Super Bowl set, Wild drop two

Marc Elliott

Kirill Kaprizov had six SOG in a 3-0 loss to the STL Blues Sunday night.

FOND du LAC – It is Sunday night, and the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are doing battle at this very moment.
If the Packers win they will get the final Wild Card Playoff invite in the NFC. If they lose or if the game ends in a tie, the Seattle Seahawks will be in.
It is currently 16-13 late in the 3rd quarter for the Pack. The Lions have already been eliminated from playoff contention.
As expected, the Minnesota Vikings went to the Windy City today and put an end to the Chicago Bears season-long misery with a 29-13 win against the one-time Monsters of the Midway.
If there is a consolation prize for the taking, it’s that the Bears will have the first overall selection in the NFL 2023 Entry Draft.
The Purple played today with a patched-up roster and took players out when they could as the game progressed. It was hard to tell if the Bears were putting up any actual resistance to the Vikes, and in the end it was a nondescript contest from start to finish.
The AFC side of the tourney is settled and will unfold like this: KC (#1) had the best overall record (14-3) and will get the Wild Card weekend bye.
BUF (#2 seed) will meet MIA. (#7) CIN (#3) will face BAL. (#6) And JAX (#4) will matchup with the LAC. (#5)
Are there any favorites here in this bracket?
I believe the Chiefs, Bengals and Bills likely have the best chance to go for the conference title. Are any one of them a lock? I don’t think so. I haven’t seen a team this season that I think of as unbeatable, or as an elite club.
Analysts have touted the Bills as the team that will win the AFC this season, but I don’t see that as a sure thing. Vegas oddsmakers have favored the Bills, Bengals and Chargers as the teams in the AFC who will emerge from next weekend’s games.
That would set up games between KC and the LAC, and then BUF versus CIN. Considering the cardiac event that happened in the Bills-Bengals MNF game just a few days past, this could shape up to be the biggest game of the playoffs.
If you are an NFL fan, I don’t have to go into detail about what happened and the player involved, but let’s say that I’m happy to report that the player in question, Damar Hamlin, is out of the ICU, had his intubation removed and continues to improve every day.
When the medical personnel on the field began to perform CPR on Hamlin, all bets were off. It was not a pleasant or positive scene. The game was called for the night and eventually canceled by the league. Considering what he went through, that is a minor miracle and great news.
Back to the tourney. We know from history that you can do all of the predicting you want. No playoff ever goes as expected. So, as far as the AFC bracket goes, someone that is expected to win in the Wild Card round will not. Just WHO will that be?
UPDATE; the Lions have defeated the Pack at Lambeau Field by a 20-16 final, so the Seahawks are in and the Pack is not.
The final quarter of this game was, and I really am searching for a descriptive term that fits here, exciting? Plenty of penalties, a crucial ejection and perhaps the end of the career of one of the best QBs to ever play the game are only a few of the highlights.
Aaron Rodgers had a tough go of it in this tilt and took a semi-beating on top of it. I can’t help but wonder if this is the end of the road for one of the all-time greats and a surefire first-ballot FHOFer.
The NFC Wild Card bracket sets up like this; PHI (#1) will get the bye here. SF (#2) will face SEA. (#7) MIN (#3) will meet with the NYG. (#6) And TB (#4) will face DAL. (#5).
Again, I have my thoughts on this, but I will defer to the oddsmakers for a moment. They favor the Vikes, Cowboys and San Fran to advance.
For the following weekend that would set up games between the Eagles and Cowboys, and San Fran versus the Vikings. I can tell you the Eagles and San Fran would be the Vegas favorites without a doubt.
What do I think the Purple’s chances are?
Oh boy. Well, I listened to the alleged “experts” diminish the Vikes every week while watching them amass a 13-4 record. So there is that. They must have something going for them.
At this time though, they aren’t a fully healthy team, they may not possess the depth to overcome the injuries and whatnot they are dealing with from a position-to-position standpoint.
And I’ve had to honestly conclude that even though they have the 8th-best scoring offense in the league, the defense sits at 31st in yards given up per game. You’ve got a big-time offense coupled with a swiss cheese defense. That isn’t a good recipe when the playoffs commence.
But somehow the Vikes have made it work. Sure, there isn’t a Vikes fan anywhere with any fingernails left or sanity after this regular season ended, but it’s been like this since about 1961. And I regret to say that I don’t have a great feeling about the upcoming Giants tilt.
But I also have until 3:30 pm next Sunday to load up on aspirin and Pepto. I’ll be ready, and I trust the Vikings will be too.
IT WAS A STRANGE week just ended for the Minnesota Wild. The team went 1-1-0-1. They beat the TBL by a 5-1 final in St. Paul, then traveled to BUF to take on the Sabres, losing in OT, 6-5.
And just this evening they faced off with the STL Blues and dropped a 3-0 tilt. The score wasn’t indicative of the game but goes down as a loss nonetheless.
I don’t know if I can decipher this week properly. For some reason, the Wild play well against the Bolts and have won 7 of 9 games over the past 5 seasons.
The BUF game wasn’t a great look at the club’s shutdown game, and the Wild actually had a 5-4 lead late in the game, only to allow the Sabres to tie before losing in the extra frame.
Today probably wasn’t an accurate view of how close this game was or of how the Wild absolutely dominated the third period, but could not dent Thomas Greiss. They outshot the Blues 24-3 but came away empty.
For the upcoming week, they will meet the NYR in MSG, and then face the NYI before coming home to meet the ARI Coyotes on Saturday night.
The club is currently in 3rd place in the Central and in 6th position of 8 for a Western Conference playoff spot in Lord Stanley’s tourney.
There isn’t much separation occurring in the standings yet, so any team with playoff hopes needs to keep the pedal to the metal, including the Wild. PEACE