Wondering who will be on the Vikings' 2008 slate of opponents? Look no further and, while you're at it, check a slew of notes and stats that could have a bearing on how tonight's game between the Vikings and Redskins shakes out.
From the "Never Too Early To Look Ahead" Department comes this: Wondering who the Vikings play next year? With a win tonight, the Vikings will know the entire slate of opponents for 2008.
The only question is whether the Vikings will face the Giants or the Redskins next year. As the second-place finisher in the NFC North, the Vikings will play the second-place teams from the NFC East and West next year. We already know that the Cardinals are second in the West. With a Vikings win, the Giants end up on the schedule for '08. Let's be optimistic and assume the Vikings beat down the Redskins. If that happens, here is the 2008 schedule of opponents:
Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Atlanta, Carolina, Houston, Indianapolis, New York Giants.
Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Arizona.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Vikings will play 11 games in domes and, of their remaining five road games, two are in Florida and another is in Tennessee. The only potential cold-weather games they could possibly play are at Green Bay and Chicago. With any luck, they could have no "snow games" on the schedule.
Some other news and notes By The Numbers:
The Vikings are on a five-game winning streak. The only team in the NFL with a longer current streak are the undefeated Patriots. The only teams that have had longer streaks than the Vikings' current run are the Patriots, the Packers (six), the Colts (seven) and the Giants (six).
The Patriots need just 34 points in their final two games to break the Vikings' single-season scoring record of 556 in 1998.
The Vikings are 5-2 at home this season. The only NFC teams with better home records are the four division champions.
Heading into this week's games, the AFC and NFC were 28-28 in interleague play. The NFC South has been a dismal 3-13 vs. the AFC, while the rest of the NFC is 25-15 – including an impressive 12-3 record of the NFC North vs. the AFC West.
Aside from the Vikings, no NFC team has a current winning streak longer than two games.
The Vikings' running disparity continues to grow. The Vikings have run for 2,375 yards – a 5.4-yard per carry average – and have 20 touchdowns. Vikings' opponents have rushed for just 951 yards – a 3.0 average – and six touchdowns.
Vikings' opponents have more pass completions (366) than the Vikings have pass attempts (360).
The Vikings still have as many touchdowns on returns (nine) as they have passing TDs.
The Vikings have outscored their opponents in every quarter this season.
Sixteen different Vikings have scored touchdowns this season.
On 42 potential punt returns, the Vikings have called a fair catch on 18 of them. Of 45 potential punt returns by Vikings opponents, they have called just six fair catches.
Kicker Ryan Longwell has made 18 of 19 field goal attempts inside of 50 yards, with the only miss being a field goal that was blocked.
The Vikings are 8-0 in games in which they score 20 or more points and 0-6 in games in which they score less than 20 points.
In 14 games, the Redskins have scored more than 25 points just once.
The Redskins can take a lot of credit for eliminating the competition for the wild card spots. Washington has beaten the Eagles, Lions, Cardinals, Bears and Giants among their seven wins.
The Redskins have allowed 20 points or less in 10 games this year.
Washington hasn't had a three-game winning streak since December 2005 when they won their last five games of the regular season to make the playoffs.
The Redskins have picked up just 10 first downs thanks to penalties. Only the Texans (9) and the Steelers (7) have fewer.
Of the 27 defensive touchdowns the Redskins have allowed, 19 have been passing TDs and just eight have been rushing.
In the second half of games this season, Washington has been outscored 175-131.
Only two teams have not allowed an opposing rusher to gain more than 30 yards on any single carry this year – the Vikings and the Redskins.
Chris Cooley has seven of the Redskins' 14 touchdown receptions. Only one other player (James Thrash) has more than one TD reception and he has two on just eight catches.
Don't expect a big punt return from the Vikings Sunday. The Redskins allow just 6.1 yards per punt return and the longest return they've allowed all season is just 22 yards.
