The Green Bay Packers have won the NFC North each of the last three years, but their streak is about to come to an end. It could be official as soon as Sunday, as the Minnesota Vikings have a chance to knock the Packers out of the division title race with a win or a tie on Sunday.
However, the Vikings can do more than just that — they can clinch the division for themselves on Sunday with a little bit of help from one of the other teams in the division. In fact, they could end up being the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff spot and a division title, with the opportunity to do so with an impressive five weeks to go in the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Lions are their closest competition for the time being, and Detroit fans find themselves hoping for a strong stretch run that could put them back in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. It might not even come at the expense of their highest draft pick this season, either, as they acquired what looks to be a very high pick in a trade last offseason.
Finally, the Chicago Bears are in shambles, dealing with major injuries on both sides of the football. Justin Fields missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury and may not play against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but Chicago has a handful of other starters who will definitely miss the upcoming rivalry game as well.
Here’s a look at where the Packers’ NFC North rivals stand heading into week 13.
Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
Last week: won vs. Patriots 33-26 on Thursday night
Week 13: home vs. New York Jets
Playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 13 of 2022 NFL season | NFL.com
The Vikings could already lock up the NFC North this weekend, needing a win and a loss by the Lions to do it.
Vikings Bounce Back in an Important Win, But Improvement Needed for Postseason Run - Daily Norseman
The Vikings’ defense still gave up 26 points to the Patriots last Thursday night, showing that the team needs some substantial improvement on that side of the ball if they want to make a deep playoff run.
Top 10 Offensive Player of the Year favorites and their odds | ESPN
Justin Jefferson has the second-best odds for the award, trailing only Tyreek Hill of the Dolphins.
Detroit Lions (4-7)
Last week: lost vs. Bills 28-25 (OT) on Thursday
Week 13: home vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Biggest reasons to be excited about the Detroit Lions’ final 6 games - Pride Of Detroit
Lions fans are excited about the offense, but also the possibility of a playoff run and the expected return of Jameson Williams.
Updating the Detroit Lions draft slots after Week 12 | Lions Wire
The Lions’ own first round pick is currently 13th, but they also have the Rams’ first-round pick, which would be a top-three selection after that team’s abysmal first 11 games.
Chicago Bears (3-8)
Last week: lost at Jets 31-10
Week 13: home vs. Green Bay Packers
Darnell Mooney, Justin Fields, Eddie Jackson & more | Chicagobears.com
The Packers won’t have to deal with Mooney, the Bears’ top receiver, as he had ankle surgery and will be out for the rest of the year.
Report: Eddie Jackson ‘out indefinitely‘ - Windy City Gridiron
The Mooney news came out a few days ago, and now safety Eddie Jackson will be out for some time with a Lisfranc injury.
Where the Chicago Bears rank statistically after Week 12 | Bears Wire
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Packers, Chicago ranks dead last in passing offense but first in rushing offense in the NFL, but that puts them just 24th overall in yards and 19th in points per game. Meanwhile, they are 27th in points allowed and second-to-last in third down defense.