Week 12 NFC North Review: Bears Regain Division Lead

Dilip Vishwanat

The NFC North had a rough week, but the Bears won to retake the top spot.

On Sunday morning, the possibility existed that there could be a three-way tie for the NFC North lead. Now here we are on Monday, and the Bears have taken a one-game lead in the division with five games to play. Here are your game recaps from this week.

Houston Texans 34, @ Detroit Lions 31 (OT)

The Lions fought hard with the Texans, making the early game on Thanksgiving much more eventful than most people expected. The Texans' pass defense continued to struggle, allowing Matthew Stafford to throw for 441 yards and two touchdowns. However, that came on 61 attempts, and he completed just over 50% of them (31/61). Both Calvin Johnson and Ryan Broyles had big days, with Broyles coming in his first career start.

Ultimately, Arian Foster tied the game with a late goal-line touchdown to send the game into overtime. The extra period was a sloppy affair though, as Matt Schaub threw an interception and each kicker missed a long field goal (including Jason Hanson hitting the right upright on a 47-yarder). After Hanson's miss, the Texans got a couple of first downs through the air before ending the game with a short field goal by Shayne Graham. This loss dropped the Lions to 4-7 on the season.

@ Chicago Bears 28, Minnesota Vikings 10

Two things need to happen for the Vikings to start winning games again. First, Percy Harvin needs to get healthy and give Christian Ponder a legitimate playmaker to throw to. Second. the Vikings need to avoid getting behind early and forcing Ponder throw the ball 40 times. In this game, the Bears jumped out to a 10-3 lead after the first quarter, which expanded to 24-3 by halftime. With the Vikings' offense lacking any big-play threats in the passing game, that is a recipe for disaster.

Ponder averaged a measly 3.7 yards on his 43 pass attempts on Sunday. While Adrian Peterson ran 18 times for 108 yards and Ponder had two carries for 6 yards, no other player ran the ball. Comparatively, the Bears ran the ball 39 times and passed only 31. Yes, forcing three turnovers had something to do with it, but the Vikings' defense will need to limit opponents' scoring drives early on if Minnesota is to have any shot at a playoff spot. With the win, the Bears moved to 8-3, while the Vikings fell to 6-5.

@ New York Giants 38, Green Bay Packers 10

This game can be pretty much wrapped up in one analogy: the Packers' offensive line was a tire fire. That's enough analysis for me. Green Bay slips back a game to 7-4.

Division Standings

Team W L T GB
Chicago Bears 8 3 0 -
Green Bay Packers 7 4 0 1
Minnesota Vikings 6 5 0 2
Detroit Lions 4 7 0 4
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