For the last five weeks, since the Lions finished a season sweep of the Bears, Detroit has been in control of the NFC North. That is no longer the case.
The Lions’ Monday night loss to the Ravens puts the Bears and Packers in control: If the Packers beat the Steelers and the Bears beat the Eagles on Sunday, then the winner of the Packers-Bears Week 17 game will win the NFC North.
Detroit now needs to win both its remaining games (against the Giants and at the Vikings), plus help in the form of both teams losing. If the Bears and Packers both win on Sunday, the Lions will be eliminated before Week 17.
From the NFL’s perspective, the most exciting result would be the Bears and Packers both winning next week, and turning the Week 17 meeting into a one-game playoff for the NFC North title. Throw in a return of Aaron Rodgers for that game, and record TV ratings would ensue.