Extra Points

Gameday

December 19, 2005|By KEN MURRAY

VIKINGS GO SOFT

After their 18-3 loss to the Steelers, it's apparent the Vikings got back in the playoff chase with an oh-so-soft schedule that didn't include a contending team since their previous loss in Week 8 to the Panthers. Count them out.

JAGUARS' FATE

The Jaguars are virtually locked into the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round trip to Foxborough to face the Patriots. Unless they find some offense between now and then, it'll be one and done. And QB Byron Leftwich isn't expected back this season.

NOT SO SAINTLY

Saints owner Tom Benson runs his franchise like one of his car dealerships. He's a bottom-line guy who doesn't inspire trust or loyalty among his employees. He's about to abandon New Orleans even as the NFL tries to steer him back. It could get real ugly.

A YEAR AWAY

As nice a run as the Buccaneers have made, they're a year away from being a serious Super Bowl threat. Chris Simms will benefit from being the No. 1 quarterback from training camp and should make significant strides next year.

NO DEFENSE

Kansas City's bid for the playoffs is doomed because the Chiefs have become a doormat on defense again. In the past three weeks, they've allowed an average of 413 yards and 28.3 points, and have gone 1-2.

CHANGE BREWING

The arrival of Dan Reeves as a consultant in Houston indirectly helped the Texans get their second win. But it likely signals the end for general manager Charley Casserly, whose decisions are suspect.

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