E Point Perfect

Why the Vikings Must Beat the Jets


Why the Vikings Must Beat the Jets
Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

Aside from the typical negative connotation of losing to “the Jets,” the Minnesota Vikings must take care of business in Week 13 for two other reasons.

The Vikings are 9-2 through 12 weeks, gripping the No.2 seed in the NFC’s playoff picture, while the Jets hold a 7-4 record, needing to stave off the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers for a sixth- or seventh-seed in the AFC tournament.

Losing to recently-anointed QB1 Mike White is its own ball of wax, but Minnesota needs to topple New York for two vital reasons.

Quest for the #1 Seed

The Most Important Aspect of Vikings Win over Cardinals
Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Listen, the Vikings have a puncher’s chance at the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC’s postseason. Plain and simple. That’s the perk of a 9-2 record after 11 games.

Of course, the cruel beatdown courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys nearly ruined the Vikings aspirations, but the Philadelphia Eagles loss to the Washington Commanders a couple of weeks ago kept the heartbeat faint.

Here’s the deal, mathematically per FiveThirtyEight, regarding Minnesota’s quest for the #1 seed:

Vikings Quest for #1 Seed in NFC,

Current = 17%

Win over NYJ = 20%
Loss to NYJ = 6%

MIN Win/PHI Loss = 34%
MIN Win/PHI Win = 14%

MIN Loss/PHI Loss = 9%
MIN Loss/PHI Win = 2%

Therefore, a loss to the Jets all but cancels fantasies of homefield throughout the playoff for the Vikings.

The 49ers Footsteps

PurplePTSD: Former Viking in SF, Peterson Staying Put, Josh Allen's status
October 23, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Detail view of the helmet for San Francisco 49ers helmet. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

The San Franciso 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey a few weeks ago, employ an ultra-talented roster, and are now everyone’s fashionable pick for flying-under-the-radar best team in the league.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is two games back of the Vikings via wins and losses. The 49ers are 7-4, afflicted by their typical early-season woes that are wildly common under head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ultimately, the 49ers usually “figure it out” around this time on the calendar, get hot, and cruise to the NFC Championship.

Because of that, Minnesota likely wants no business in meeting the 49ers in the postseason — especially at their house in Santa Clara.

If the Vikings are to defeat the 49ers sometime in the postseason, it might almost have to be at U.S. Bank Stadium — if you, the fan, buy into the Vikings historical road-playoff-game demons. Facing San Francisco in the glass palace is significantly more favorable in January than Levi Stadium.

Ergo, if Minnesota goofs around and loses to Mike White’s buddies, the 49ers footsteps turn into exhaling breaths down the collar. The 49ers don’t have an easy schedule, but if they win nevertheless in the next few weeks, they can reasonably catch the Vikings for the No. 2 seed.

The Vikings do not want that to happen.

Winning over the Jets — who boast the world’s fourth-best defense per DVOA — is vital because it would maintain a junior stranglehold on the #2 seed. And don’t look now, but if the No. 1-seeded Eagles drop a game in the Divisional Round of the postseason, then the rest of the NFC playoffs would require stops in Minneapolis.

Dreams of homefield advantage are on the line against the Jets — and so is the second seed.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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