Its pretty obvious that Sunday's home opener against Indianapolis is a big game. Aside from the numerous players that need to rebound after a poor first game (paging Mr. Allen, paging Mr. Allen), the difference between 1-1 and 0-2 is a big one (not to mention the fact that Green Bay gets Detroit on Sunday, which means they're likely to be 2-0). OK--stop looking at me like I'm a bit slow. I know its obvious that 1-1 is better than 0-2. I know you know that too. What you probably don't know is how big a difference it makes in the odds the Vikings will make the playoffs. The folks at Football Outsiders know, and they calculated the odds of a team making the playoffs at various points in the season in the most recent Pro Football Prospectus (Have I mentioned that I love that book? You really should go buy it if you haven't already). They did so by looking at how where each team from 1978-2007 (excluding 1993 and its 18 week season) was after each game and calculating the percentage of teams at 1-0, 2-3, 9-6, etc that made the playoffs.
It's by no means definitive, but it gives a good sense of how important each game is. And let me tell you-this upcoming game is important. The difference between the playoff odds of an 1-1 team and a 0-2 team is one of the larger gaps created by a one game swing. At 0-1, the Vikings current have a 24.7% chance of making the playoffs. If they win, their chances increase to 41.0%. If the lose, their chances fall to 11.4%. That's a 30% swing and a loss would leave the Purple in a hole that it would take the Vikings three straight wins to dig themselves out of and get back to having a 50% chance of making the playoffs. So while Sunday's game won't necessarily make or break the Purple's season, a loss would put them in a hole that it will be very hard to dig their way out of.
More From Monday Night
Defensive Indifference, Luft's Locker Room, Skol Vikes and Andrew Sundquist from Pro Football Talk all have recaps of Monday Night's game.
Advanced Football Stats looks at Brad Childress' decision to go for two.
Football Outsiders has their Week 1 DVOA ratings up. Unsurprisingly, the Vikings are 22nd overall in VOA. Their DAVE rating, which is much better at predicting order of finish, is 5th though, and they were one of only two top 15 teams in DAVE that had to play a top 5 team last week (Green Bay is currently 2nd).
Shutdown Corner on the Aaron Rodgers' Bandwagon.
Smarter Stats, a new blog from the Washington Post, on the best statistic to rank pass rushers by. In case you were wondering, he had Jared Allen with sixth most sacks, hurries and knockdowns, despite his missing two games last year. Which means that, despite his missing the first game this year, he can still be one of the top pass rushers statistically again in 2008.
Finally, Cold Hard Football Facts on Tony Kornheiser and the Big Lead on the entire broadcast. The consensus? It was bad, real bad.