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How The NFC North Will Finish the Season

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How The NFC North Will Finish the Season

With the Bears losing on Sunday night, the Packers now find themselves one game back in a surprisingly strong NFC North division. As the Packers prepare to enter the second half of their season, and with three of the North teams in the top 7 of all NFC teams, the push to finish at the top of the NFC North will be an interesting fight.

The Detroit Lions

The Lions currently sit at the bottom of the NFC North and eleventh in all NFC Teams with a record of 4-5, and their remaining schedule is full of potential playoff teams. Fortunately for the Lions only two of their remaining seven games are away from Ford Field. Yet, on the flip side, four of the teams that they will welcome are: the Texans, the Bears, the Falcons and the Packers. The Lions will most likely lose all four of those games.

Giving the Lions a victory at Arizona and a victory over the up and down Indianapolis Colts and a loss in Green Bay, the Lions could easily end the season with a 6-10 record and at the bottom of the NFC North.

The Minnesota Vikings

With their win over the Lions last weekend, the Vikings find themselves moving up the NFL standings and only one game behind the Packers. With an amazingly talented running back, a week off for Percy Harvin, and an ugly dome that makes it annoyingly not fun for opponents to play in, the Vikings appear to have the pieces to make a run at, if not the top spot in the NFC North, at least the second and a wild card berth.

Yet, like the Lions, the Vikings remaning schedule is not kind. The Vikings have yet to play either the Bears or the Packers.  They also have to make trips to Houston and to St. Louis to face a team that is almost as unpredictable as the Vikings.

Giving the Vikings home wins in both the Bears and Packers series, the Vikings would still need to win in St. Louis or Houston – not an easy task – in order to finish 9-7 and most likely third in the NFC North.

The Chicago Bears

The two toughest games that the Bears have faced this season, at Green Bay and versus Houston, the Bears have lost and their offense has looked pedestrian. Despite their strong record of 7-2, the Bears appear weak going into a tough end of season schedule.

The Bears have to face tough defenses in San Francisco, Seattle and Green Bay again. With a battered offense, the Bears will have a difficult time in San Francisco this coming Monday. Assuming the Bears lose on Monday, split their series with the Vikings and look like they did against Houston when they play Seattle, Packer fans will most likely still need the Bears to find another loss for the Packers to have a chance at the NFC North crown.

While the Bears fail to impress offensively, the Bears still could beat Minnesota at home and Arizona and Detroit on the road. The Packers best chance to finish first in the NFC North is to beat the Bears themselves. If they do, the Bears will finish 10-6. If the Packers can’t beat the Bears and the rest of this prediction holds, the Bears will finish 11-5.

The Green Bay Packers

Despite being second in the division, the Packers have the luxury of controlling their own destiny. The Packers have yet to play either the Lions or the Vikings. They also welcome the hapless Titans to Lambeau in week 16. The Packers should sweep the Lions and beat the Titans easily.

The Metrodome and the Vikings can be tricky and the Packers could stumble there. However, the game at Minnesota is the Packers last game of the season. If a playoff berth or the NFC North crown comes down to that game, and Vikings home field advantage will be negated.

The Packers toughest remaining games are: in New York against the Giants and when they go down to Chicago to play the Bears. Luckily for the Packers, the Giants do like to struggle in November, but hoping for the same Giants self-destruction they displayed in Cincinnati last weekend is not a given.

If the Packers mirror the first half of their season and finish the year out with three more losses, they will finish 10-6. That record will probably cement them in the fifth or sixth playoff spot and second in the NFC North.

However, if the Packers can top the Giants or even better, go to Chicago and take that game back from the Bears, the NFC North could easily be theirs. If the Packers take care of their own games, and erase some of the confusion – i.e. games like the Colts game – from the first half of the season, the remainder of their season could be the perfect lead up into the playoffs.

The Packers will most likely finish the season 10-6, however a 12-4 or 11-5 is still very much in their reach.

Assuming the NFL doesn’t steal another game, the Packers don’t blow another solid lead against a weak opponent or the Bears don’t find offensive rhythm, the Packers and Bears will fight it out for the top spot in the NFC North, with the Vikings finishing third and the Lions at the bottom of the NFC North.

Jayme Joers is a writer at CheeseheadTV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of CheeseheadRadio. She also contributes to Pocketdoppler.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

denniseckersley's picture

THE BEARS STILL SUCK!

