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NFC North Roundup, Week 14: Division title remains undecided for another week

Minnesota needed some help to lock up the North in week 13. They didn’t get it, but they can take care of business on Sunday.

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Last Sunday was the first chance that a team had in the 2022 NFL season to clinch a division title. The Minnesota Vikings needed a win and a loss by the Detroit Lions to lock up the NFC North with five weeks left in the season, but Detroit’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars denied the Vikings that opportunity.

However, Minnesota has a chance to lock in the North once again this week, when they visit those very same Lions. Getting to 11 wins would lock up the division title for Minnesota regardless of their opponent this week, but doing so against the Lions, the only other team in the division with a theoretical chance to catch the Vikings, would be an added bonus.

One other mildly interesting storyline in that Vikings-Lions matchup is T.J. Hockenson’s return to Detroit. The Lions traded the tight end to Minnesota earlier this season, and Sunday’s game will be his first at Ford Field as a member of an opposing team.

Here’s a look at how those two teams fared in week 13 as well as some more discussion of the Chicago Bears’ status following their loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

Week 13: won vs. Jets 27-22
Week 14: at Lions

Skol Schemes, Week 13: Red Zone Radiance - Daily Norseman
The Vikings' defense held the Jets in the red zone, allowing only one touchdown to the Jets on six attempts. It's worth noting, however, that one of those stops only came as the result of a bad drop by Jets receiver Braxton Berrios on the would-be game-winning touchdown.

Vikings' comfort in high-leverage situations continues to pay off - ESPN
The Vikings keep finishing in close games, but how sustainable can their late-game success really be?

Playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 14 of 2022 NFL season |
Like last week, the Vikings have a chance to clinch the NFC North. Unlike last week, they don’t need help from the Lions, both because Minnesota won last week and because the two teams play each other on Sunday.

Detroit Lions (5-7)

Week 13: won vs. Jaguars 40-14
Week 14: vs. Vikings

Detroit Lions report card, position grades: Dominant 3-phase performance vs. Jaguars - Pride Of Detroit
It was a huge win for Detroit over the Jaguars on Sunday in which Jared Goff played great and the young defense stepped up. They'll have a much tougher test next week against the Vikings, however.

Lions broke quite a few long streaks in the win over the Jaguars | Lions Wire
In Sunday's win, the Lions did a bunch of things that they haven't done in several years, including scoring 40 points in multiple games (not since 2013) and scoring 25 in four straight games (not since 2011-12).

Chicago Bears (3-10)

Week 13: lost vs. Packers 28-19
Week 14: Bye

10 Bears Takes: Justin Fields returns, second-half miscues, and much more - Windy City Gridiron
Bears fans certainly weren't happy about losing to Aaron Rodgers (yet again) but they're trying to find some silver linings in the misery of a blown 13-point lead.

Bears QB Justin Fields made NFL history again vs. Packers | Bears Wire
Fields recorded his third rushing touchdown of 50 or more yards this season and scored a touchdown on the ground for his sixth straight game, making him the only QB in league history to accomplish either feat.