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NFC North Playoff Picture: Packers are back in control of their own destiny

Green Bay's win and Detroit's loss on Sunday opens up the race for the division once again.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With the Packers winning and the Lions and Vikings going down, the NFC North division gets much clearer.

Lions - 9-5

Packers - 8-6

Vikings - 7-7

The biggest problem for the Vikings is that they trail the Lions by two games with two games remaining, and either the Packers or the Lions are assured one more win because they play each other. Minnesota has a game against the Packers thus far, but the rest of their divisional record is supremely unimpressive. as they were swept by the Lions and lost their only game against the Bears thus far. They are, for all practical purposes, done. They could be a factor in hurting the Packers’ chances next week, but they are simply too far behind to make it themselves.

The Lions are still in control but given that the Lions and Packers play each other week 17, both teams control their own destinies at this point. That said, the Lions are in much rougher shape after dropping a tough game against the Giants. It doesn’t get any easier against the Cowboys in Dallas next week, and even if they do win that game, coming into week 17 with their one game lead intact, they would still likely need to beat the Packers or suffer the head-to-head tiebreaker loss.

The Packers might not even really need to win next week. If Dallas wins, as they should, it’s likely that the Packers would get in anyway on the division record tiebreaker in the event of a three-way tie with the Vikings.

The Bottom line is that the Packers have given themselves several more avenues into the playoffs, and if they continue to win they’re in without question.