that game at Lambeau Field might not be all that important for them.

    What about the Lions?

    They still have games in Dallas (6-3), Green Bay and Pittsburgh, and they have difficult home games against the Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals.

    "It's definitely a big game for us," Bennett said. "You hate to say, 'This is like our Super Bowl.' But I'm chomping at the bit for Monday to get here."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    do we have any chanc of making the playoffs this year or it is out of reach?????????

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    I guarantee this: If we win tomorrow night, we will win the division this year!!
    A TRUE fan will always have faith, no matter what the odds. U GOTTA BELIEVE!!!

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    "harris58" wrote:
    do we have any chanc of making the playoffs this year or it is out of reach?????????
    We are only two games behind Chicago & there is 7 games left. Chicago has a harder schedule than us & we play them on the final game of the year.

    I think that game will decide the divisional winner.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    yeha there next few games are tough :shock: which is good for us :grin: i thnk tat we could make the playoffs if we win the division maybe a wildcard spot............

  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    I'm not sure we'll be able to get a wildcard spot. If we are to make the playoffs, we must win our division. If we win tomorrow, play smart, mistake-free football at home, and win games in Detroit (should be no problem) and Baltimore, we'll be in good shape.
    A TRUE fan will always have faith, no matter what the odds. U GOTTA BELIEVE!!!

  7. #7
    harris58's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    i think that if we do make the playoffs we will probably get a wildcard spot if we win the division

  8. #8
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    No way we get the wild card, NFC East and South have too many good teams. and then there is even SEA and STL in the west, it'll be close... ugh, any way you look at it, some good teams arn't going to make the playoffs...

  9. #9
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    Are there any games that are not "must win" in the nfl except in very late december and early Jan?

  10. #10
    C_MoneyVikesFan's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings face their fourth 'must win'

    Sorry harris, I misread your last post I guess. I meant that if we don't win the division, we have a slim chance at making the playoffs. Atlanta or NYG will most likely get the wildcard spot.
    A TRUE fan will always have faith, no matter what the odds. U GOTTA BELIEVE!!!

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