It was a week of routs within the NFC North, as no outcome was settled by fewer than 19 points. While the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears won their matchups in a landslide, it was another story for Detroit and Minnesota, who were absolutely crushed.
For the Packers (12-3), this weekend poses a tough test in the final chapter of the regular season. Green Bay is still in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the NFC and can clinch with a win this week, but faces its storied rival at at time in which Chicago has hit its stride. With the Bears hungry for a win to clinch their own playoff spot, Sunday should present a storyline for years to come.
More on the Bears’ postseason chances in the event of a loss and a check-in on the gloomy Lions and Vikings can be found in today’s final-week rundown.
Chicago Bears (8-7)
Won 41-17 at Jacksonville; Next vs. Green Bay
Fresh off a Pro Bowl snub, linebacker Roquan Smith had two interceptions that ultimately led to points in the Bears’ victory.
A Chicago win or an Arizona loss would land the Bears in the wildcard. But Arizona’s chances of winning took a big leap forward with an injury to Los Angeles’s Jared Goff on Sunday.
Head Coach Matt Nagy says it would be “special” if Trubisky led the team to another win and playoff berth this weekend. A lot has certainly happened since the last Packers-Bears meeting for the young quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings (6-9)
Lost 52-33 at New Orleans; Next at Detroit
Saints vs. Vikings score: New Orleans clinches NFC South behind Alvin Kamara’s historic six-touchdown day
Six scores from Kamara were too difficult to overcome for the Vikings, even with 33 points of their own.
Adding talent to a front seven that ranks 30th in pressured dropbacks will be an important part of the Vikings’ offseason, as will be finding a solution to Anthony Barr’s 2021 cap hit.
Battling for a win in the season finale would be a good indicator of the team’s makeup, but it will also be a chance for young players, like Adam Thielen a few years back, to make a statement.
Detroit Lions (5-10)
Lost 47-7 vs. Tampa Bay; Next vs. Minnesota
Right now, the Lions are primed for the seventh pick in the draft, but a win could drop them as far as 13th and out of a more marquee range.
The safety started seven straight games for Detroit, but the Lions have opted to go in a different direction.
After suffering an ankle injury last week, and a rib injury a few weeks ago, it might be time to allow Stafford to heal in a low-stakes final week of the season.