Ryan Longwell, beware! Opposing kickers to the Redskins have made 23 of 25 field goal attempts inside of 40 yards, but just 2 of 8 beyond 40. Meanwhile, on the same field and under the same conditions, Washington kicker Scott Suisham has made 10-of-14 kicks beyond 40 yards.
The Vikings are tied for the 11th-ranked offense in the league (1st rushing, 30th passing) and have the 20th-rated defense (1st rushing, 32nd passing). The Redskins have the 16th ranked offense (11th rushing, 15th passing) and the 10th ranked defense (9th rushing, 19th passing).
Only the Ravens are allowing less yardage per rushing attempt than the Vikings.
The Vikings are tied for sixth in the giveaway/takeaway charts at plus-7. The Vikings' 31 takeaways are tied for fourth in the league and their 16 fumble recoveries are tied for third. The Redskins are minus-7 on the same chart, which ties them for 23rd in the league in that respect.
The Vikings, Texans and Seahawks are all within two total yards of offense – the Vikings and Texans have 4,748 yards and the Seahawks have 4,746.
The league average for rushing yards is 1,541. The Vikings are demolishing that with 2,375 yards. Only two other teams are over 2,000 yards and one of those (the Steelers) have played 15 games.
Through 14 games, the Vikings are the only team in the league with more yards rushing than passing. The team is averaging 169.6 yards a game rushing and 169.5 yards a game passing.
The Vikings are the only defense that hasn't allowed 1,000 yards rushing this year. Their 951 yards is more than 100 less than the second place Ravens (1,078).
The Vikings are still 30th in the league in offensive trips to the red zone (29), but are fifth in the percentage of converting red zone trips to touchdowns.
No team has fewer red zone-possession field goals than the Vikings with seven.
The Vikings defense has allowed just 18 touchdowns on 40 opponent red zone possessions. Surprisingly, the three teams that have a lower TD percentage allowed are nowhere near the playoffs – the Chiefs, Eagles and Ravens.
The Vikings offense is converting third downs at a dismal 33 percent rate. Only the Lions, and 49ers are worse.
No offense has more rushing first downs than the Vikings (117) or has fewer passing first downs (116).
The Vikings have allowed just 54 first downs rushing on defense – best in the NFL.
The Vikings defense has faced 208 third-down situations – most of any team in the league.
Washington's 24 first downs allowed by defensive penalties is second in the league, but pales to the league-leading Packers, who have allowed a whopping 43 first downs via defensive penalties.
The Vikings should have their chances to make a big play in the kick return game. Suisham is the worst in the league in putting kickoffs into the end zone. He's done it just six times. Longwell, who isn't viewed as a long distance kickoff guy, has hit the end zone 19 times this season.
The two teams have combined for just two 300-yard passing days from their quarterbacks this year – both by injured Jason Campbell of the Redskins.
The Vikings have allowed five opponents to throw for 300 yards. The Redskins have done it just once – by Tom Brady.
There have been 146 100-yard receiving days this season entering Week 16. Of those, the Vikings have none and the Redskins have four – two coming from Antwaan Randle El.
The Vikings have allowed four 100-yard receivers. The Redskins have allowed just one – Terrell Owens.
There have been 120 100-yard rushing days this year. The Vikings and Redskins have 11 of them. The Vikings have eight – six from Adrian Peterson and two from Chester Taylor and Clinton Portis has three for the Redskins.
Of the top nine individual rushing days, four of them have been from Sunday's matchup – two from Peterson, one from Portis and one from Taylor.
The Vikings have allowed just one 100-yard rusher and the Redskins have allowed just two.
In 10 games, Tarvaris Jackson has attempted just 40 passes in the fourth quarter – an unheard of average of just four a game.
Peterson is currently third in the league in rushing. Willie Parker is done with 1,316 yards and LaDainian Tomlinson has 1,311 – ahead of A.P.'s 1,278 yards.
Of the top 29 rushing yardage leaders in the league, only two have averaged 5.3 yards a carry or more – Peterson and Taylor.