The Vikings were helped by the Packers losing, but several other important NFC teams won. That leaves Minnesota needing to keep pace against a tough Jets team. See how they stack up in numerous statistical categories.
The NFC took an interesting turn over the weekend, as the Packers came back to earth and potentially lost both Aaron Rodgers
and Jermichael Finley
, while the NFC East flexed it muscle.
The Packers' loss to the Redskins drops Green Bay to 3-2, with a 1-2 road record and a 2-2 mark vs. the conference. The loss puts them a full game behind the Bears, who improved to 4-1 with a hideous win over the hapless Panthers, and Chicago has a win in hand against Green Bay.
Few expected to see the Saints fall to the Cardinals, but the defending champs find themselves in a similar position to the Packers – a game behind Atlanta with a loss in hand.
Unfortunately for the Vikings' playoff hopes, three of the four NFC East teams won. The Redskins, Giants and Eagles all entered play at 2-2, but all three came away with wins.
The need for a win is huge for the Vikings, since nine of the other 15 NFC teams have a record of .500 or better. At a time when the NFC is thinning the herd of playoff contenders, the Vikings can ill-afford a loss tonight, which would make next Sunday's game with Dallas a virtual playoff elimination game.
If there was any reason to ratchet up the pressure, the NFC provided it. The Packers don't stumble often, so the Vikings need to take advantage.
VIKINGS-JETS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings have the 16th-ranked offense in the league (5th rushing, 24th passing) and the fourth-ranked defense (9th rushing, 8th passing). The Jets have the 13th-ranked offense (2nd rushing, 25th passing) and the 13th-ranked defense (4th rushing, 22nd passing).
The Vikings are averaging 328.3 yards a game on offense (185 passing, 143.3 rushing. The Jets are averaging 339.5 yards a game and it's almost evenly split – 171.8 yards passing and 167.8 rushing.
Defensively, the Vikings have allowed 276.3 yards a game (189 passing, 87.3 rushing) while the Jets have allowed 308 yards a game (233.3 passing, 74.8 rushing).
The Jets lead the NFL in giveaway/takeaway ratio at plus-8 (nine takeaways, one giveaway). The Vikings are tied for 23rd at minus-3 (five takeaways, eight giveaways).
The Jets have yet to throw an interception, tying them for the league lead in that category. The Vikings are ranked 32nd in interceptions per passing play.
The return games have been vastly different. The Jets are sixth in punt return average and fourth in kick return average. The Vikings are dead last in punt return average and 26th in kick return average.
The Vikings special teams is the best in the league in punt average allowed.
The Jets are tied for 12th place in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 57.3 percent of their red zone drives (eight of 14). The Vikings are in 29th place, having scored just two touchdowns on seven chances (just 28.6 percent). Only Chicago, Washington and Carolina entered play last weekend with lower touchdown percentages.
Defensively, the Vikings are tied for 11th in the red zone, allowing three touchdowns on seven RZ possessions (42.9 percent). The Jets are 22nd with six touchdowns in 11 drives (54.5 percent).
No team has a better defensive scoring percentage in the red zone than the Vikings, who have allowed four scores on seven possessions (57.1 percent).
The league average on third-down conversions is 38.7 percent. The Jets are slightly above that at 40 percent (20 of 50), while the Vikings are below the average at 34.2 percent (13 of 38).
Defensively, the Vikings have allowed opponents to convert just 32.4 percent of third downs (11 of 34), while the Jets have allowed 41.8 percent of conversions (23 of 55).
The Jets rank seventh in average offensive starting position (the 29.1-yard line). The Vikings are 30th with an average start on the 22-yard line, well below the league average of the 26.6-yard line.
Neither team has a 300-yard passing game this year. The Jets have allowed one 300-yard passer, while the Vikings have none.
New York tight end Dustin Keller has the only 100-yard receiving day for either team. The Vikings haven't allowed a 100-yard receiver, while the Jets have allowed three.
Adrian Peterson has topped 100 yards rushing twice, while LaDanian Tomlinson has one. Neither the Vikings nor the Jets have allowed a 100-yard rusher.
Neither QB is ranked very high in most statistical categories, but Mark Sanchez is No. 1 in the league in both touchdown percentage and interception percentage. Brett Favre is 28th in touchdown percentage and tied for 24th in interception percentage.
Favre's passing woes have been more pronounced at big times. His fourth-quarter passer rating is just 40.7 (better than only Charlie Batch, Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore) and his third-down passer rating is just 33.4 – the worst of the 31 quarterbacks with enough passes to qualify.
Adrian Peterson entered the weekend tied for third in rushing with 392 yards, despite having his bye week already. Tomlinson entered the weekend seventh with 341 yards and Shonn Greene was 23rd with 223 yards.
Keller leads the Jets with 19 receptions, tied for 32nd in the league. Peterson leads the Vikings with 13 catches, which is tied for 63rd.
Keller's 254 yards is good enough for 23rd in the league in receiving yards, followed by Braylon Edwards at 33rd with 227 yards. Visanthe Shiancoe leads the Vikings with 169 yards, good enough for 59th place in the league.
The Jets have three non-kicker players with 18 or more points. Keller has 30 (five TDs), Edwards has 20 (three TDs and a two-point conversion) and L.T. has 18 (three TDs).
Nick Folk is sixth in the league in scoring for kickers with 32 points. Ryan Longwell is 32nd with 13 points.
Chris Kluwe is second in the league in net punting average at 41.9 yards.