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NFC North Rundown: Bears remain in the playoff hunt after all but eliminating Vikings

Chicago has plenty of work left to do to secure a postseason berth, but beating Minnesota was the first step.

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

Second-half performance remains an area requiring improvement, but the Green Bay Packers were able to overcome a sloppy final two quarters to defeat the Carolina Panthers, 24-16, on Saturday night. The win lifted the Packers to an 11-3 record with just two games to play, maintaining the team’s hopes for the top playoff seed and an uber-important first-round bye.

Behind them, the Chicago Bears became the division’s only true additional playoff contender with a win over Minnesota. For the Bears, they will live to die another day with an offensive re-awakening. For the Vikings, the loss was a microcosm of their season to date and points to a number of areas to be addressed in the coming months.

More on those newsworthy stories, in addition to an assistant coach firing in Detroit, is featured in today’s divisional rundown.

Chicago Bears (7-7)

Won 33-27 at Minnesota; Next at Jacksonville

Bears beat Vikings, stay alive in playoff race

The Packers-Bears rematch in the final week of the season just got a little more interesting as the Bears improved to a .500 record and stayed in the hunt for a final playoff spot.

Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts after their 33-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings

All phases of the offense have suddenly found their rhythm, including David Montgomery who rushed 32 times for a career-high 146 yards on Sunday.

Bears to send two players to 2021 Pro Bowl

Allen Robinson was the team’s biggest snub in this year’s list of Pro Bowl nominees.

Minnesota Vikings (6-8)

Lost 33-27 vs. Chicago; Next at New Orleans

Vikings’ Playoff Hopes Vanish in Home Loss to Bears

Sunday’s loss exposed a few glaring priorities for Minnesota in the offseason as the team virtually dropped out of the postseason race.

Only one path to the playoffs is open for the Vikings

So you’re telling me there’s a chance? Here’s the scenario that gets the Vikings to the playoffs.

Six harsh truths the Vikings have to confront after the season

Both sides of the line should be addressed once the season concludes, particularly if Minnesota is to move forward with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.

Detroit Lions (5-9)

Lost 46-25 at Tennessee; Next vs. Tampa Bay

Here’s job No. 1 for Detroit Lions’ next general manager after loss to Titans

Finding a way to further utilize two young players on offense and finding a way to extend one of the team’s few productive defensive pieces are some of the tasks for new Lions management.

Detroit Lions’ decision to fire Brayden Coombs was about more than Sunday’s rogue play call

After what was deemed to be an insubordinate decision to fake a punt, the special teams coordinator was fired. But there appears to be more behind the decision than just one play.

Detroit Lions have three 2020 Pro Bowlers: T.J. Hockenson, Frank Ragnow, Jack Fox

Last year’s first-round pick made the cut after emerging as one of the NFC’s top tight ends this season.