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Lions control NFC North, but Packers and Bears remain alive

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Getty Images

The NFC North is the NFL’s only remaining three-way division race, and it’s a race that looks like it will go down to the wire.

Detroit, at 7-6 and with every tiebreaker advantage, is in control of the division. If the Lions win their final three games, home against the Ravens, home against the Giants and at Minnesota, they win the NFC North no matter what else happens.

But Green Bay and Chicago both have to like their chances. The first reason is simple: The Lions have a tendency to lose games they should win. Detroit hasn’t won three straight at any point this season, so the Bears and Packers can feel pretty good about the possibility that Detroit will find a way to lose one over the last three games of the season.

And if Detroit loses a game, then the Bears and Packers both just need to win out to win the division. If the Lions lose one and the Bears and Packers win their next two each, then the winner of the Week 17 Bears-Packers game would win the NFC North.

So how likely is it that the Bears and Packers will each win their next two? The Packers are on the road at Dallas and at home against the Steelers the next two weeks. If Aaron Rodgers is cleared to return, Green Bay is probably the favorite to win both of those games. Without Rodgers, winning both would be a tall order.

The Bears have to go on the road to Cleveland and then to Philadelphia before hosting the Packers in Week 17. Going 2-0 in those two is a tall order as well, although if the Bears play in the next two weeks like they played on Monday night, those are games they can win.

The Lions have lost three of their last five and aren’t inspiring much confidence right now. But the good news in Detroit is that the two games they won in the last five were against the Bears and Packers. And that’s why the Lions remain the favorites to win the division. Barely.

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68 Responses to “Lions control NFC North, but Packers and Bears remain alive”
  1. trollsetter says: Dec 10, 2013 11:30 AM

    The talent Jerry Jones has put together will easily take out the insignificant leaderless Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately leading to a mass identity crisis in the state of Wisconsin.

  2. starderup says: Dec 10, 2013 11:31 AM

    The stink from Matt Millen is still there. It will be another 10 years. Sorry.

  3. fanofevilempire says: Dec 10, 2013 11:32 AM

    I hope they don’t blow this, I just bought a Lions cap.

  4. solidarityrules says: Dec 10, 2013 11:36 AM

    Ravens also have a playoff berth at stake; they will play the Lions tough.

  5. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Dec 10, 2013 11:36 AM

    The Packers will lose the division by half a game.

  6. weepingjebus says: Dec 10, 2013 11:37 AM

    One of the reasons I dislike the idea of an 18+ game season is that it will suck the fun out of these “playoffs to make the playoffs” stretches. More games typically mean fewer nailbiters at the end of the season.

  7. jrmbadger says: Dec 10, 2013 11:37 AM

    And none of the three is going anywhere in the playoffs. Sorry, but that’s the reality.

  8. ravenswhat says: Dec 10, 2013 11:37 AM

    Ravens win when they have to and the lions lose when they have to win.

    I’m expecting the Ravens to win next Monday.

  9. metalhead65 says: Dec 10, 2013 11:37 AM

    great they may win the division over 2 teams that have played with massive injures this year in the Bears and packers and a team that is going nowhere in the vikings. you must be so proud of them detroit, but then again with a city in as sad a shape as detroit is you will take anything you can get I guess.

  10. redwingfan1234 says: Dec 10, 2013 11:39 AM

    Never in my life as a Lions fan have I been so conflicted about actually making the playoffs. Based on the results thus far in 2013, it’s obvious that bonehead Schwartz needs to go, even if they somehow sneak into the playoffs after REFUSING to win a division handed to them on a silver platter. However, history shows even if they lose these final three games (which is very, very possible), equally knuckle-headed Bill Ford would probably be to tame to give Schwartz his medicine.

  11. richcranium2112 says: Dec 10, 2013 11:39 AM

    This is the Black and Blue Division – let the playoffs begin – NOW!!

