Welcome to December, when the National Football League season takes on an art form as 20 to 25 teams, all within a game of each other, jockey for playoff positioning for 12 spots. The New England Patriots are really good at this. They beat the Vikings Sunday 24-10 in Foxboro and clinched their 18th consecutive winning season.
The Vikings slipped to 6-5-1 and surrendered the number-one Wild Card playoff position. Seattle (7-5) grabbed the Wild Card playoff position for now by dominating San Francisco 43-16.
Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 311 yards and a touchdown Sunday. It was the 579th of his remarkable career including playoffs, tying Peyton Manning for number one all-time. Brady is now 5-0 all-time versus the Vikings; he also passed the 1,000-yard career rushing mark.
Brady said, “Too often in life something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. The point is, we all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations or to not accept situations.”
Head Coach Bill Belichick won with New England for the 250th time regular season and playoffs. If you count Cleveland when he was head coach there, Belichick has won 287 regular season and playoff games, including five Super Bowls.
Defensively, the Vikings allowed 471 yards in total offense and a season-high 160 yards rushing.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had a tough day. Offensively, the Vikings had just 278 total yards, scoring a season-low 10 points, and he threw two critical interceptions.
Everyone in the NFC North lost Sunday: New York 30-27 over Chicago in overtime, and Arizona beat Green Bay 20-17. It was the first loss by the Packers to the Cardinals since 1949 at Lambeau Field and the Packers’ third loss in a row.
After the game, the Packers fired Head Coach Mike McCarthy. In his 13th season, McCarthy was one of the best coaches in football. He was 125-77-2, led the Packers to the playoffs nine times and to victory in Super Bowl XLV.
Los Angeles won with 30 over Detroit’s 16. The Rams are 11- 1, the best record in the NFL, and they play the 8-4 Bears next week. Next Monday the Vikings play at Seattle. With just four games left, winning is paramount.