For many across the country, it was a happy Thanksgiving despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 this year. However, the holiday weekend proved to be one of the more defining weeks of the season in the NFC North.
The Green Bay Packers (8-3) undoubtedly came out of the weekend in the best shape, cruising to a 41-25 victory over their storied rivals from Chicago and further solidifying their top-dog position in the divisional standings with just five regular season games remaining. For the Bears, it was another “wake-up call” with the team’s playoff chances diminishing by the week, but recent history suggests the Bears will make a front-office move at some point after pushing their midseason slide to five games.
However, the Detroit Lions beat the Bears to the punch, firing Matt Patricia after two seasons and change with the franchise. As the Lions search for their next head coach, a former Wisconsin Badger will get an opportunity to call the shots.
More on the coaching shuffle and a last-minute Minnesota win can be found in today’s NFC North recap.
Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
Won 28-27 vs. Carolina; Next vs. Jacksonville
Beebe’s first NFL touchdown couldn’t have come at a better time, as the wide receiver caught the go-ahead score minutes after muffing a punt.
Despite the Panthers returning two fumbles for touchdowns, the Vikings’ pulled out the win with a lot of help from Kirk Cousins and a stout defense.
With the Vikings back in the playoff hunt, here are a few breakdowns of how Minnesota could earn the sixth or seventh seeds.
Chicago Bears (5-6)
Lost 41-25 at Green Bay; Next vs. Detroit
After five straight losses, the head coach challenged his entire staff and roster to remember what is on the line this season after a “flat-out embarrassing” loss.
Financial constraints will need to be considered, but each of the past three times Chicago has suffered a five-game losing streak, jobs opened up.
The absence of Hicks was evident on Sunday night when the Packers rushed for 182 yards and found repeated openings up the middle.
Detroit Lions (4-7)
Lost 41-25 vs. Houston; Next at Chicago
Several tweets and social media likes rang in from current and former players upon news that Patricia would no longer be the Lions’ head coach.
The franchise quarterback will finish out the season as usual, but there is some level of uncertainty in terms of what Stafford’s roster status will be in 2021 with a new coach and general manager.
The former Wisconsin Badger gets his first crack at a head coaching gig, taking over the Lions on an interim basis.