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There are a few games on the NFL schedule that definitely give me that Little Engine That Could “I think I can” vibe. Granted, the “trains” in question trying to pull off the midseason upset to keep themselves in playoff contention have different heights of mountain to climb. That said, no one is here to say these upsets are a lock. Perhaps a more accurate statement is, “I think they could?” Not exactly a glowing endorsement for any of the teams below, but you’ll get the idea.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills
First, it’s a 1:00 pm game so the curse of Kirk Cousins in primetime is not a factor. As offenses go, the Vikings are pretty balanced with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen at wide receiver, former Lion T.J. Hockenson at tight end and Dalvin Cook carrying the ball. That being said, they are hardly on the level of Josh Allen and company in Buffalo. While many don’t expect Minnesota to win the game by any reasonable measure, there’s a different reason to observe this contest.
The Vikings are a 7-1 team that is quietly near the top of the NFC rankings. The prevailing question when it comes to the SKOL nation is how much of a threat are they? Is it because they are a truly talented team, or because the Green Bay Packers have shot themselves in the foot so much that the Vikings have stepped over a weak NFC North?
How much Buffalo wins (or loses) by will provide an interesting litmus test.
Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins
Cleveland heads to Miami’s Hard Rock stadium finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. While the Browns find themselves hanging by a thread in the AFC North trying to hold the line until quarterback Deshaun Watson returns from suspension, the Dolphins have looked like a strong team, looking like a wild card berth is in their future despite moments of weakness against the Chicago Bears last week.
Definitely, a gotta-have-it game for both sides. Playoff implications could be on the line in this one.
Washington Commanders vs. Philadelphia Eagles
There was a time when one might have looked at the NFL schedule and seen Carson Wentz facing his former team. However, like when the Eagles last won the Super Bowl, Wentz will be on the sideline as Taylor Heinicke will be taking snaps under center. Between that and the awesome comeback story of Brian Robinson returning to form running the football after being shot in the offseason, there’s a lot for Commanders fans to be excited for.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have a pretty easy track to the possibility of 17-0 regular season. The pressure will continue to mount with each win of course, but the NFC East rivalry is a force of chaos in its own right and Washington needs all the help it can get for hopes to make the postseason.