Opinion corner: Down to the wire for VikingsThe last week of the regular season is all about the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Anyone with the slightest chance of reaching the playoffs is automatically a “have” while the rest are “have-nots.”
By: Chris Aarhus For The Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The last week of the regular season is all about the “haves” and the “have-nots.”
Anyone with the slightest chance of reaching the playoffs is automatically a “have” while the rest are “have-nots.”
Don’t look now, but the Vikings are “haves” and largely because of Adrian Peterson.
People are talking about him rushing for more than 200 yards and possibly breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, to which Dickerson publicly stated that he’s against anyone breaking his record. Not unheard of for Hall of Famers who view a record as remaining relevant in modern society.
But what people are overlooking is the fact that Peterson still needs 102 yards to reach 2,000. Sure, he lit up the Packers for 210 yards last time out, and Green Bay is averaging 112 yards allowed on the ground.
However, don’t be surprised if the Packers put nine in the box and make Christian Ponder beat them, much like the Houston Texans did. That 102 yards is not a given, and if he doesn’t get 2,000 yards, he won’t have much of a chance at NFL MVP honors.
Keep in mind, Vikings fans, that you don’t need a win to reach the playoffs. If Washington beats Dallas, Detroit beats Chicago and Philadelphia beats the New York Giants (the latter being the toughest), Minnesota can still get in.
It’s improbable, but it’s not impossible.
N.Y. Jets (6-9) at Buffalo (5-10): The Jets are a mess at quarterback, but Buffalo can’t seem to win a game. Jets 16, Bills 13
Carolina (6-9) at New Orleans (7-8): Don’t look now, but the Panthers have won three in a row. Panthers 38, Saints 34
Tampa Bay (6-9) at Atlanta (13-2): Atlanta’s pretty stout at home (7-0), but will they rest their starters? Bucs 27, Falcons 23
Chicago (9-6) at Detroit (4-11): The Bears haven’t played sound football in a while. This game is closer to a toss-up than most people realize. Lions 31, Bears 27
Philadelphia (4-11) at N.Y. Giants (8-7): As much as my Vikings need Philly to win this game, they won’t. They’re just too terrible. Giants 27, Eagles 17
Jacksonville (2-13) at Tennessee (5-10): The definition of “have-nots.” Titans 13, Jaguars 10
Houston (12-3) at Indianapolis (10-5): The Texans have been pretty solid in their division. Texans 24, Colts 20
Cleveland (5-10) at Pittsburgh (7-8): Avoiding a losing record would be a saving grace to Steelers fans, most of whom are ready for next year. Steelers 23, Browns 10
Baltimore (10-5) at Cincinnati (9-6): The Bengals wrapped up consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 30 years. They can’t win the division, but they’ll fight for this one. Bengals 30, Ravens 27
Arizona (5-10) at San Francisco (10-4-1): Anyone hoping for a 49ers loss (Seattle) could be out of luck. 49ers 24, Cardinals 3
Oakland (4-11) at San Diego (6-9): How do Chargers GM A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner still have jobs? They may not after this week, even with a win. Chargers 27, Raiders 17
Kansas City (2-13) at Denver (12-3): The Broncos continue to roll and QB Peyton Manning doesn’t seem fazed by any team in the league. Broncos 31, Chiefs 13
Green Bay (11-4) at Minnesota (9-6): The Packers have won four in a row, but the Vikings have won three. It should be close, but Aaron Rodgers will find a way. Packers 27, Vikings 24
Miami (7-8) at New England (11-4): It’s these kinds of games the Patriots tend to choke away. Dolphins 21, Patriots 20
St. Louis (7-7-1) at Seattle (10-5): As good as their defense is, the Seahawks have scored 150 points in their last three games. The Rams are playing for a winning record, something they’ve publicly said they take pride in. Seahawks 30, Rams 20
Dallas (8-7) at Washington (9-6): Dallas is playing well, but Washington has the feel of a division champion. Plus, the Redskins are at home. Redskins 31, Cowboys 28
Last week: 11-5
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com