NFC North down to Vikings and Lions as Packers are eliminated
The Vikings and Lions meet in Detroit next Sunday, Dec. 11.
The NFC North is down to the Vikings and Lions.
Minnesota (10-2) beat the Jets and the Lions (5-7) defeated the Jaguars Sunday, while the Packers (5-8) topped the Bears (3-10). Despite the win, Green Bay was eliminated from NFC North contention because they can’t reach 10 wins to catch the Vikings. The Bears were eliminated from the North last week.
Detroit has five games to go, meaning they have to win out and have the Vikings lose out to have a chance to finished tied with Minnesota at 10-7. The two meet in Detroit next Sunday, Dec. 11, and a win or tie for the Vikings will clinch the division.
If Detroit wins, attention will turn to Week 15 when the Vikings host the Colts and the Lions go to New York to face the Jets.
Could the Lions win out? Their schedule isn’t easy but it also isn’t impossible.
- Week 14: vs. Vikings (10-2)
- Week 15: at Jets (7-5)
- Week 16: at Panthers
- Week 17: vs. Bears (3-10)
- Week 18: at Packers (5-8)
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Minnesota just needs a win or a Lions loss/tie to clinch the division. Their remaining schedule:
- Week 14: at Lions (5-7)
- Week 15: vs. Colts (4-7-1)
- Week 16: vs. Giants (7-4-1)
- Week 17: at Packers (5-8)
- Week 18: at Bears (3-10)
Meanwhile, the Vikings have heavy interest in how the Eagles (11-1) because they’re in a two-horse race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Philly’s remaining schedule is filled with opponents who are still competing for a spot in the playoffs (yes, even the Saints), with the exception of the Bears.
- Week 14: at Giants (7-4-1)
- Week 15: at Bears (3-10)
- Week 16: at Cowboys (8-3)
- Week 17: vs. Saints (4-8)
- Week 18: vs. Giants (7-4-1)
Philly beat Minnesota in Week 2 so they’ll own the tiebreaker in the event that they finish with equal records. The No. 1 seed gets a first-round bye while the No. 2 seed will host the No. 7 seed.
If the playoffs started today, the Vikings would be the No. 2 seed and be hosting the Washington Commanders (7-5-1).
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.