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NFC North Week 15 Recap: Packers Clinch

Two trends in the NFC North continued after week 15 and they both appeared in the same game, as the Packers stayed hot, beating the Bears 21-13, which stayed cold, losing their fifth in the last six weeks. Green Bay’s eighth win in their last nine games clinched the NFC North, as it improved to 10-4 on the season. However, there is still plenty of action to be had in the competitive North, as the Bears and the surging Vikings are both vying for wild card spots. Here’s what went down in the North this week and a first look ahead at week 16.

Green Bay Clinches Second Consecutive NFC North Title

After a slow 2-3 start, which included the travesty at Seattle, the Green Bay Packers have once again risen to NFC prominence, embarking on a winning streak that currently has them as one of the hottest teams in the league. Of course, the Packers’ goal was to win the division, but right now, they look like a team that’s hungry for more come playoff time.

The Packers got back to…well…Packer football this weekend. Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions, while the defense held Chicago to fewer than 200 yards of total offense, sacking Jay Cutler four times in the process.

The Pack D had plenty to celebrate in Chicago on Sunday

Although the Bears are by no means out of the playoff picture, they’ve taken big hits to their chances and their collective ego lately. After a dominating performance in the first half of the season with a schedule that contained almost entirely losing teams, the Bears have finally met hurdles they haven’t been able to leap over in the second half. Injuries have also plagued the team recently, as leader Brian Urlacher had to watch rival Green Bay beat up him teammates this week.

The good news is that Chicago gets to finish the season against two more slumping sub .500 teams in Arizona and Detroit.  The bad news is that both of those games are on the road and if the Bears slip up just once, they likely to miss out on the playoffs, as they are currently tied four other teams for second place in the wild card, including their other division rival, Minnesota.

The Packers, on the other hand, don’t need any more wins, but they could certainly use them, as they look toward clinching a first round bye. They’ll have a good chance to do it with Tennessee and Minnesota left on the schedule.

Peterson gashed the Rams for big gains

Peterson Runs Wild (Again), Vikings Beat Rams

There’s no argument. The Vikings have a one-note offense, but what a beautiful sounding note it is. Adrian Peterson continued his incredible comeback season, padding his league-leading rushing stats by piling up 212 yards on 24 carries in the 36-22 win.  Peterson has run over, around and through just about every team he has faced this season, amassing more than 1,800 yards so far.

The back-to-back wins in recent weeks puts the Vikings back in the playoff mix, but the road to glory won’t be easy, as the Vikes finish up with Houston and Green Bay. They’ll need to pull some big time upsets and without a passing game or a stellar defense to rely on, it may be too tall of an order. Nonetheless, it was an impressive season for the overachieving Vikings and if they can get a couple more pieces in place, they could be a team others won’t want to mess with next year.

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