Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Killing Time: From 0-2 to the Playoffs

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Vikings only have an 11.4% chance of making the playoffs after losing their first two games. They've dug themselves a hole that only 27 teams have pulled themselves out of since the advent of the 16 game schedule, and only three teams have gotten out of an 0-2 hole in the last five years. So what did last year's Super Bowl Champions, the 2006 Chiefs and the 2003 Eagles all have in common?

They all won their next two games to get back to .500. It didn't hurt that only the Giants had to beat a team that made the playoffs that year in order to win two straight, but none of the three teams had an easy next two games, as all but the Chiefs faced teams that finished around .500.

The Giants ripped off six straight wins after their 0-2 start, but the Chiefs and Eagles both lost their fifth game to fall to 2-3 and still rebounded. Despite that loss, the Eagles still managed to win 12 games in 2003, while the Chiefs ended up at an uninspiring 9-7.

Which means that Sunday's game against the Panthers and the following game against the Saints are pretty much must wins. A loss against the Panthers would drop the Vikings' playoffs odds to 3.4% and pretty much end any hope of the Purple making the playoffs.

I'm not the only one that's thinking like this either--the Pioneer Press has a comparison of the Vikings and last year's Giants.

Links:
The loss of Bryant McKinnie for the first four games has emphasized the ideas in Michael Lewis' "The Blind Side". Advanced NFL Stats and Sabermetric Research both have pieces on the underlying idea behind the book--that the Left Tackle is the second most important position on the offense.

Defensive Indifference on Brad Childress' play calling.

Vikings' Now on Tarvaris' Red Zone issues.

Daily Norseman on why the Vikings' won't be trading for Jeff Garcia.

Terrell Owens passed Chris Carter for second on the all time touchdown list on Monday Night. I can't say I'm particular happy to see Carter passed by Owens, even if I don't hate Owens in the way a lot of folks do. What I was really unhappy about was the fact that Owens managed to close 20 points of a 34 point lead I had in fantasy football in the first half of the game. That second half was pure torture after what I thought had been an easy win.

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