Week 15 NFC North Review: Packers Clinch Division Title

USA TODAY Sports

The division crown is all sewn up after this week's games.

That's it, guys. the Packers have clinched the NFC North and are looking ahead to the possibility of running the table against Tennessee and Minnesota and fighting for a first-round bye. Let's take a little look back at the games from Sunday that involved the teams in the Black and Blue division.

Green Bay Packers 21, @ Chicago Bears 13

Aaron Rodgers took a little while to get going, but once he got in gear the Bears' battered defense didn't stand much of a chance. Rodgers found James Jones three times for touchdowns and kept his connection with Randall Cobb strong, as Cobb caught six balls for 115 yards.

After an early touchdown to Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler turned in another lackluster performance while Marshall saw double-coverage throughout much of the game. Alshon Jeffery was matched up one-on-one with Sam Shields for the entire second half, but Jeffery was flagged three times for offensive pass interference and probably should have been penalized a fourth time. Clay Matthews brought the Packers' pass rush came back with a vengeance as well, as he recorded two sacks to go along with 1.5 from Mike Neal.

Minnesota Vikings 36, @ St. Louis Rams 22

You know that Adrian Peterson guy? He's really freaking good. Peterson led the Vikings with another 200+ yard day, and broke off another 82-yard touchdown run to help the Vikings into a tie with the Bears for second place in the division and into the driver's seat for a Wild Card playoff spot. Blair Walsh was a beast today, hitting field goals from 53, 51, 50, 42, and 38 yards to provide a big boost for the Vikings' offense.

Sam Bradford had a big day statistically, but much of that came late in the game as he threw two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Conversely, the Vikings' defense was good, sacking Bradford four times and forcing two turnovers. Combined with the Bears' loss and the Cowboys' win over Pittsburgh later in the day, the Vikings now sit in 6th in the NFC, as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bears. Next week, the Vikings travel to Houston while Chicago is on the road at Arizona.

@ Arizona Cardinals 38, Detroit Lions 10

The Lions' free-fall continues, as they are the first team to lose to Arizona since week 4. The stars of the game for Arizona were Beanie Wells, who rushed for three touchdowns, and the defense, which took two interceptions back for touchdowns. Matthew Stafford completed only 24 of his 50 pass attempts, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns. Calvin Johnson had another big day, as he racked up 10 catches and 121 yards, but no other Lion caught more than three passes.

The Lions' meltdown was a team effort, though. Wells' three scores were each on drives of two plays or fewer; one came off an interception, another after a muffed punt by Stefan Logan, and the third immediately after Stafford was sacked on a failed fourth-down conversion from the Lions' 40-yard line.

Standings

Team W L T GB
Green Bay Packers 10 4 0 -
Minnesota Vikings 8 6 0 2
Chicago Bears 8 6 0 2
Detroit Lions 4 10 0 6

Playoff Picture

The Packers have now clinched the NFC North, and one of the top four spots in the NFC playoffs. As it stands today, they sit in the 3rd spot, a half-game behind the San Francisco 49ers in the fight for a first-round bye. The Vikings currently sit in control of a wild-card berth as the #6 seed.

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