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NFC North Rundown, Week 12: Vikings in control as Lions enter battle for postseason

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With a road win in Detroit on Thanksgiving, Minnesota is firmly in position to secure an NFC North title.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

If there is such thing as a moral victory, the Green Bay Packers can find comfort in a 31-28 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that came down to the final seconds. But it was not a victory in the NFC North standings, as the Packers dropped to 5-6 with five games remaining in the regular season. Green Bay finds itself third in the division as it takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings, meanwhile, asserted themselves as this season’s elite team in the NFC North, taking care of business in a hostile Thanksgiving matchup at Ford Field. The Vikings captured their seventh consecutive victory to keep pace for a first round playoff bye. On the other hand, the Lions dropped to 6-5 and seemingly out of contention for the NFC North crown. The loss also makes the team’s postseason chances that much tougher heading into the final stretch.

Details on the Lions’ precarious position and more in today’s NFC North update.

Chicago Bears (3-8)

Lost at Philadelphia 31-3; Next vs. San Francisco

Historically bad rushing attack leads to lopsided loss against Philadelphia.

The Bears rushed for just six yards, the second fewest in franchise history on Sunday in a lopsided game both in the total yardage stats and on the scoreboard.

http://www.espn.com/blog/chicago-bears/post/_/id/4707132/bears-offense-historically-bad-in-blowout-loss-to-eagles

The gap between the Bears and the NFL's best team appeared expansive.”

Chicagobears.com gives three things that stood out on Sunday, including the apparent mismatch between the two teams as Chicago dropped its fourth-straight game.

http://www.chicagobears.com/news/article-afterfurtherreview/3-things-that-stood-out-in-Week-12-loss/bb444d74-8831-4f5c-9f14-98bb717f69fd

Despite the losing streak, all hope has apparently not been lost around Chicago.

While unlikely, the Bears still have a shot at the playoffs...

http://www.espn.com/blog/chicago-bears/post/_/id/4707147/bears-still-have-far-fetched-path-to-playoffs

Minnesota Vikings (9-2)

Won at Detroit 30-23; Next at Atlanta

Case Keenum’s compete performance leads the Vikings to seventh straight win.

Minnesota extended its divisional lead behind another strong game from Keenum, who continues to be exceptional against the blitz this season.

http://www.espn.com/blog/minnesota-vikings/post/_/id/24596/case-keenum-leads-vikings-to-win-over-detroit-solidifying-grip-on-nfc-north

Unfamiliar large leads have been an adjustment for the Vikings.

Minnesota has had leads of 17 points or more the past three games, but two of those games were settled by a touchdown or less. Kyle Rudolph details that challenge.

https://scout.com/nfl/vikings/Article/Minnesota-Vikings-trying-to-learn-how-to-close-out-games-with-huge-leads-111215492

Trae Waynes beginning to turn the corner like another Vikings defensive back.

The former first round pick’s development has been more rapid this season. General Manager Rick Spielman sees a lot of similarities between Waynes’ early struggles and those of shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes when he first entered the league.

Detroit Lions (6-5)

Lost vs. Minnesota 30-23; Next at Baltimore

Division aside, the Lions face a challenge to reach the playoffs.

After losing to the Vikings on Thanksgiving, Detroit finds itself in the middle of a tight wildcard race as all other serious NFC contenders won on Sunday.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/11/27/lions-face-uphill-impossible-playoff-climb/108076468/

Detroit loses its second starting defensive player for the season with injury.

Starting safety Tavon Wilson will require season-ending surgery on his shoulder, joining Haloti Ngata as the second defensive starter to be shut down by injury this season.

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/11/27/detroit-lions-injuries-tavon-wilson/898161001/

Sprained ankle not expected to sideline Matthew Stafford.

The Lions’ franchise quarterback sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter last week, but is not expected to miss time after the “scary” play.

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/11/27/detroit-lions-matthew-stafford-ankle-feeling-better/900025001/