Rest of NFC North has worst of schedule to go

The Vikings have gone through the worst of their schedule and are still viable. The rest of the NFC North will have to survive their toughest stretch while the Vikings hope to make a run.

For Vikings fans, they get a look at the rest of the league playing football over the next two days while wondering what could have been and how crazy five games into the season has been for their beloved Vikings.

The 2-3 record? Given their opponents, that isn’t all that bad. On the road against St. Louis, New Orleans and Green Bay to open a season is a recipe for 0-3. The fact that they’re 2-3 with the only home games against a desperate Patriots team and Atlanta, all things considered, being 2-3 doesn’t call for desperation.

The Vikings are resting and watching today while the remainder of the league plays – good news, Oakland doesn’t lose this week – and their coaching staff is already installing a game plan for Teddy Bridgewater for Detroit. At the same time, the Lions are preparing to play Kyle Orton and the Buffalo Bills. Granted, Detroit may show up at TCF Bank Stadium with a 4-1 record looking to put a stranglehold on the NFC North title, but the coaching staff will be working hard Sunday watching game film.

If things go as planned, the Lions will come into the Bank 4-1 and ready to elevate themselves into the discussion of the elite teams in the NFC

Does that sound familiar? Last year, at a time in early November when Minnesotans first heard the demonic phrase “polar vortex,” the Lions were 6-3, Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler were both sidelined with injuries and the division title was being handed to them on a blue and silver platter.

But, funny things happen to the Lions when the weather gets cold. They fold like the Thanksgiving kids table. The only way the Lions didn’t win the division title last year was if they lost five of their last seven games.

They lost six.

Given Detroit’s schedule, which includes a London trip against Atlanta and road games against Arizona, New England, Chicago and Green Bay, it smells like downtown Detroit – not good.

The Bears have tough road games coming up today against Carolina and at Atlanta in eight days. With four of their next five games on the road – at Carolina, Atlanta, New England and Green Bay – there is plenty of reason for concern in Chicago.

Green Bay is Green Bay. At home, they have a kavorka. The Packers are going to have to keep that because their remaining home schedule includes Carolina, Chicago, Philadelphia, New England, Atlanta and, in Week 17, the Thanksgiving kids table Lions.

The Vikings are 2-3 and, as fans settle in to watch other teams play, from the looks of things, given their early schedule, 2-3 isn’t so bad. It’s not saying that the Vikings are going to dominate the division. What it is saying is that, if the Vikings get it together, they’ve survived what clearly can be depicted as the most difficult portion of their schedule and put it in the rearview mirror.

For hard-core Vikings fans, it has taken until this morning to fully get the bad taste of Thursday’s debacle out of their mouths. Rightfully so. They were still burping it on Saturday. At the moment, things look rather bleak for the Vikings.

But as Vikings fans cheer for their new favorite teams – Carolina and Buffalo – there isn’t any reason for panic. As one Cal-Berkeley beat poet once said, “R-E-L-A-X.”

If Detroit conducts another McCarthy Hearing on the Vikings next Sunday, jumpers can feel free to climb out on the ledge for some soul-searching. As players are wont to say, when it comes to the 2-3 start by the Vikings, it is what it is.

Any non-sociopathic Vikings fan on a polygraph would likely truthfully respond that 2-3 was a hopeful expectation heading into Week 6. Anything better was asking quite a bit.

As things currently stand, the Vikings have finished the worst portion of their schedule from an objective perspective. The rest of the NFC North has the worst of their schedules in front of them.

Get your popcorn ready … and heal up Teddy.

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