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January 14, 2020

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Vikings and Seahawks are dead

The second round of the 2019 NFL Playoffs is in the books, and in the NFC, the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks were both eliminated. Let's just get right to their obituaries.



Vikings: Kirk Cousins is easy to goof on because he's a nerd, buuuuut you kind of have to hand it to him and the Vikings for taking down the Saints in the wildcard round, punctuated in overtime by two great throws. First, there was this dime to Adam Thielen to put them in position to win:

And then after what looked like a bad snap, and a hurried throw, Cousins put the ball close enough to where it needed to be to Kyle Rudolph for the win:

Ultimately for the 2019 Vikings, however, it was the same old story. Good defense, very good skill position players, but an over-matched offensive line in the playoffs. Here's how the Vikings' last three seasons ended:

2017: They got out to a fast start in Philadelphia in the NFCCG, but a Chris Long hit on Case Keenum caused an off-target throw, which was intercepted by Patrick Robinson and returned for a TD. Later, down only 7, Derek Barnett's sack-fumble stopped a key Vikings drive, and the Eagles put them away thereafter.

2018: In a win-and-in game Week 17 against the Bears, who had nothing to play for by the way, the Vikings were dominated by the Bears' front, gaining only 63 yards on the ground, while Cousins was sacked 4 times.

2019: The Niners' defensive line absolutely killed the Vikings' offensive line, allowing just 21 rushing yards, and sacking Cousins 6 times.

The Vikings are very aware of their offensive line issues. They have drafted 11 offensive linemen since 2015, including one in the first round (Garrett Bradbury), two on Day 2 (Brian O'Neill and Pat Elflein), and they paid a lot of money in free agency to Riley Reiff. 

And yet, it still isn't fixed.


Seahawks: In the wildcard round of the playoffs, the Seahawks' odds of winning were raised substantially after a Jadeveon Clowney cheap-shot ended Carson Wentz's season with a concussion. No call.


In the divisional round, Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister fumbled, which was clearly recovered by Packers CB (and old friend) Chandon Sullivan, but the officials allowed the Seahawks to keep the ball because there was "no clear recovery." A correct call there would have very likely resulted in points for the Packers, as the ball was recovered near the Seahawks' 40 yard line. (Side note: How the hell is Clete Blakeman allowed to referee big games?!?)

And yet, this team (and fan base) has the balls to bitch about a perceived bad spot that gave the Packers a first down to end the game? Are you kidding me? As it turns out, the unofficial yellow line was in the wrong place, and the Packers did indeed look like they got the first down:

And even if they didn't get the first down, the Packers would have had a 4th and inches at the Seahawks' 36 yards line, which they likely would have picked up, and even if they didn't, the Seahawks would have had to have driven 64 yards with 1:40-ish left on the clock with no time outs.

In summary, shut up, Seahawks. And stop wearing those incredibly lame 12 jerseys. "YAY WE'RE THE BEST FANS EVERRRRRRRR!"

MORE: Eagles stay or go: Interior offensive line | Eagles’ exec Andrew Berry considered ‘favorite’ to become Browns’ GM | With John DeFilippo out as Jags OC, would he make sense for Eagles?





2) Packers: If you're an Eagles fan, the Packers have been a team that has prevented other less palatable options to make deeper playoff runs. 

  1. 2014: They beat the Cowboys in the "Dez dropped it" game in the divisional round.
  2. 2015: They beat the NFC East-winning Washington team in the wildcard card.
  3. 2016: They easily handled the Giants in the wildcard card.
  4. 2016: They beat the No. 1 seed Cowboys in the divisional round.
  5. 2019: They beat the Seahawks in the divisional round. (The Seahawks aren't necessarily a traditional Eagles rival, but they left a bad taste in many fans' mouths after their dirty play in their wildcard round matchup.)

The Packers have sort of taken care of business for the Eagles whenever the Eagles have been unable to do it themselves. Green teams gotta stick together, I guess.


1) 49ers: It's kind of funny what one inch can mean in the NFL. In Week 17, the Niners stopped Jacob Hollister an inch short of the goal line, and as a result, earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC. 

Had Hollister scored, the Niners would have had to travel to Philly for the wildcard round, and then to New Orleans for the divisional round if they beat the Eagles. There's a pretty good chance they would not have survived the combination of both games.

Instead, because Hollister didn't get in, the well-rested Niners got a bye, followed by a home game against the 6 seed Vikings, who had a road overtime game in the wildcard round, a plane trip home, a short week of practice/preparation/recovery, and then a flight out to the west coast to take on the Niners on Saturday. You could see how cooked the Vikings were in the second half of that game this weekend.

Looking forward, the Niners now have an extra day of rest going from Saturday to next Sunday, where they'll get to take on one of the weaker No. 2 seeds in recent memory in the Packers.

They're probably going to go to the Super Bowl, because of that inch.

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