The Vikings lost in a heartbreaker to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, 16-13. Your thoughts?
Erik Ritland (Sports Ramble director and podcast host): Nice use of the old Dark Star line "your thoughts," I always love that one.
At least Kai Forbath made all his kicks, right? Weren't all the Vikings problems Blair Walsh related?
The Lions barely beat the Vikings because the Lions are barely better than the Vikings. I guess it makes sense.
There's just too much going against the Vikings at this point: key injuries, Bradford and his receiving core regressing to the mean, Norv Turner retiring. With the Lions ahead of them and the Packers in their rearview mirror, their season is over.
Oh yeah, and Matthew Stafford finally looks elite. He could be a wildcard if the Lions make the playoffs, making them a popular sleeper pick.
Chip Matthews (Sports Ramble contributor): Whoa, whoa, whoa Erik, settle down. Their season is over? Doubtful. If you compare the schedules of the Packers, Lions, and Vikings the division is quite up for grabs. Especially considering that the Packers and Lions are obviously not very good.
In a chippy game the Lions scraped their way to the top. Neither team played like one that could make the playoffs, though, and if either does it's difficult to believe that they'll win a game.
The Green Bay Packers handed the Philadelphia Eagles their first loss at home, beating them 27-13. Are they back?
Erik: They're proving that they aren't quite as bad as they've been playing the last few weeks. Rodgers is getting his groove back (and so are their receivers) and the defense isn't looking as terrible. With so many injuries to their offensive line and defense it'll be hard for them to keep this up, though.
Chip: Good points, but with how weak the NFC North is, who knows. It's funny that the Lions are the only team in the division who are at 100% and they're still barely on top (and there definitely aren't any guarantees that they'll come out on top).
Any other games catch your eye this week?
Erik: The Washington Redskins putting up such a fight against the Dallas Cowboys at home was unexpected to me. They could be scary come playoff time.
Chip: The Oakland Raiders continued proving that they're for real by beating the Denver Broncos 30-27 in Denver. The Kansas City Chiefs showed that they're still in the fight with their impressive win against the wilting Panthers.