A Chance To Bury Pack

The Vikings have a great chance to extend their lead against Green Bay, but they may have to the way the schedules line up for both teams in the season's stretch run.

For a third straight week, the Vikings have the chance to put away and bury the Green Bay Packers. With a Vikings win today over the Raiders and a Packers loss at Tampa Bay, the Vikings can take a three-game lead with six games to play, a deficit that may be too big for Green Bay to make up.

The Vikings had this same chance two weeks ago, but lost to the Packers at home on a nationally televised Sunday night game. They had a second chance last week when Green Bay lost in the final 30 seconds to the Eagles on Monday night. But a Vikings loss to the Chargers kept their lead at two games.

This time around may be the last chance the Vikings get to really bury the Packers. With a win, the Vikes would improve to 7-3. With a loss, Green Bay would drop to 4-6, three games behind the Vikings with little in the way of tie-breaker help to save them. But, the Vikings have to get their act together in a hurry.

After next Sunday's game with the Lions, the Vikings will face three potential playoff teams in the final five games -- Seattle and Kansas City at home and at St. Louis. Meanwhile, the Packers potentially won't face a playoff team in any of their final six games -- the 49ers, Lions, Bears, Chargers, Raiders and Broncos.

The key to a Packers loss and Vikings win can't be understated. With a loss today, even if the Pack goes 5-1 in their final six games, they would finish with a 9-7 record. With a win, the Vikings would have to go 2-4 to finish in a tie with Green Bay. If, however, the Packers remain two back, all bets are off, because a late-season run looks in the offing with the Packers schedule after today.

The Vikings have had two chances to bury the Packers and neither of them panned out. Will the third time be the charm?

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