For the Vikings to reach the big game …
Last week, the request was for the Vikings to stay healthy. Not exactly an easy assignment in the NFL. This week, the task might be equally lofty. When it comes to interception percentages, Case Keenum needs to keep pace with a couple of future Hall of Famers named Tom Brady and Drew Brees. As a team, the Vikings rank third in lowest interception percentage (1.24). The Patriots are first (0.91), while the Saints are second (1.23).
Will Rodgers save the Packers?
Question: Will the Packers (6-6) make the playoffs? Currently, they’re ninth in the NFC. That means they have to leap Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina, which is No. 6 at 8-4. Also, the No. 3 Rams and No. 4 Saints become wild-card possibilities if they lose their division leads. The Packers play at Cleveland Sunday and should get Aaron Rodgers back a week later at Carolina. Answer: No. They need four wins and a lot of help.
Did you know?
The 1979 Los Angeles Rams (9-7) were the first team to reach the Super Bowl with a record of 9-7 or worse. They lost to the Steelers 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV.
Three up, three down
The Eagles are 10-2, but 1-2 against teams that now have a winning record. Other “down” teams: Panthers and Bills. On the flip side, the Ravens rose by showing some life offensively. Other “up” teams: Raiders and Cowboys.
Destination Minneapolis Week 14 forecast
Pittsburgh vs. Vikings
They hold the No. 1 seed in their respective divisions. Since their Week 2 meeting at Pittsburgh, they’re a combined 17-3. The Vikings have gone 9-1, losing only to Detroit at home. Meanwhile, the Steelers have gone 8-2, losing at Chicago and at home to Jacksonville. This would be a rematch of Super Bowl IX, which the Steelers won 16-6 on Jan. 12, 1975.
Why Pittsburgh (10-2)? A top-five scoring defense, savvy quarterback play and a reliable kicker give them an extra gear to survive sloppy games and advance.
Why Vikings (10-2)? They’re No. 1 in the league in third-down offense and third-down defense. Case Keenum secures the ball without playing tight, and the red-zone operation is crisp and efficient.
My preseason pick: Seattle (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (10-2). Seattle restored some order to CenturyLink Field by soundly snapping Philly’s nine-game winning streak last week. The Steelers played down to another bad team, but pulled off the comeback in Cincinnati.