Nobody said it would be easy. Remember, only the 1972 Miami Dolphins finished 17-0.
You would think the world came to an end in the state of Minnesota after Carolina beat the Vikings Sunday 31-24, ending their eight-game winning streak and five-game road win streak.
The Panthers scored a season-high 31 points and ran for 216 yards in winning at home in Charlotte. Yes, the stakes are high when you’re trying to become the first team in NFL history to host and play in a home Super Bowl LII on Sunday, February 4, 2018.
The Panthers sacked Vikings quarterback Case Keenum six times; the Vikings had not allowed more than two sacks all season. The Vikings committed two costly turnovers and dropped several passes. They also missed several tackles on defense, missed a field goal, and had a touchdown reversed by an official.
It happens — it’s the reality of winning and losing. Nobody wins them all. The Vikings are now 10-3 with three games remaining: Sunday at home against Cincinnati at 12 noon, at Green Bay December 24, and home against Chicago December 3.
The Vikings still have the second-best record in the NFL at 10-3, and if they can hold that position for three more weeks they will win the NFC North and host a divisional round playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings now have the same record as New England, the defending Super Bowl Champions.
It’s not easy trying to win your first-ever Super Bowl, so come down off that cliff. It’s not over. Grab your pom poms and get behind your team.
Remember, six teams qualify for the playoffs from each conference based on best record. The Eagles (11-2), Vikings (10-3), Saints (9-4) and Rams (9-4) all lead their respective divisions. Also with a chance at two wild-card spots are the Panthers (9-4), Seahawks (8-5), Falcons (8-5), Packers (7-6), Lions (7-6) and Cardinals (6-7).
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.