After a big win in week 11, it is time to highlight the importance of the Thanksgiving day game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
The Minnesota Vikings sit atop the NFC North along with the Detroit Lions, both at 6-4. The only thing separating the two teams right now is the Lions’ victory over the Vikings on November 6. This Thanksgiving day game is extremely important for the playoff race, even though it is just week 12.
The Vikings got a must-win in week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals and placed themselves firmly back into the playoff race. They cannot stop there though. With a short week ahead, the Vikes may be facing their most important game of the season thus far.
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As it is a Thanksgiving tradition, the Detroit Lions will play at home on Turkey Day. This time, though, it will be for more than just entertainment purposes as the two teams will battle for the top spot in the NFC North.
What happens if the Vikings lose?
Obviously, falling to 6-5 would significantly hurt Minnesota’s playoff chances, meaning the Vikings would most likely need to win 4 out of our last 5 games to make the playoffs. But that is not the only thing at stake on Turkey Day.
Losing to the Lions again would mean we would be one game out of first place in the NFC North. Not only that, but Minnesota would lose all chances of winning a tie-breaker with Detroit since the Vikings would be 0-2 against them this year.
Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) celebrates his interception with safety Jayron Kearse (27) during the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
With everyone in the NFC East playing so well, it would also hurt the team’s Wild Card chances badly. Falling to 6-5 would put Minnesota even farther behind the Giants and Redskins, who are in the Wild Card positions currently. The Giants sit at 7-3 and the Redskins at 6-3-1.
Finally, another loss to Detroit would be a huge blow for the Vikes’ confidence. Ending a 4-game losing streak then losing just 4 days later would be devastating. With the Cowboys coming to town in week 13, confidence is key going forward.
What happens if the Vikings win?
A win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving day would set Minnesota firmly into the playoff picture. Not only would the Vikings be a game up in the division, the team would also set ourselves up nicely in the Wild Card picture.
If the Vikings pull out a victory on Thursday, not only will the team have a one game lead in the NFC North, Minnesota will have split the season series with the Lions. This means if the season ends in a tie atop the division, the winner would depend on each teams’ divisional record. A win would put the Vikings at 2-2 in the division, and the Lions at 1-3.
The Wild Card race will likely be between the NFC East and everyone else. A win against the Lions would put Minnesota at 7-4, placing the Vikings above the Washington Redskins assuming they lose on Thanksgiving day to the Cowboys. This would put Minnesota at the #2 Wild Card position just in case the team doesn’t win the division.
Again, it comes down to confidence. The Vikings play the Cowboys at home on December 1st, and being on a 2-game winning streak heading into that game could give the Vikes the confidence to beat the best team in the NFL.
In conclusion, the Thanksgiving day game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions is HUGE. A loss here would put Minnesota on the ropes for losing control of the season, while a win would put the Vikings nicely into the playoff picture. Bring the A-game boys, and get a win on Thanksgiving!