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NFC North Week 12 recap: Bears fall under .500, Lions alone is last place

FTP.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings keep playoff hopes alive, narrowly beat Panthers, 28-27

At 4-6 heading into this game, the Vikings were essentially in must-win mode for the rest of the season in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s possible they could squeak by with the last wild card spot at 9-7, but 10-6 would be much more likely.

The Panthers were coming off of a shutout victory over the Lions, and, once again, it was the defense that gave them their best shot at winning on Sunday.

After back-to-back fumble return touchdowns for safety Jeremy Chinn, the Panthers held a 21-10 lead minutes into the second half. The Vikings would go on to re-take the lead following a pair of touchdown receptions from Justin Jefferson and Chad Beebe.

Beebe was the unlikely hero in this contest, catching his first career NFL touchdown to win the game after muffing a punt just a minute prior.

Next game: vs. Jaguars (1-10)

Packers spoil Money Mitch’s return, defeat the Bears, 41-25

Bears

With Nick Foles dealing with a hip injury, the Bears put Mitchell Trubisky back under center against the Packers, and it was about as ugly as anyone could have guessed—perhaps even uglier.

God bless Money Mitch.

The once-elite Chicago defense had a rough go against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense on Sunday night. This was the first time the Bears allowed 40+ points since Week 16 of the 2016 season.

In less bad news for Chicago, their rushing attack had one of its best efforts on the year, but unfortunately it all meant nothing once the Packers got out to an early 13-3 lead and the Bears were forced to pass for most of the game.

Next game: vs. Lions (4-7)

Packers

You couldn’t ask for a better performance from the Packers against a division rival on primetime television. Rodgers was able to do whatever he wanted against the Bears secondary, finishing the night with four touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 132.3.

The run game also performed well with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams splitting carries and amassing 70+ rushing yards each.

The Packers defense was very opportunistic in this game, snagging two interceptions and forcing a fumble on Trubisky.

Sitting at 8-3 with a very comfortable lead in the North, the Packers will have a chance to clinch another division title fairly soon as they cap the season off with a relatively easy remaining schedule.

Next game: vs. Eagles (4-7-1)

NFC North Standings after Week 11

1. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
t-2. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
t-2. Chicago Bears (5-6)
4. Detroit Lions (4-7)

Not much discussion to be had about which team is going to win the division anymore. The Packers all but have that locked up. The fight for second place and a potential wild card spot is a different story, however. The Vikings and Bears continue to head in opposite directions, with Minnesota looking like the much better team right now.