Vikings at Rams
The Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams are each fighting uphill climbs to snag a postseason slot, and Sunday's matchup in St. Louis will have a playoff feel in what pretty much amount to an elimination game. Both teams sit in third place in their respective divisions so their best avenue to the postseason is via the wild card. The Rams and Vikings have six losses apiece, so the loser will face the unlikely challenge of having to hurdle at least four other teams in the final two weeks. St. Louis has vaulted into contention with its first three-game losing streak in six years while Minnesota has more than doubled last season's win total behind the magnificent play of running back Adrian Peterson.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -2.5, O/U 38.5
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (7-6): Minnesota has made no secret about its game plan, particularly since the season-ending injury to star wideout Percy Harvin: ride Peterson as far as he can go. The league's leading rusher with 1,600 yards, Peterson is on track to become the seventh player in league history to surpass 2,000 yards - a particularly remarkable feat given that he entered the season less than nine months removed from major surgery to repair multiple knee ligaments. Peterson rumbled for 154 yards and two touchdowns - his seventh straight 100-yard effort - in last week's 21-14 win over NFC North rival Chicago. He has scored eight times and amassed 1,101 yards in that stretch to help make up for the shortcomings of Christian Ponder, who has thrown for only 962 yards in the same span.
ABOUT THE RAMS (6-6-1): Defense has carried St. Louis to its first three-game winning streak since the 2006 season. The Rams, once known as the Greatest Show on Turf for their dazzling offensive exploits, have surrendered only 42 points during the winning streak. They have been particularly solid against the run in that time. The only player to surpass more than 65 yards rushing against St. Louis in the last four games has been San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick. The Rams also have a fierce pass rush that has produced an NFC-high 39 sacks. Like Minnesota, St. Louis has struggled offensively and been held under 20 points eight times in the last 11 games. QB Sam Bradford is averaging only 222.3 yards passing and is hoping for the return of top target Danny Amendola (heel).
1. Peterson needs to average 134 yards over his final three games to reach the 2,000-yard mark.
2. Rams rookie K Greg Zuerlein has booted seven field goals of at least 50 yards, one shy of tying the single-season league record.
3. Minnesota is 1-5 away from home and that victory came indoors at Detroit.