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NFC North Rundown, Week 13: Two coaches are now on the hot seat

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As the season nears its conclusion, Detroit and Chicago may be looking at new coaching regimes - perhaps one sooner than later.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Not only did the Green Bay Packers’ 26-20 overtime victory get the team back to winning ways, it pulled the Green and Gold back into the NFC playoff picture.

At 6-6, the Packers are two games behind leaders Carolina and Seattle for a wildcard spot in the playoffs with four games remaining. With several playoff contenders losing last week and a date with the 0-12 Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Green Bay has an opportunity to claw its way back into the hunt again this week before potentially getting Aaron Rodgers back from injury.

Elsewhere around the NFC North, a Detroit Lions loss helped improve Green Bay’s standing in the playoff race. With the Lions struggling as of late and dropping into a tie with the Packers for second place in the division, head coach uncertainty is brewing. In Chicago, that uncertainty has blossomed into full-blown frustration as the Bears dropped yet another close game on Sunday.

While Minnesota fights for a top playoff seed in the NFC, coaching takes center stage in this week’s divisional rundown.


Detroit Lions (6-6)

Lost 44-20 at Baltimore; Next at Tampa Bay

Without Tavon Wilson at safety, the Lions defense suffered.

Instead of a two-high safety defense, the Lions went with one high safety and extra nickel back coverage underneath. It didn’t pay off, as Joe Flacco dissected the defense for several big gains in the contest.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2017/12/detroit_lions_snap_counts_4.html

An undrafted rookie running back gets his first shot and delivers.

Tion Green made his first professional debut on Sunday and gained 55 yards on 11 carries. Green’s 33-yard run in the second quarter was the second-highest rush from a Lions running back this season, and his six-yard touchdown was a relief to the Detroit red zone woes.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2017/12/lions_rookie_rb_tion_green_mak.html

Don’t look now, but Jim Caldwell is on the hot seat.

Despite a strong start to the season, Detroit has fallen from grace. With a 6-6 record and a lopsided loss to Baltimore last week, fans are calling for change.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/sports/blowout-loss-to-ravens-places-lions-coach-jim-caldwell-firmly-on-hot-seat


Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

Won 14-9 at Atlanta; Next at Carolina

Vikings assume the top spot in the NFC with tiebreaker over the Eagles.

The Vikings jumped into first place with their eighth-straight win. Here’s some insight into the tiebreaker with Philadelphia and what the playoff picture looks like as the Vikings fight to appear in the Minnesota-hosted Super Bowl.

https://www.sbnation.com/2017/12/4/16732648/nfc-nfl-playoff-picture-standings-2017-week-13-vikings-eagles-seahawks

The Vikings’ secondary shut down Julio Jones in the victory.

A week after Jones went off for 253 receiving yards on 15 targets, the star receiver was held to just six targets and two catches for 24 yards. Add Jones to the list of receivers held in check by Xavier Rhodes this season.

http://www.espn.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/79773/another-game-another-top-wr-shut-down-by-xavier-rhodes-and-vikings

Defense holds firm on third down, while Keenum shines once again.

Rhodes was only one man in a Minnesota defense that denied Matt Ryan first downs and touchdown passes time and time again. Meanwhile, Keenum posted a passer rating above 100 for the fourth consecutive week.

https://www.foxsports.com/north/gallery/minnesota-vikings-atlanta-falcons-xavier-rhodes-julio-jones-case-keenum-matt-ryan-upon-further-review-120417


Chicago Bears (3-9)

Lost 15-14 vs. San Francisco; Next at Cincinnati

Amid firing of Ben McAdoo in New York, the Bears’ faithful wants an in-season change.

Steve Rosenbloom asks if Virginia McCaskey is upset enough with the Bears’ coaching staff to make a change before the end of the year, especially in light of Mitch Trubisky’s routine struggles.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/rosenblog/ct-spt-bears-49ers-fire-john-fox-rosenbloom-20171203-story.html

Tarik Cohen provides shades of Devin Hester with an improbable punt return.

Watch the video in the link below as the Bears’ rookie turns a punt return disaster into six points.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/watch-tarik-cohen-does-devin-hester-impression-with-improbable-td-return/

Robbie Gould gets sweet revenge with a game-winning field goal.

The ex-Bear knocked home five field goals, including the game winner with four seconds remaining, as Chicago battled its own kicking issues and fell yet again.

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/20171203/rozner-another-chicago-bears-sunday-hardly-good-as-gould