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NFC North Rundown: Regular season comes to a close, only Bears make playoffs

A demoralizing home loss to the Bears with the playoffs on the line ended Minnesota’s season prematurely.

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Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Well, it was disappointing for folks cheering on the Green and Gold, but the 2018 NFL regular season has come to an end. And with a 31-0 home loss to the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) certainly did not end on a high note.

But the Packers will not be the only divisional team watching the postseason from home this winter. The Minnesota Vikings spoiled their playoff chances with a loss in front of their home crowd, bringing the first season of Kirk Cousins to a bitter end in dramatic fashion as an argument broke out with receiver Adam Thielen on the sidelines. The Vikings will have some crucial decisions to make on the future of several front office positions this offseason.

With a win over the Vikings, the Chicago Bears will enter the Wild Card round with optimism. But did they actually hurt their chances by knocking Minnesota out of the playoffs?

That question and more is explored in today’s NFC North rundown.

Chicago Bears (12-4)

Won 24-10 at Minnesota; Next vs. Philadelphia in Wild Card round

Opinion: How the Chicago Bears’ win over Minnesota Vikings might turn out to be their loss

Might the Bears have been better off playing a struggling Minnesota team next week in the playoffs than the streaking Eagles? That’s one opinion following Chicago’s convincing win.

Chicago Bears may have huge advantage against Philadelphia Eagles

Although quarterback Nick Foles figures to play against Chicago, his bruised ribs may give the Bears an advantage in first round competition.

Reid all about it: Bears’ win sets up Nagy-Pederson playoff showdown vs. Eagles

A pair of Andy Reid disciples who spent six seasons coaching together will square off next Sunday in the Windy City, a game that should feature plenty of offensive innovation.

Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1)

Lost 24-10 vs. Chicago

Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen exchange was a lowlight of Vikings’ futile ending

What Thielen termed a “good conversation” was captured on the sidelines during the Vikings’ loss and raises even more questions about Cousins’ ability to deliver in Minnesota.

Decisions await Vikings after disappointing season

Minnesota has a Head Coach and a General Manager entering the final year of their contracts, as well as an Offensive Coordinator vacancy to fill after taking a sharp decline this season.

Vikings Defense Comes Up Short in Season-Finale

A crucial third-quarter drive in which the Bears’ offense converted five third downs may have been a deciding factor in Sunday’s ball game.

Detroit Lions (6-10)

Won 31-0 at Green Bay

FOUR DOWNS: Lions shut out Packers in Green Bay

A pivotal special teams trick helped lead the Lions to their first shutout win against Green Bay since 1973.

Detroit Lions get costly win and eighth pick in 2019 draft

Maybe a silver lining in the Packers’ loss was that it prevented Detroit from owning a top-five selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Detroit Lions must fix Matthew Stafford to become contender again

Sharing a similarity with Green Bay, the Lions must get their starting quarterback back to the level he once was to start competing for division titles again.