We’re four games into the season, and you can kind of see how the season is going to go. I told all of you to not expect excellence this season. Thus far, I’m guessing this isn’t what most of you expected. Sitting at 1-2-1 right now in a tough NFC North, we’re going to need to start winning some games. I’m going to narrow down the next 12 games of the season and give short reasoning to why we will win or lose. I’m going to enter Colin Cowherd mode here for a little bit. (If you don’t know who that is, look him up.)
@ Philadelphia (L)
The Eagles are still the Eagles. They have one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Carson Wentz (NDSU alumnus; go Bison). Their defense is still dominant, and there’s no way we beat the defending Super Bowl champions on their home turf.
This should be an easy win. (So should have the Bills game, but look how that turned out.) We got beat by a rookie quarterback at home already, but I don’t think we will this time. Josh “Chosen” Rosen will put up a fight, but I think we’ll come into this game not thinking it will be a cakewalk (like we did against the Bills).
@ New York Jets (W)
Wow was I tempted to give us an “L” here. This will be a close game, but I think we can squeeze out a win despite playing on the road. Sam Darnold has promise, but our defense should guide us to a win against a below average Jets offense.
New Orleans (W)
A primetime game on Sunday night against a really explosive offense. This will be a shootout, and I think we’ll come out on top. As dangerous as the Saints offense is, they have no defense. I think U.S. Bank Stadium will make some noise after back-to-back wins, thus leading us to a three-game winning streak.
And right when you think we’re back, we take a loss at home to Detroit. Come on, who couldn’t see this happening? This is kind of a bold prediction, but it also wouldn’t surprise me. The Vikings have lost to the Lions at home the last two seasons, and I think that curse will continue. Now all the doubters have another reason to hate on us once again.
@ Chicago (L)
Coming off a bye week, we should go back to our winning ways. However, we have lost eight of our last 10 contests at Soldier Field. The addition of Khalil Mack, who is looking like the defensive player of the year at this point, will be tough to shake. While the Bears offense is suspect, their defense is for real. Along with this, our defense has a tendency to not show up on the road at times. I’m giving this one to “Da Bears.”
Green Bay (W)
We should have lost at Lambeau earlier in the year, but Cousins turned into a juggernaut in the fourth quarter. Another primetime game on Sunday night, this one should be a good one. As good as Aaron Rodgers is, he’s basically the whole team. Our defensive line should heckle Rodgers all night with the Packers’ flaky offensive line. The Packers defense isn’t good enough to get consistent wins, and I think we can pull this one off.
@ New England (L)
New England isn’t the same as they were a few years back when we played them. Despite this, they’re still the Patriots. I’d feel a lot more enthusiastic about this if the game wasn’t at Gillette Stadium. They still have the iconic duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and I just can’t see us walking out of Foxborough with a win. I think Gronk will have a field day, and our offense won’t produce enough to win.
@ Seattle (W)
Sitting at 5-6-1 with only four games left to play, I think Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will realize we probably need to win out to make the playoffs. I think the whole team will realize they are much better than this and use it as a source of motivation. It’s a Monday night game on ESPN. The former dominant Seahawks defense, known as the “Legion of Boom,” does not exist anymore, especially with the season-ending injury of Earl Thomas. Russell Wilson has also proven he can’t win games without stars around him. This is a bolder pick, but I think our desperation will lead us to a win.
Yeah, the Dolphins are 3-1 right now, but their true colors will show as the season goes on. We know we can and should win this game. We also know we need to win out to have a chance at the playoffs. I think we dominate this game and move on to our next contest.
@ Detroit (W)
This will be a large test, but for some reason, we have played better on the road against the Lions than at home. It’s the last away game of the season, and I think the Vikings know if they get out of here with a victory they’ll be sitting good. Matthew Stafford will (hopefully) find a way to blow the game (like he threw a pick to Xavier Rhodes on a potential game-tying drive late in the game), and we’ll get a close win.
We know winning this game puts us at 9-6-1, which adds an extra incentive to win. We have been good at home against the Bears, and I think we’ll get a must-needed victory. Chicago could make it closer than it should be, but I can’t see Zimmer losing this game given the circumstances.
If I predicted every game right (which is almost certainly unlikely, so don’t expect anything), we will finish 9-6-1. That record is borderline playoffs material. The NFC is full of contenders, so we may or may not make the playoffs. I think it’s enough to snag a wild-card spot, but it all depends on how other teams in the NFC do, especially Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit. There have been multiple instances where a 10-6 team has missed the playoffs, so anything can happen. It should be fun to see what actually happens. I hope we finish with a better record than this because we have too much talent on our roster to miss the playoffs.