  12. hyzers says: Dec 10, 2013 11:39 AM

    I like the Lions chances with their backs against the wall. 2 home games and all 3 in a dome certainly help. Basically whichever team wins out will win the division. No excuses: may the best team win the North.

  13. zam0854 says: Dec 10, 2013 11:41 AM

    Super happy my birds pulled out the W in the artic tundra of the Linc this past Sunday. I need the Packers to win in Dallas then I’m sure they’ll find a way to lose their remaining two games. With the way Detriot and Chicago are playing, Green Bay just doesn’t deserve it this season.

    #TooLittleTooLate

  14. dahmergeinteam says: Dec 10, 2013 11:48 AM

    We’re still alive, for now. I will enjoy it either way.

  15. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Dec 10, 2013 11:49 AM

    It’s a great time to be a Packer fan. We are so lucky to have this fellowship and this team. And the smartest and best fans anywhere. ANd it’s really starting to feel a lot like 2010? Can’t you feel it?

  16. yooperman says: Dec 10, 2013 11:52 AM

    Packer and Bear fans will be on the edge of their seats knowing they have a chance. The Lion fans will on the edge theirs knowing the Lions.

  17. obsessedvikingfan says: Dec 10, 2013 11:55 AM

    I sure hope the Lions win it before week 17. I will never cheer for my Vikings to lose, even if it meant the Packers win the division.

    Never give up.

    Go Lions and Bears.

  18. pshark5 says: Dec 10, 2013 11:55 AM

    Injuries to the Packers and Bears has handed the division to the Lions, but they don’t seem to want it. After seeing how bad the Packers are without Rodgers, I think he must be the best player in the NFL. It’s funny that the Bears finally have a decent offense, but now they have the 2nd worst defense(Dallas is more pathetic) because of all the injuries.

  19. djohnson11882 says: Dec 10, 2013 11:56 AM

    As a Packer fan, there is no team I would rather be chasing than the Detroit Lions!!!!!

  20. bearshaterseverywhere says: Dec 10, 2013 11:56 AM

    Lions are utter garbage! Packers and Bears gave them the division and they are gonna choke. Dirtiest football team ever. Garbage Lions!

  21. guitarkevin says: Dec 10, 2013 11:56 AM

    The Ravens just got Pitta back and he was a huge impact on Sunday. The Ravens running game and passing game just got a WHOLE LOT better.
    Should be a great game on prime time.

  22. America's Team is God's Team says: Dec 10, 2013 11:58 AM

    Dallas will be playing at home this week, rid of officials paid under the table, and will dominate the Packers, en route to fulfilling their American destiny as Superbowl champions.

    #RodgersisapoormansRomo

  23. papacrick says: Dec 10, 2013 11:58 AM

    Lions are back indoors for the final 3 games and they will have Bush back which certainly hurt them in the Eagles game. I expect them to get it done with Baltimore being the toughest test down the stretch. I thought the Giants would give them fits but after seeing them get torched by SD and knowing their playoffs hopes are over, I can’t see them putting up a fight and instead focusing on draft position for next year

  24. thepftpoet says: Dec 10, 2013 12:02 PM

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Packers fans are delusional

  25. detroitchevy says: Dec 10, 2013 12:08 PM

    Just as long as Schwartz is fired i don’t care what else happens.

    GoLions

  26. jjh1982 says: Dec 10, 2013 12:13 PM

    What about the Vikings chances, oh wait a minute

  27. hellafiedfc says: Dec 10, 2013 12:13 PM

    metalhead65 says:
    Dec 10, 2013 11:37 AM
    great they may win the division over 2 teams that have played with massive injures this year in the Bears and packers and a team that is going nowhere in the vikings. you must be so proud of them detroit, but then again with a city in as sad a shape as detroit is you will take anything you can get I guess.

    To everyone who wants to take shots at the city, feel good about yourself. your right, those of us who live here are all to blame, we are all sad and pathetic. I hope wherever “metalhead16″ lives is a paradise free from blight and economic hardships.

