A 16-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday evening added another chapter to a disappointing season for the Green Bay Packers, as they fell to 7-8 and now attempt to salvage a .500 record this week.
With the win for the Vikings, Minnesota kept pace in their quest for a first round playoff bye after Philadelphia locked up the top NFC spot on Monday night. The lone playoff representative from the division will head into the final week of the regular season without a couple of newly injured players.
Meanwhile, a shocking, demoralizing loss to Cincinnati eliminated Detroit from reaching the postseason after blowing an early fourth quarter lead. Detroit management now faces a difficult decision on the head coaching leadership of the team going forward.
Detroit Lions (8-7)
Lost at Cincinnati, 26-17; Next vs. Green Bay
After a loss to a down-and-out Bengals squad, the Lions will have to answer a question three years in the making: will Jim Caldwell be back next season?
In addition to making a coaching decision, the Lions’ General Manager may need to make adjustments to the running game and pass rush.
With the Lions eliminated from the playoffs, CBS Sports dives into the Lions’ positions of need, including individual players to watch (hint: there is a Wisconsin twist).
Minnesota Vikings (12-3)
Won at Green Bay, 16-0; Next vs. Chicago
The Vikings have a number of scenarios in their favor for locking up the second seed in the NFC playoff picture. Locking up home-field advantage - potentially all the way into the Super Bowl - is something Minnesota will have on their minds this week.
Defeating the Packers wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies for the Vikings, as they lost starting guard Nick Easton for the remainder of the season and lost their long snapper to a dislocated shoulder.
Despite the successes of Case Keenum, Minnesota could choose to activate their enormous trade piece from a season ago and clear all three of their quarterbacks for action. Would the Vikings dare shake things up under center at this point?
Chicago Bears (5-10)
Won vs. Cleveland, 20-3; Next at Minnesota
The Bears have defeated two playoff opponents this season and improved their record by two wins from a season ago. After weeks of articles condemning John Fox and his staff, this one asks whether Chicago would damage its rebuild with a coaching change.
Expanding upon this season’s improvement, the Bears have hit on a number of rookies with bright futures and have some positive accomplishments to reminisce about this offseason.
The Bears are now projected for the ninth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, a spot that landed them budding star Leonard Floyd in 2016 and figures to land Chicago another piece to the rebuilding puzzle.