The Bears thumped the hapless Vikings by a final score of 40-14, knocked QB Brett Favre out of his second consecutive game, and officially won the NFC North. They've become the first team to clinch their division title this year. While it officially ends any hope the Packers had of winning the division, it could mean the Bears cruise into Lambeau in two weeks with little motivation.
In 2006, the Packers traveled to Solider Field in week 17 and faced an unprepared Rex Grossman, who was already looking ahead as the Bears had clinched home field advantage. As a result, the Packers cruised to an easier than expected victory. Last season, the Cardinals threw in the towel when they pulled QB Kurt Warner for QB Matt Leinart in their final regular season game. They had nothing to play for either. But it's likely that the Bears will need to win their final two games in order to secure a first round bye. There should be a lot on line for both teams.
But first things first. The Packers know that next Sunday's game against the Giants is like a playoff game for both teams, and that they control their own destiny. The current playoff standings are here. If the Packers don't win next Sunday, they don't deserve to make it to the playoffs.