    Most lions fans are life long and loyal to a fault. I wouldnt have it any other way.

  28. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 10, 2013 12:14 PM

    Barely indeed that’s Packerticularly true.

  29. joerevs300 says: Dec 10, 2013 12:17 PM

    I just have two simple questions:

    – How in the world can Jim Schwartz keep his job if he doesn’t win the division, given his overall record gets plenty of lesser people fired all the time?
    – If the Lions don’t manage to win the division in a year which Minnesota is horrible, and GB/Chicago lost their starting QB’s, then when, if ever, will they?

  30. penvik says: Dec 10, 2013 12:18 PM

    I hope Minnesota loses the next 3 for sure, which would help Detroit but I’m worried that it won’t happen. Coach in Detroit & Minnesota needs firing. Green Bay is useless without Rogers and the NFC north would look bad if he comes back and makes the playoffs. For these reasons I’m cheering for the bears, whom I despise, because they actually have a coach.

  31. johngaltwho says: Dec 10, 2013 12:20 PM

    America’s Team is God’s Team says: Dec 10, 2013 11:58 AM

    #RodgersisapoormansRomo

    —————————————–

    Thats really funny. Its more like:

    #RomoisapoormansBradJohnson

  32. johngaltwho says: Dec 10, 2013 12:25 PM

    Unfortunately, none of the NFC North teams are built to compete on a championship level this year, injuries notwithstanding. But the good news is they all know what they have to do.

    The Packers need to fire Capers and rebuild the front lines (both offensive and defensive)

    The Bears need to retool their defense. I know they like guys like Tillman but really if all you can do is punch the football…

    The Lions need a head coach with discipline, integrity, intelligence and maturity to lead this incredibly talented team. With Schwartz, the rest of us can relax knowing they will continue to waste Calvin Johnson’s potential.

  33. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 10, 2013 12:25 PM

    I can’t help but notice that you didn’t say the Vikings are still alive.

    After all, they didn’t lose their MVP for any amount of significant time this year, so they should be right there with everyone else, right?

    I mean, with the draft they had? And being a playoff team last year?

    Oh… wait… just saw their record. What happened?

  34. ruvelligwebuike says: Dec 10, 2013 12:28 PM

    Call me crazy but I think the Pack can win in Dallas w/o Rodgers. Flynn sucks, but a balance of Lacy and Starks and an efficient, no turnover game is the recipe. We all know that the Cowpokes will find a way to self destruct.

    Then Rodgers and Cobb come back. Dangerous.

  35. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Dec 10, 2013 12:30 PM

    Ha! Give the Lions a loaded gun and they’ll shoot themselves in the foot.

  36. whatjusthapped says: Dec 10, 2013 12:33 PM

    I called it two weeks ago and my prediction remains the same; the Lions will win the division because of the inability of either the Packers or Bears to win out.

    That’s good news too because by winning the division, the Lions will be forced to keep Schwartz for another two years and he is one of their biggest weak links.

    Bottom line, whoever wins the NFC North is one and done any way you look at it. So isn’t it far better to draft at a lower spot than go nowhere in the playoffs? The Minnesota Vikings seem to think so.

  37. shaggytoodle says: Dec 10, 2013 12:34 PM

    .5 game back with 3 to go… no one ran away with the division even though they were given a golden opportunity.

    If Rodgers comes back anything is possible…whoever wins the division is going to have a tough wild card game.

  38. wannabear says: Dec 10, 2013 12:46 PM

    please pray for my team, da bears.

  39. purpleguy says: Dec 10, 2013 12:58 PM

    Huh, this could make the Vikings final game of the year interesting — almost a win-win situation regardless of the final score. The Lions will probably choke the NFCN away before the final game though. . . . .

  40. hurricanes88 says: Dec 10, 2013 1:00 PM

    metalhead65, yeah go ahead and bash the city – a city I would be willing to bet you know nothing about. But go ahead, because it says way more about you than it does about the Lions or Detroit.

    and well-said hellafiedfc.

