As the Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) walked out of Soldier Field on Sunday, they did so on the losing end of their rivalry with Chicago for the first time in six games. The Bears’ 24-17 victory not only threw a dagger in the Packers’ playoff chances, but handed Chicago its first division title since 2010. With a matchup in New York against the Jets this week, the Packers will try to avoid going winless on the road in 2018.
Chicago was not the only team to improve its postseason chances on Sunday, as the Minnesota Vikings throttled Miami to hang on to the final wildcard slot. A big, breakout game from a young running back propelled the Vikings to victory. and the team has a chance to secure a playoff spot this week if a few things go according to plan.
A look at Minnesota’s keys to the postseason, and an offseason roster-reshaping in Detroit, can be found in today’s NFC North rundown.
Chicago Bears (10-4)
Won 24-17; Next at San Francisco
The rise of young defensive pillars draws similarities to the Bears’ division-contending teams of the mid-2000s. The best could be yet to come.
A Bears win and a Rams loss this week would put Chicago in position to gain a much easier postseason path.
A 120.4 passer rating for Mitchell Trubisky and an uncharacteristically poor performance from Bears nemesis Aaron Rodgers highlighted Chicago’s playoff-clinching win.
Detroit Lions (5-9)
Lost 14-13 at Buffalo; Next vs. Minnesota
With two games left in the season, Detroit is primed for a top draft pick. Here are a few notable options they could take a look at.
On the other end of the spectrum, here are a handful of veteran players that may be signing a contract elsewhere in the offseason.
The Lions’ offensive line prevented Matthew Stafford from being sacked on Sunday, an impressive feat for a unit with a rookie making his first start at right tackle.
Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1)
Won 41-17 vs. Miami; Next at Detroit
Here are the scenarios for the Vikings to clinch a postseason berth next week and eliminate drama heading into the final week.
Interim Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski made his playcalling debut on Sunday and was successful in getting Minnesota’s second-year back involved early and often, a goal for the Vikings the rest of the season.
Minnesota scored 21 points in the first quarter against Miami after scoring 21 points combined over their past six first quarters. That’s just one observation from the Vikings’ win.