If the last two weeks are any indication, watch out for the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings, one of the preseason Super Bowl favorites, made the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons under Dennis Green by unleashing a big-play offense today to rout the New York Giants, 34-17.
The loss does not eliminate the Giants (7-8) from the playoff picture. New York can still make the playoffs by beating Dallas next week and having Green Bay lose to Arizona.
"I'm shocked that we didn't play well," Giants safety Sam Garnes said. "The way we played shocked me. It was pretty sorry. This was a big game, a must game and we just didn't come through."
Jeff George's passing to Randy Moss and Cris Carter set up two short touchdown runs by Leroy Hoard to put Minnesota ahead in the first half.
"We are playing well, things are happening for us now," Vikings safety Robert Griffith said. "We played well last week, too. It's all about the team that gets hot at the end, and we're in the playoffs and we're getting hot."
An interception by Anthony Bass set up a 27-yard touchdown pass from Moss to Carter. Moe Williams also scored on an 85-yard kickoff return on the opening play of the fourth quarter and Robert Smith (16 rushes for 146 yards) scored on a 70-yard run. The last two touchdowns came seconds after the Giants scored.
The key for the Vikings was Carter, who make a token appearance in last week's 24-20 win over Green Bay because of a sprained ankle. While not at full speed, he had enough to dominate the Giants' injury-riddled secondary, making five catches for 131 yards, including the reception of Moss's pass that gave Minnesota a 21-6 lead.
New York has lost its first two December games under Coach Jim Fassel the past two weeks.