Our experts offer insight on the Vikings' surge, the Lions' struggles and Joe Gibbs' future.
Are the Vikings a legit threat in the NFC?
Sean Salisbury: Yes, the Vikings are definitely a legitimate threat in the NFC. They have a great rushing attack with Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson, and the defense is playing excellent football. This team is starting to come together at the right time and will be dangerous for any NFC team to play down the stretch.
Eric Allen: The Vikings are one of the better teams in the NFC right now and that's because of the improved maturity of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Over the past few games he's shown why this team believed he could get the job done because of his ability to avoid costly mistakes. He's spreading the ball around and utilizing the excellent running backs he has. The game is obviously much easier for a quarterback when he has a dominant rushing attack that a defense has to worry about. Jackson is taking full advantage of that now.
What's happened to the Lions?
Salisbury: The Lions' main problem is their inability to establish the run. They are throwing the ball the majority of the time and it is costing them big because opposing defenses are able to easily take advantage of this and act accordingly by staying in nickel packages. When the Lions are at their best, they are balanced on offense team. We're seeing the decline because of that lack of balance.
Allen: The lack of a running game is the reason the Lions have played so inconsistently this season. They were a successful team when they were getting Kevin Jones the ball on a consistent basis and then throwing the ball. Now they are a pass-first team and it's obviously hurting their offensive effectiveness.
Will Joe Gibbs be back in 2008?
Salisbury: I think Gibbs will still be with the team next season, but it will be in another position and not as head coach. It's a shame that it looks like a great Hall of Famer like Gibbs will probably not be able to go out as a winner, which he would love to do for a franchise that he clearly loves.
Allen: It does seem like it's time for a change for the Redskins. The Redskins and Gibbs have been synonymous with success in the past, but right now that isn't the case. While Gibbs could probably still serve a great purpose for the Redskins in a front-office capacity, it's time for another head coach in Washington.