Minnesota Vikings may not be the one seed, but they are the best team in the NFC

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: Case Keenum
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: Case Keenum /

The Philadelphia Eagles may boast a better record and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but the Minnesota Vikings are still the best team in the NFC.

Heading into the Week 17 matchup at home against the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings stand as the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture. And, in all likelihood, that’s where they are going to remain.

With the Philadelphia Eagles winning 19-10 over the Oakland Raiders last week, they sealed up the No. 1 seed, meaning the Vikings can only fall down the standings. Although, that’s a long shot, considering all that would have to happen for Minnesota to lose the two seed in Week 17. In particular, the Carolina Panthers would have to win a division battle with the Atlanta Falcons AND have the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams lose their respective matchups. Not to mention, Minnesota would have to lose to the lowly Chicago Bears, which is a long-shot in itself, especially at U.S. Bank Stadium.

As a result, the Vikings should seal up the No. 2 seed on Sunday and guarantee themselves a home game in the NFC Divisional Round. From there, the only guaranteed home game is in the Super Bowl, even though that wouldn’t be treated as one for the Vikings.

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While the Eagles deserve home-field advantage throughout the playoffs given their spectacular year, it’s clear they aren’t the same team they were a couple of weeks ago. Of course, the loss of starting quarterback and MVP-candidate Carson Wentz has much to do with that. Yet, a once strong Eagles defense has also shown weaknesses in recent weeks against the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, allowing a total of 64 points. Yes, they shut down the Raiders offense to 10 points last week, but Oakland also did their part in throwing the game away.

Knowing this, Minnesota is sitting favorably, even as the No. 2 seed in NFC. Sure, there’s a chance they’d have to go on the road to play the Eagles in the playoffs, but there’s also a good chance Philadelphia loses their NFC Divisional Round matchup to a team like the Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints. Overall, this is one of the deeper NFC playoff classes in recent memory and given the current state of the Eagles, it’s easy to see another team winning rather handily against them in Philadelphia. In result, the NFC Championship Game could come to Minneapolis.

Even so, the Vikings have to handle business themselves. I mean, no playoff matchup is a given for them either, but admittedly, it’s harder to see them losing than the Eagles. Simply put, the Minnesota defense is playing on a different level than anyone else in the league and the Vikings offense has followed suit. Essentially, they look like the team to beat in the NFC.

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On the surface, it’d seem like there shouldn’t be much of a difference between the Eagles and Vikings considering they are both headed by backup quarterbacks. Yet, Case Keenum just hasn’t played like a backup quarterback. In fact, he’s run the offense at such a high level that some have him as a serious MVP candidate. On the other hand, Nick Foles has had glimpses of brilliance in his NFL career, but he’s also shown great inconsistency in his short time as the Eagles quarterback. Not to mention, he looked downright awful against the Raiders last Monday.

The Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers are also dangerous playoff teams, but Minnesota has taken out two of them already. While the Vikings lost 31-24 to the Panthers in Week 14, it’s fair to point out the Vikings didn’t play their best football. Additionally, if Minnesota hosted Carolina in the playoffs, I wouldn’t hesitate to give Minnesota the advantage.

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Bottomline, the Eagles may be the better team on the standings sheet, but on the field, the Vikings are undoubtedly the NFC’s best team. They don’t only have the top defense in the league, but a top-10 offense, making them arguably the most balanced team in the NFL. If both sides of the ball continue to play at a high level, this team could bring Minnesota their first Super Bowl appearance since 1976, hopefully resulting in their first Super Bowl win.