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NFC North Week 12 recap: Packers headed for a regime change?

The Bears are soaring, the Vikings are fighting and the Packers are plummeting.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Bears sweep the Lions on Thanksgiving, win 23-16

We don’t have to dive too deep into the details since I’m sure most of you either saw the game or read the site, but the Bears did their job on the road and pulled it out with their backup quarterback, Chase Daniel.

Daniel wasn’t perfect, but he did what he needed to do and showed that with their current roster, the Bears can win with just about anyone at quarterback. Chicago’s defense did a phenomenal job of limiting the Lions’ passing attack and came up with two crucial interceptions, including a pick-six from Eddie Jackson off of Matthew Stafford late in the game.

Chicago has not been able to establish the run recently, which has been a strong area for them throughout the year. In two games against the Lions, they’ve ran for a combined 92 yards on 37 attempts (2.49 yards per carry).

The Bears head into their next matchup against the Giants with Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) likely sitting out for a second straight game, which means Chase Daniel will be under center once more.

Next game: @ Giants (3-8)

Vikings pick up a much-needed win, beat division rival Packers, 24-17

Vikings

After a rough game against the Bears, Kirk Cousins was on fire against the Packers and finished the day with 342 passing yards on 38 attempts (9.0 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns. He did a nice job of spreading the ball around having three receivers with seven or more catches, along with three different receivers with touchdown catches.

Green Bay got out to an early 14-7 lead, but the Vikings answered back quickly, knotting things up at the half. The Vikings would pull away late in the second half on an Adam Thielen touchdown grab. Theilen finished the game with eight receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. He’s continuing to have a career year for the Vikings and is making the case to be one of the best, if not the best receiver in the NFL right now.

The Vikings had a scare on defense with Xavier Rhodes injuring his hamstring. Initial rumors and reports appeared to have a much gloomier outlook on his future availability, but head coach Mike Zimmer put some of those worries to rest, calling it a mild injury.

Minnesota faces a tough test ahead of them as they play back-to-back road games against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Next game: @ Patriots (8-3)

Packers

The Packers are now 0-6 on the road, which accounts for all six of their losses. At 4-6-1, you can pretty much put any hopes of playoffs or division titles to rest for them this year, and there’s been a lot of buzz circulating in regards to some major coaching and/or front office shakeups coming at the end of the year.

All the Packers can really fight for now is a possible wild card spot or to not finish in last place behind the Lions.

What’s surprising is that the Packers are actually having a decent year in terms of overall DVOA (10th in overall efficiency) and sit at fifth in offensive DVOA. Their run game has been remarkable for them, and they continued to show that against the Vikings, though the passing game was a bit of a mess.

The Packers have a relatively easy schedule ahead of them, but they’d still need a miracle for any chance at making the playoffs.

Next game: vs. Cardinals (2-9)

NFC North Week 12 Standings

1. Chicago Bears (8-3)
2. Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1)
3. Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
4. Detroit Lions (4-7)

The Vikings have a tough road ahead of them and may be playing for a wild card spot if the Bears continue to play the way they are. And for Lions fans, the race to not come in last in the North—or the race for the No. 1 overall pick, depending on what you’re rooting for—is the only thing they have going for them right now.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.