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NFC North Rundown, Week 14: Streaks come to an end for Vikings and Bears

Minnesota’s extended win streak ended on the same day Chicago snapped its losing skid.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With a thrilling 27-21 overtime victory that saved their season, the Green Bay Packers moved to 7-6 and kept pace with their fellow postseason contenders. On a day in which Green Bay received little help from its NFC competitors, the Packers did just enough to remain in the postseason hunt with fellow 7-6 NFC North rival Detroit.

Elsewhere in the division, Minnesota’s eight-game winning streak was snapped in Carolina after a number of injuries and surprising twists and turns. Chicago did just the opposite, ending a five-game losing streak with a dominating rushing performance against the Bengals.

More on those intriguing storylines and a staggering statistic for Golden Tate in today’s NFC North Rundown.

Minnesota Vikings (10-3)

Lost at Carolina 31-24; Next vs. Cincinnati

Drops, rushing plays stand out in Vikings’ loss.

Minnesota’s winning streak came to an end as uncharacteristic drops and long rushing plays doomed the Vikings against Carolina.

The pass protection faltered as the Vikings lost their third starting offensive lineman on Sunday.

Minnesota entered the game without two starting offensive linemen and lost a third, Riley Reiff, to injury in the third quarter. With its line out of place, the Vikings gave up a season-high six sacks.

Sack artist Everson Griffen is battling plantar fasciitis.

Minnesota’s top pass rusher has been dealing with a foot injury since Week 11. Griffen has a career-high 13 sacks this season despite missing one game with the injury.

Detroit Lions (7-6)

Won at Tampa Bay 24-21; Next vs. Chicago

Observations: Ebron turns season around; Riddick becoming team’s top back.

At the trade deadline, Eric Ebron appeared to be dead weight on the Lions’ roster after a string of drops. Since then, he has been on a tear, hauling in another 10 passes on Sunday. Meanwhile, Theo Riddick has seemingly surpassed Ameer Abdullah as Detroit’s most effective runner.

Golden Tate scores his first touchdown for the Lions......outdoors.

After 62 games in almost four years with Detroit, Tate finally caught his first touchdown in an outdoor regular season contest in the United States on Sunday.

Darius Slay cashes in after his fifth interception of the season.

The Lions’ shutdown corner picked off pass number five this season and secured a $550,000 bonus.

Chicago Bears (4-9)

Won 33-7 at Cincinnati; Next at Detroit

Ryan Pace gives his thoughts on the Bears and where the franchise can go from here.

Chicago’s General Manager cites the confidence level of the team’s youth as an issue holding the team back this season, but remains excited about the Bears’ young talent.

Rookie Adam Shaheen gets a boost in snaps and Chicago gets a boost in production.

After just nine snaps the previous week, the Bears’ young tight end played 32 snaps and hauled in a touchdown in Chicago’s win.

Chicago has a monster day on the ground behind Jordan Howard.

The Bears racked up 232 yards, which was their highest total of the season and second most since 1988. Howard gained 147 yards on 23 carries including a couple of scores. That’s just one of the Chicago Tribune’s 10 observations from Sunday’s game.