Mark Craig: In the NFL hype machine, expectations are adjusted every week

Mark Craig, Star Tribune on

Published in Football

MINNEAPOLIS — Think back to the morning of Sept. 12.

That's 45 days ago for humankind, but an eternity for the shifting of perceptions for the NFL's never-ending hyperbole merry-go-round.

That morning, the Vikings were favored by 3 points at Cincinnati.

Remember the vibe? Remember how the Purple absolutely had to win that day and the following week at Arizona because these were deemed beatable opponents to be disposed of before the unbeatable Seahawks arrived at U.S. Bank Stadium?

The Bengals were 4-11-1 a year ago and picked to finish last in the AFC North. The Cardinals had missed the playoffs and were, at best, the third-best team in the NFC West.

Welp, here we are, 45 days later and the teams currently holding the top seeds in the AFC and NFC are … the Bengals and the Cardinals.


The Vikings coulda, shoulda beat them both, but didn't. Then they beat the Seahawks, 30-17. And yet many of us keep on counting wins and losses long before they're won or lost.

The Vikings are 3-3. We've been told many times that their next five games — Dallas, at Baltimore, at the Chargers, Green Bay and at San Francisco – are so B-R-U-T-A-L that going 2-3 should be celebrated.

How can anyone profess to know this? Other than basically every week, when have we all been surprised that the past couldn't predict the present?

Forty-five days ago, we thought the Chiefs were still great, Seattle was good and San Francisco would be great again. Today, they're all just bad.


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