    Yep, there is an all-too-familiar feeling about this late season Lion’s slide. I will never stop being a fan, but I do not want to comfort myself with the “at least we swept the Bears this season” comment. And I was LUCKY enough to go to the Thanksgiving Day game this year. So, the Lions gave us a lot this season – thanks boys! But it ain’t over yet, and anyone who doesn’t think that the start of the playoffs is the start of a whole ‘nother season just hasn’t watched the playoffs for long. Any given Sunday…

    But IMHO if the Lions do anything other than win the Superbowl (and probably even if they did) Jim Schwartz has to go. The team deserves better.

    GO LIONS!

  41. hyzers says: Dec 10, 2013 1:09 PM

    Nothing more pathetic than Chicago fans crying about injuries. It’s like clockwork EVERY SINGLE SEASON.

  42. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 10, 2013 1:19 PM

    Being alive is good.

    Being dead is bad.

    The Vikings are bad.

  43. thetruthcampaign says: Dec 10, 2013 1:21 PM

    I like the Lion’s chances indoors, especially vs the lackluster Raven’s running game.

  44. footballrulz says: Dec 10, 2013 1:28 PM

    As a Packer fan I think if the Bears continue to play like they did last night the division is theirs to lose. I Just can’t see the Lions winning out and don’t think the Pack can stop CHicago, however if Rodgers & Cobb come back, who knows. Regardless of who wins probably 1 & done n the playoffs.

  45. metrocritical says: Dec 10, 2013 1:29 PM

    Trying to guess how this division will turn out is like trying to judge a beauty pageant where one finalist is missing teeth, one has shaved her eyebrows and the other wore Depends in the bathing suit competition.

  46. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 10, 2013 1:38 PM

    It’s crazy, to everyone outside of Minnesota, that Vikings fans will say stuff like “Your championships before the 60’s don’t count!” And THEN follow it up with “Since 1961, the Vikes have more division championships.”

    Selective history at it’s finest.

    If you want to go only with the current iteration of the league, you have to go with the current alignment of divisions.

    How does that work for you?

  47. fwippel says: Dec 10, 2013 1:41 PM

    The Vikings are going to take down the Lions in Week 17 – bank on it!

  48. contra74 says: Dec 10, 2013 1:54 PM

    Packers LOL. Oh wow, I love the comedy involved when watching the packers play. Such pretenders .

  49. davikes says: Dec 10, 2013 1:56 PM

    And then there’s the possibility that the Lions could lose the next three, the Bears & Packers could lose the next two each, setting up the winner take all Bear’s-Packers game. If the Packers win, they would have won the division with a 7-8-1 record.

  50. dwarftosser says: Dec 10, 2013 2:01 PM

    It’s said that 9 games is going to win the North this year. If Rodgers is back this week, I think the Packers will take it. If not, I think Detroit will back in. I can’t see Chicago beating the Packers with both Rodgers and Cobb back, so I don’t give them much of a chance right now.

  51. shlort says: Dec 10, 2013 2:09 PM

    With the remains schedules, it is not even out of the question that Green bay could win the division with 8 wins and be able to rest starters against Chicago.

    I could see both Detroit and Chicago losing 2 more games.

    That is how bad the North is this year. regardless of who wins, they won’t win a playoff game. there will be better teams that don’t make the playoffs. The North is like the West was a few years back when Seattle made the playoffs at 7-9. Only difference is, the North champ won’t beat any wild card team.

  52. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 10, 2013 2:13 PM

    contra74 says:
    Dec 10, 2013 1:54 PM
    Packers LOL. Oh wow, I love the comedy involved when watching the packers play. Such pretenders .

    —–

    Rock bottom. Contra is what everyone fears they’ll become.

  53. shoddymnbridgerepair says: Dec 10, 2013 2:27 PM

    Once again, the Vikings have collapsed like I-35.

  54. radsputin says: Dec 10, 2013 2:29 PM

    Lions don’t control bleep!

