The Minnesota Vikings captured their first division title in six years and their reward is a Wild Card round matchup against the two-time defending NFC champions, Seattle Seahawks, who destroyed them in December and are firing on all cylinders entering the postseason.
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The Seahawks stumbled out of the gate at 2-4 and were still below .500 after nine games in mid-November. Beset by questions about their lingering Super Bowl hangover, Seattle’s swagger appeared to be gone and it hardly looked like a team capable of playing for another ring in February.
But the Seahawks answered their critics with a resounding second-half run, ripping off six wins in their final seven games and are now well-positioned to reach the league’s grand stage for the third consecutive year.
Seattle begins its trek to Santa Clara (the home of Super Bowl 50) with a trip to freezing Minneapolis to take on the NFC North champions, airing on NBC. The Minnesota Vikings are making their first playoff appearance since 2012 and also head into this game on a roll, having won their final three games to clinch their first division title in six years.
However, two weeks before that three-game win streak started was an embarrassing 38-7 blowout loss to the same team they face Sunday. That game exposed a critical weakness in the Vikings offense, one that is limited by a mediocre passing attack and is highly dependent on a ball-control, ground-and-pound game plan. Seattle jumped out to a commanding early lead, the Vikings were forced to abandon the run early, and the results were disastrous.
Gavin Escobar Youth Jersey Most of the experts are predicting a similar story for this weekend’s rematch. ESPN’s crew is unanimously picking Seattle, while seven of the eight guys at CBS Sports also have the Seahawks. All eight of our panelists at SB Nation are going with the road team, too.