Are the Vikings going to get the help they need to make the playoffs? Well, kind of. So, without further ado, my picks for the games that matter to Vikings' fans (Home team in Bold and the team the Vikings want to win is first).
Tampa v. Atlanta:
I'm picking the Bucs to win this one. They're at home, and they own the Falcons (6-2 under Jon Gruden) and Mike Vick. Also, the Falcons are reeling, having lost 4 of the 6 games since they dropped their game against the Packers in Atlanta. Their two wins are against the Lions and Saints. And the Falcons have had problems against the run, giving up an average of 114 yards a game in their last six games (and if you take out the Lions game, they've given up an average of 122 yards a game). The Bucs strength is their running game. Odds are Cadillac Williams is going to have a big day. And so should the Bucs, which will help the Vikings out by adding one more loss to the Falcons' record.
NY Giants v. Washington:
Despite the fact the Racists are at home, I think that the Giants are going to win. They slaughtered the Racists earlier this season and they are playing for the Division title. If they win, they clinch. The Racists reentered the playoff picture by winning two games against crappy teams prior to demolishing the Cowboys, the first team with a winning record they've beaten since the Seahawks in Week 4. The Giants, however, have won 7 of their last 9, and their two losses have both been flukes: the loss to the Vikings and a loss to the Seahawks, where their kicker missed three game winning kicks. The Giants might be the best team in the NFC and I just can't see them dropping a division clinching game, unless something crazy happens. And that's good for the Vikings.
Carolina v. Dallas:
The Cowboys are reeling. They just lost a must win game to their rivals, the Racists and it wasn't even close. Now, they are on the road in another must win game. And once again, their opponent is equally as motivated, since the Panthers can pretty much put away the division with a victory. Most teams would roll over in this one. The Cowboys, however, have one of the best coaches in the NFL. Bill Parcells will have them ready to play. The head coach they will be facing, however, is no Tice either and that's why I'm picking John Fox's Panthers to win--they are more talented then the Cowboys and just as well coached. So the Panthers' should atone for taking Daunte away by beating the Cowboys.
Green Bay v. Chicago:
Some might see one last opportunity for Brett Farve to work his magic. Those people, however, are stupid and have bought into the "Farve as God" crap that almost every announcer still pushes. Since I've managed to avoid falling into that trap, I'm able to look at this game much more clearly. And I see the Bears chasing Farve around the field, forcing him into poor decisions and walking away with a victory. Also, as a rule, I never pick a team that just lost their last game 48-3, like the Packers did to the Ravens. A victory on Sunday clinches the division for the Bears and the Packers have Q-U-I-T, which adds up to the Vikings having to settle for the last Wild Card spot, if they are able to make the playoffs at all.
So, in conclusion, the Bears will win, and by doing so clinch the NFC North. The Vikings, however, will still be playing a meaningful game on New Year's Day, since their competition for the last Wild Card spots will all lose on Saturday, leaving them a game up if they beat the Ravens, or if they drop the game, they'll still be tied.