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NFC North Rundown, Week 11: Divisional supremacy on the line Thursday

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An NFC North title and playoff seedings are on the line as surging Minnesota travels to Detroit for a Thanksgiving duel.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After a horrendous 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers find themselves looking up to the leaders in the NFC North. The defeat dropped the Green and Gold to 5-5 and third place in the division, a crushing blow as the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions have reached six straight and three straight wins, respectively.

As such, this week’s Thanksgiving entertainment featuring the Vikings and Lions is shaping up to be a dandy. A Vikings win all but crowns Minnesota as divisional champs with a three-game lead over Detroit. With certainty, Case Keenum will be the Vikings’ starting quarterback heading into Thursday, but the effect of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon on the ground figures to be a pivotal factor in the outcome against a vulnerable Detroit rush defense.

A few of those notes, plus the Chicago Bears make a kicking change, in today’s rundown.


Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

Won vs. LA Rams 24-7; Next at Detroit

The Vikings head to Detroit on a short week, looking to reverse recent fortunes under Mike Zimmer.

Minnesota is 2-5 against the Lions under Zimmer and is looking to avenge a Thanksgiving loss last season with several “banged-up” defensive players.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Case Keenum delivers confidence in himself at the podium after improving to 6-2 as a starter and passing for 280 yards and a touchdown without a turnover against his former team.

Here are five takeaways from Minnesota’s victory over a streaking Rams squad.

The oldest player on the field helped boost the Vikings’ defense in an impressive performance against the run, while the offense received some long-awaited power from its running game.


Chicago Bears (3-7)

Lost 27-24 vs. Detroit; Next at Philadelphia

Mitch Trubisky, Tarik Cohen step up on offense in this week’s observations.

While the two offensive rookies showed continued growth, the Bears still couldn’t pull out a close win. Luckily, defensive stalwart Leonard Floyd avoided a major knee injury.

After a missed game-tying field goal, the Bears make a kicking change.

With three missed kicks in the past four games, including one that could have sent the Bears to overtime on Sunday, Connor Barth was released by Chicago. Former Chief Cairo Santos becomes the newest Windy City kicker.

Speaking of the missed kick, Staley Da Bear wasn’t too pleased.

The Bears’ mascot had perhaps the most devastated reaction to Barth’s missed field goal. Watch the video in the link below.


Detroit Lions (6-4)

Won 27-24 at Chicago; Next vs. Minnesota

Lions and Cowboys renew their holiday tradition this Thursday.

Here is a history lesson in a nutshell on why each of these NFL teams makes Thanksgiving an annual game day.

Detroit sweeps its divisional opponents on the road for the first time in 50 years.

With its win over Chicago on Sunday, the boys from the Motor City finished a divisional road sweep in 2017 for the franchise’s first time in the Super Bowl era.

The Lions’ defense allows 200+ yards rushing for the second consecutive week.

“No team has ever emerged victorious in three straight conceding that much success on the ground,” says Justin Rogers of the Detroit Free Press. Heading into a critical week with playoff implications, Detroit must find a way to re-establish its fading rush defense.