PackerFan 1's picture

AGREEDED!

packsmack25's picture

Packers 11-5
Bears 10-6
Lions 10-6
Vikings 9-7

I think the Lions beat the Packers this week without Matthews and win their last 3 to get to 10-6 but fall short of the playoffs because of their conference record.

Jayme Snowden's picture

I'm not sure if I can see the Lions beating the Texans and the Falcons and managing to go 6-1 in their next seven games.

packsmack25's picture

People thought I was crazy when I said 5 weeks ago that the Packers would still finish 11-5. Also, the Falcons are overrated and have played a bunch of terrible teams thus far, and the NFC is far superior to the AFC, with the Texans being shut down on two occasions against the NFC North now....

some guy's picture

wha? Detroit goes 6-1 to end the season?

PackersRS's picture

I haven't seen anything from Detroit to suggest they'll finish above .500.

The secondary is awful as ever, the running game is nonexistant, Megatron is having a terrible year (which solidifies once and for all that the Madden curse is real), and they have the incredible gift of self-imploding at the worst possible time.

packsmack25's picture

They've lost a bunch of close games, lead the league in passing, and Megaton leads the league in receiving. They have never had a scary defense or secondary, but they're 7th in pass defense thus far. I think we're watching different things.

PackersRS's picture

Johnson is also 5th in drops, 64th in TDs, Stafford is 20th in passing TDs, 19th in QB rating.

They're 24th in opposite QB rating and 23rd in points allowed.

I think we are. You value yardage. I value quality of play. We shall see.

packsmack25's picture

Eh, the TDs have a simply regressed to the mean for Calvin. And he's second in the league in targets, so his drop percentage is still remarkably low. Stafford hasn't been playing well, that's true, but keep in mind that he's a streaky guy and has been better in second halves, something I attribute to him getting his leg injury loose as the game goes on.

And here's the rub: you look at those stats and believe that they will continue to be mediocre on offense, I look at them and believe that their offense will improve greatly going forward. The defense is always going to be middling, to be sure, but can benefit from the offense playing better as well. I think they are a better team than their record reflects, simply because they've been IN every game this year. Teams that avoid blowouts are usually successful in the long run.

PackersRS's picture

They look to me like a case of "when they get their shit together". Only problem is they've looked like this since Schwartz has been in the helm.

The same mentality that has helped them get over the "loser" attitude is hurting them, and will continue to do so as long as he's the HC. They don't have discipline. They won't get their shit together. They'll continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

Look no further than Stafford and the balls he forces into triple coverage. I wouldn't call that streaky. I would call that cocky.

I know they have talent (except in the secondary) but it doesn't make up for it.

packsmack25's picture

Completely agree on the discipline issue. Don't think Schwartz is the coach to get them over the hump, but he was definitely the coach to get them back to relevance. They're in a weird position with him now, where you can't really fire him, but you also can't really be happy with him.

aussiepacker's picture

I know that the lions are a bunch of douches but i would love to see the vikings come last in the division again.

aussiepacker's picture

Is it possible for three teams from the 1 division to make the playoffs?

MarkinMadison's picture

In 2001-02 the Packers, Bucs and Bears all made the playoffs from the NFC Central.

Tommy's picture

In 1997 4 teams from the NFC Central made the playoffs (Packers, Buccaneers, Lions and Vikings).

Jeff's picture

Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals all made it from the AFC north last year.

marcopo's picture

Assuming no major injuries, it's not far-fetched to see the Packers run the table if they win the next two games. Actually,you can stick a fork in the Lions, but they'll be playing for pride at home. Not a gimme, but either is beating a better balanced Packer team. Who the hell knows with the Giants, but they haven't been looking good. Bear in mind (no pun) that the Packer, as troops come back, can actually become stronger. Every rep the newbies gets make them better. Nothing stays the same in the NFL, but the Packers are swinging up.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

13-3 bitches, you heard it here 1st. Take out a loan, call your cousins bookie... It's a lock.

GBP 4 LIFE

Wiscokid's picture

I like the way you think.

woodson4president's picture

We struggle this week without Clay for sure, but playing him seems like a dumb idea.

Bearmeat's picture

Good stuff Jayme thanks. Your predictions are IMHO dead on.

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

Easy on the Titans.They beat the Steelers and just destoyed the Dolphins,But in Green Bay in the cold the Pack should take them

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