    Sincerely,

    A Lions fan (since 1970)

  55. Frazier28/7 says: Dec 10, 2013 2:30 PM

    It’ll be awesome if we can close down the dome with losing to the Lions on a last second field goal or TD that gives them the division and knocks the Packers out of the playoffs.

  56. dwarftosser says: Dec 10, 2013 2:37 PM

    shlort says:
    Dec 10, 2013 2:09 PM

    That is how bad the North is this year. regardless of who wins, they won’t win a playoff game. there will be better teams that don’t make the playoffs. The North is like the West was a few years back when Seattle made the playoffs at 7-9. Only difference is, the North champ won’t beat any wild card team.
    —————————————————-

    I don’t know about that. The Packers have a terrible defense, but if Rodgers and Cobb are back they will be back to one of the best offensives in the league. I think they would have a really hard time against New Orleans or San Francisco because of the points the Packers defense would give up to those teams, but I think they match up great against Carolina and Seattle.

  57. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 10, 2013 2:48 PM

    Frazier28/7 says:
    Dec 10, 2013 2:30 PM
    It’ll be awesome if we can close down the dome with losing to the Lions on a last second field goal or TD that gives them the division and knocks the Packers out of the playoffs.

    —-

    and another example of rock bottom.

    They don’t care about their own team so much as they can’t stand it when anything good happens for the best team.

  58. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Dec 10, 2013 2:53 PM

    @tokyo –

    In what alternate universe are the Packers the best team? If the Packers are the best team, why do they need their biggest rival to beat the Lions so they can win the division? If you want to see rock bottom, take a look at the last six weeks of Packer games.

  59. rikker12 says: Dec 10, 2013 2:57 PM

    Look at the whole season for the Vikings…. Complete joke… Just like there fans..

  60. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 10, 2013 2:59 PM

    @Rick/GreatTedThompson

    The last 6 weeks don’t make a team.

    How about the last century?

    Packers are the best, and you know it.

  61. mylionsroaring says: Dec 10, 2013 3:23 PM

    Who thought we would go from
    FIRE MILLEN

    to

    FIRE SCHWARTZ

  62. thetruthcampaign says: Dec 10, 2013 3:33 PM

    I’m also a Lion’s fan since 1970, and I also thought “control” was too strong a word to use in context of the Lion’s position.

    All I know is that as a Lion’s fan, I’m NOT going to enjoy watching it…unless it’s a blowout of Thanksgiving Day proportions. Too much nail-biting otherwise.

  63. thetruthcampaign says: Dec 10, 2013 3:41 PM

    We love to hate them, and we hate to love them.

    GO LIONS.

  64. aldante66 says: Dec 10, 2013 4:09 PM

    It’s a great time to be a Packer fan. We are so lucky to have this fellowship and this team. And the smartest and best fans anywhere. ANd it’s really starting to feel a lot like 2010? Can’t you feel it?

    ————————————————
    Way too many tail gate parties for you buddy. The Pack will finish pretty close to what I predicted pre season (6-10) at 6-9-1.
    My reasoning, the pass defense almost set a record the previous year for yardage allowed and Ted did absolutely zilch to improve that. Through in no help for the O line and its has disaster written all over it.

  65. johngaltwho says: Dec 10, 2013 5:26 PM

    Thats like taking credit for predicting rain because you’ve noticed it always rains 6 days after you stub your toe.

    The only reason the Packers may approach 6-10 is Rodgers injury. They were easily on their way to 11-5 under any other circumstance – even with Ted, the O line and the pass defense.

  66. greenisgold1265 says: Dec 10, 2013 6:10 PM

    Go Pack Go!

  67. thetruthcampaign says: Dec 11, 2013 9:35 AM

    GO LIONS!

  68. larryboodry says: Dec 11, 2013 9:47 PM

    If the Bears win out – no easy task – and the Lions lose once, the Bears win the division. As much as I’d like to see that happen, it won’t be easy.

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