Minnesota Vikings: Breaking down the second half schedule

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: Everson Griffen
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: Everson Griffen /

The Minnesota Vikings are in prime position to win their second NFC North title in three years, but they face a challenging second half that will make the task extra difficult.

With the Minnesota Vikings sitting at 6-2 at the halfway point of the season, they seem primed to win the NFC North and make it back to the postseason. However, their second half schedule contains many teams vying for a playoff spot and only three more home games. In this article, we’ll go through each game and predict the outcome of each one.

11/12 @ Washington Redskins

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, this game is a virtual toss up. Coming off the bye week and hopefully getting some players back from injury, the Vikings should be expected to win this game. They have the superior team and will be motivated to avenge their loss at Washington last year. Another thing to look out for is the potential return of Teddy Bridgewater.

Prediction: Vikings win 23-17

11/19 vs. Los Angeles Rams

At the beginning of the year, many fans would have seen this game as a cakewalk. The Rams hired a new, young coach and had a rookie quarterback who struggled mightily. The Rams have surprised many though, and currently have a 6-2 record with Jared Goff playing well. This is a game that should worry Vikings fans, especially if they lose the Washington game. I still expect the Vikings to win, as Goff struggled against Seattle and Jacksonville, two top defenses in the NFL. Mike Zimmer will be able to rattle Goff and get Minnesota to 8-2.

Prediction: Vikings win 24-13

11/23 @ Detroit Lions

This Thanksgiving day matchup is a big one, as a Vikings win would help even the season series against the Lions. This Lions team is much different than the one they played back in Week 4, as Matthew Stafford is slightly hobbled and they haven’t been able to keep up their early season success. For this reason, I would expect the Vikings to play well and escape Detroit with a win. The Vikings also can’t lose four in a row to Detroit, right?

Prediction: Vikings win 20-10

12/3 @ Atlanta Falcons

Although the Falcons aren’t the same team that was in excellent position to win last year’s Super Bowl, they still have a lot of firepower on offense and a good defense. I expect the Falcons to get back on track before this game and get a win against the Vikings, ending their long winning streak.

Prediction: Vikings lose 13-23

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12/10 @ Carolina Panthers

One of the biggest wins of last year was when the Vikings went to Carolina and thoroughly beat up the Panthers, sacking Cam Newton eight times. However, this Panthers team is much better than last year’s team. This would be a great win, but the Vikings will end their three game road trip with a loss against a good Carolina team.

Prediction: Vikings lose 17-20

12/17 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Minnesota returns home and faces a Cincinnati team that has struggled on offense. They’ve been unable to get back to the success that made them a playoff team for so long. The Bengals may not have much to play for at this point, so this should be an easy home victory.

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Prediction: Vikings win 27-6

12/23 @ Green Bay Packers

If the Vikings falter at all or the Packers are able to generate a couple victories with Brett Hundley, this could have huge divisional implications. Aaron Rodgers could be back by this game and will have a huge chip on his broken shoulder. If Rodgers doesn’t play, there is no reason Minnesota shouldn’t win this game. I do believe Rodgers will play in this game, which will propel them to a late season victory over the Vikes.

Prediction: Vikings lose 20-23

12/31 vs. Chicago Bears

The Vikings return home for Week 17 and will hopefully be able to use this game as a tune-up for the playoffs. The Bears will likely be out of the playoff picture by this time, so they should be able to win this game.

Prediction: Vikings win 24-10

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If these predictions hold true, that would give the Vikings an 11-5 record. That should be more than enough to win the division, as I would expect the both the Lions and Packers to finish at 9-7 and the Bears to finish last at 5-11. After learning from last year’s mistakes, the Vikings should capture the NFC North championship and give themselves a chance to play in Minneapolis come February.