Falcons - 24 :: Vikings - 17
The Vikings simply could not hold on to the ball on Sunday. They had 7 fumbles and lost 4 of them. That is one reason why they lost this game. Another reason is actually another fumble. This fumble, though, was by the Falcons and resulted in a touchdown. Matt Ryan tried to dive into the end zone and got flipped. The ball came out after he was hit and rolled into the end zone. Two or three Vikings players looked like they could recover the fumble, but somehow a Falcons player ended up with it for a touchdown.
The recovery made the score 24-7 in favor of the Falcons, and although Minnesota made a comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, it fell short. The Vikings scored 10 points to cut the lead down to a touchdown, but in the end they simply couldn't move the ball when it counted most. They turned the ball over on downs with a minute or so left in the game, allowing the Falcons to run out the clock and clinch a playoff spot.
The Daily Norseman discussed the Vikings' playoff scenarios after the game.
As I said before, the Vikings technically control their own destiny for the NFC North division title. . .and that's the only way they're getting in, as they can't get the other wild card spot (Atlanta clinched one of those spots with a win today). If the Vikings beat the Giants next weekend, they're in. Failing that, if the Bears lose to either Green Bay (tomorrow night) or at Houston (in Week 17), we can get in that way, too. Since I have a feeling that the Packers have pretty well folded up the tents for the season, it's going to come down to the season's final week.
Even though, quite frankly, it shouldn't be that way.
Packers - 17 :: Bears - 20 (OT)
Speaking of that Packers-Bears matchup, it was probably one of the most exciting games all year long. All I will say is that the Packers had dominated Chicago most of the night, but the Bears kept fighting back on this frigid night. Green Bay had a chance to win the game on a last-second field goal, and what happened next was quite shocking. Take a look:
Windy City Gridiron was pretty surprised that the Bears ended up winning this game.
A blue and orange dressed Santa Claus just gave a golden football to little baby Jesus. That is how lucky and unlikely it was for the Bears should leave Soldier Field with a win and it is the very reason they keep putting the Bears on TV. The Bears are incapable of just beating a team. When Kyle Orton took the field for the first drive of overtime, I told my wife he would throw an interception, the Packer who picked it would fumble it and then a Bears player would pick it up and return it for a TD and I felt I had good odds of that happening.
Do you remember the old Super Fan SNL bits? Where Farley's character kept having minor heart attacks? That is what it is like to be watching a Bears game.
Acme Packing Company talked about how bad the Packers have been in close games and mentioned a stat that truly is unbelievable.
You just can't make it up anymore. The Packers keep finding ways to lose close games.
In the last eight games, they've been outscored by a combined total of 6 points (194 to 200). But their record is 1-7. That's just amazing.
In the final week of the regular season, the Vikings host the New York Giants, the Bears head to Houston to play the Texans, and the Packers finish up the season at home against our own winless Lions.