The Atlanta Falcons recovered from a disappointing 2015, when they started 5-0 only to finish 8-8, to make it to the Super Bowl last season.
One year later, the Minnesota Vikings are trying to follow the same script. The Vikings also had an 8-8 finish following a 5-0 start in 2016. Now, they have the NFC's second-best record.
The Vikings will put their seven-game winning streak on the line Sunday when they face the Falcons, who have won three straight.
"I think we learned a lot from that experience," said linebacker Anthony Barr of Minnesota's 2016 collapse. "And I think we're better for it. I think all the adversity that was thrown our way, we may not have overcome it at the moment, but it built us stronger for moments like these."
The Vikings (9-2) took a three-game lead over Detroit in the NFC North by beating the Lions 30-23 last week. Minnesota boasts a high-scoring offense led by quarterback Case Keenum and a defense which ranks fifth in the league.
Keenum is 7-2 as a starter and has thrown 14 touchdown passes with five interceptions in that span.
The Falcons (7-4) are encouraged by their revived offense. Julio Jones was the key in last week's 34-20 win over Tampa Bay, catching 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is expected to lead the Vikings' coverage on Jones.
Running back Devonta Freeman, who has missed the last two games, could return this week after being cleared from the concussion protocol.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he's seen a renewed commitment from his team "to make sure our style of how we play really comes across clearly."
"About three weeks ago, we had discussed that wasn't coming through as clearly as we'd like," Quinn said. "A kick-ass run; the play-action that goes with it; effectiveness on third down offensively; defense that's driven by the turnovers; the physicality we want to play with; hits on the quarterback. We felt like over the last few weeks that identity offensively and defensively is more coming to life."