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NFC North Week 9 Recap: Top two contenders emerge in the division

It’s beginning to look like a two-horse race in the Black and Blue division.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Bears rout the Bills, 41-9

The Bears are a prime example of what it’s like to not have to rely on your offense to do much of anything and still win games. I am supremely jealous of their talented defense. Bills quarterbacks have thrown for a combined three touchdowns all year. They threw two passes that resulted in a touchdown for the other team on Sunday.

You have to hand it to the Bears for handling their last two opponents with ease. Sure, we expected them to win the last two, but no game is a guarantee and they didn’t just win, they dished out back-to-back beatdowns.

It hurts to say this, but the Bears are in good shape to win the division this year, especially if they can at least split with the Lions over the next three weeks. They also have the Giants and 49ers on their schedule still, though they are both away games.

Next game: @ Lions (3-5)

Vikings handle Lions with ease, win 24-9

We all know what happened in this one. If you want to torture yourself and relive this disaster of a football game, then you can read the rest of the site. But right now, we’re going to keep this short and purely centered around the Vikings.

The Vikings’ defense is really good, especially their defensive line. Their offense is really good, too. The Vikings are a good football team.

Next game: @ Bears (5-3)

Patriots pull away late, hand the Packers their fourth road loss, 31-17

The Packers are now 0-4 on the road and 3-0-1 at home. According to ESPN’s win probability, Green Bay was nearly a 60 percent favorite to win the game to start the fourth quarter while it was tied at 17-17. But unfortunately for them, they had no answer for the Patriots’ late offensive surge, and didn’t score a single point the rest of the game.

Aaron Rodgers struggled with only 259 yards on 42 attempts (6.0 yards per attempt) and couldn’t keep up with with the GOAT. This marks Green Bay’s second loss in a row and things could get worse for them as their next three opponents all have winning records (Dolphins, Seahawks and Vikings), with two of those games on the road.

The Packers are also dealing with a lot of injuries currently, with many coming in Sunday night’s game. Linebacker Blake Martinez, cornerback Kevin King and safety Kentrell Price all suffered injuries against the Patriots and did not return. Jaire Alexander left the game briefly, but would return. Wide receiver Geronimo Allison is also out with a core muscle injury and could be a candidate for the IR.

Next game: vs. Dolphins (5-4)

NFC North Week 9 Standings

1. Chicago Bears (5-3)
2. Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)
3. Green Bay Packers (3-4-1)
4. Detroit Lions (3-5)

Two weeks ago, I was pretty excited about the opportunity for the Lions and thought they had a real shot at the division. Now, after two ugly losses in back-to-back weeks, I’d say it’ll take a miracle for them to win the North. Sweeping the Bears would be a nice start, but I’m not liking their chances right now.

Despite being in second currently, I think the division is still Minnesota’s to lose. They are just too good on paper and are much more balanced than the Bears, who are still having their struggles offensively. The Bears and Vikings face off for the first time all year in two weeks, which should be an interesting battle. That game has also been flexed into the Sunday Night Football slot.

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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.