NFC North Week 12 Recap: Bears Take Division Lead
The Green Bay Packers entered week 12 as not only the hottest team in the NFC North, but as one of the hottest teams in the league in general, but after a tough 38-10 loss to the New York Giants on Football Night in America, the world realized maybe they aren’t as flawless they were perceived to be. Meanwhile, the Bears were looking quite vulnerable, but they proved to be worthy of the division’s top spot, at least for now, as they knocked off the contending Vikings in convincing fashion, 28-10. With the change in the division climate, the Bears reclaimed first place in the division by one game over the Packers, while the Vikings fell to two games back, but are still tied for the second NFC wild card spot.
After receiving significant criticism in recent weeks (including some from me) for not having beaten legitimate winning teams, the Bears proved they belonged this week by knocking off the Minnesota Vikings. Not only did they win the ballgame (only their second win against a team over .500 this season), but they did it with an efficient passing game and as always, a solid defense. The Bears may not be the best team in the NFC, or in the North for that matter, but they do currently own the best record in the division for a reason and they do have the tools and weapons to win games.
With the loss, the Vikings slip to 6-5 on the season; two games back of Chicago and one back of Green Bay for the top wild card spot. This is obviously a good position for a team that many thought would finish last in the North, but the Vikings, the league and bettors know, that it will take a lot for them to get into the postseason with all the stiff competition they are up against. Things certainly won’t be easy for the Vikes, who face Green Bay twice, Chicago again and Houston in their remaining schedule.
The Packers were on a five-game winning streak before they encountered the Giants and although their shoddy pass protection schemes were once again exposed, they still have plenty of weapons to win the North. Despite leading the league in being sacked, Aaron Rodgers has stilled tossed up 28 TDs and is having another fine season with a good offense. The Packers should still be the team to be in the North even though they currently trail by one game.
Expect both the Bears and Packers to make the playoffs, while the Vikings will likely come up a bit short. They’ve certainly been a surprise this season, but they just don’t have the offensive weapons, or the defensive prowess to sustain what they’ve accomplished so far.