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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings, like many other NFL teams in 2021, have had tense game days. They’ve merely taken it to its logical conclusion.
The Vikings defeated the Seattle Seahawks 30-17 in Week 3, but their subsequent ten games have all been decided by a single score, with several of them deciding on a single play.
With a shrug, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, “That’s the NFL, and that’s sort of how it is.” “Several games came down to a single play.”
The other 31 NFL clubs haven’t had it nearly as bad as the Vikings, but they can understand. Consider:
This season, 25 games have been decided on the last play, the highest in the first 12 weeks since the merger in 1970.
Thirty-five games have ended with a winning touchdown in the last minute of regulation or overtime, the fourth-highest total since 1970.
While the Vikings are notorious for tight games decided by a single play, they are far from alone.
This year’s Super Bowl triumph seems to be as wide open as ever. Nine teams had Super Bowl odds of 13-1 or less after 12 weeks, tying the most teams with such odds in the previous six years.
Vance Joseph, the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, remarked, “The league has always supposed to have teams that are very equal.” When the Vikings missed a 37-yard field goal attempt on the last play in Week 2, the Cardinals won 34-33.
“They don’t want teams to get too carried away with this. They desire competitiveness; they want teams to compete to the last end. I’m not shocked to see the league so evenly balanced. That is exactly how they want it. That is exactly as it should be. It also keeps everyone grinding, which is enjoyable.”
The Kansas City Chiefs have experienced the whole range of close-game emotions in the first two weeks of the season.
They came back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Cleveland Browns 33-29, but only after intercepting a ball late in the game to end a Browns drive.
The next week, they trailed the Baltimore Ravens by 11 points in the fourth quarter before losing 36-35, but only because a late Chiefs fumble ended a potentially game-winning drive in the closing seconds.
Andy Reid, the coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, said no lead is ever secure, but he feels that way more than ever this year.
“For the past however many years, the league has worked feverishly to achieve parity,” Reid said. “I’m simply looking at how various clubs have fared this season, and it seems to me that there’s a lot of parity in the league.” Every community, every city in the NFL has a chance to win a game on any given Sunday.
“That’s a fantastic idea. We’re in it for the challenge, and there’s a lot of it.”
Unexpected outcomes may be found anywhere.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at each of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl performances. On ESPN+, you can watch Man in the Arena: Tom Brady right now.
The Bengals are maybe the best illustration of this season’s uncertainty. Five of their games have come down to a three-point margin (2-3 in those games). All four of their divisional meetings have been decided by 14 points or more in their remaining six games (5-1). (3-1).
Taking a result for granted seems to be more difficult than ever for any of the 32 teams.
“It’s a week-to-week [league], and you have to show up every week to play,” Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs said.
In Week 9, Diggs and the Bills, who were 5-2 at the time, were defeated by the 1-6 Jacksonville Jaguars in one of the season’s greatest shocks. The Jaguars won 9-6 by kicking one more field goal than the Bills, despite neither team scoring a touchdown.
After the game, Bills tackle Dion Dawkins stated, “You simply can’t feel comfortable.” “You have to remain hungry, and everyone will give it their all for us.” We’ve reached a point where everyone is going to give it their all every week. The Buffalo Bills are attracting a lot of attention.
“To really experience and appreciate it, you must go through the ups and downs of life in football, as well as victories and defeats. It’s a kill or be killed world, and now that we know everyone is putting in their best effort against us, we simply have to be at our best at all times. We’ll never be able to take our foot off the throttle pedal.”
There are no Goliaths here.
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Twelve of the AFC’s 16 clubs, including all of the West and North division teams, are.500 or better. This is the most teams in a single conference with a.500 or better record through Week 12 in NFL history. There are 21 teams in the league that are within a game of.500, so the race for a division title or a wild-card playoff place might be as crazy as ever.
One of the 21 clubs is the Minnesota Vikings. Overall, they’re 5-6, with a 4-6 record in games decided by a single score.
Many teams, including the Vikings, are wondering what their record would have been if they had been better on all of the game-deciding plays.
“We were right there,” Minnesota center Garrett Bradbury said after the Vikings’ Week 2 loss to the Cardinals due to a failed field goal. “We’ll make the necessary corrections so that when we’re in that situation again — which we will be — we’ll complete the game and come out on top.”
Courtney Cronin, Alaina Getzenberg, and Josh Weinfuss of ESPN Stats & Information, as well as NFL Nation writers Courtney Cronin, Alaina Getzenberg, and Josh Weinfuss, also contributed.
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In 2021, the NFL will have a new season. It will be more balanced than ever before. Reference: espn.
- nfl standings