As we approach the final week of the NFL season, let’s take a closer look and see how the rest of the NFC North is shaping up.
Bears win second straight after blowing out the Giants, 29-3
With Matt Nagy coaching for his job, the Bears managed to match their longest streak of the season winning their second straight and moving to 6-10 on the season.
On the first play of the game, Bears DE Bilal Nichols got to Mike Glennon for a sack fumble, giving the Bears the ball at the Giants’ 2-yard line. David Montgomery would punch it in on the very next play, and seven points was all they would need on Sunday.
Chicago’s defense held New York to just 151 total yards, and the Giants just never felt comfortable throwing the ball. They only attempted 11 passes all game and finished with -10 net yards through the air. Compare that to the 40 rushing attempts and it seems that they’re already looking toward the NFL Draft and not even thinking about trying to win football games.
With Justin Fields still injured, Andy Dalton got the start for the Bears. He turned in a mediocre performance, but even his 173 passing yards on 35 attempts was more than enough to outduel Glennon.
Next game: @ Vikings
Packers clinch No. 1 seed at home against Vikings, win 37-10
The Packers made a statement on Sunday night, clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC and finishing with an 8-0 record at home. AJ Dillon punched in two touchdowns on the ground and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark (rushing + receiving) on the season, making him and Aaron Jones just the fourth Packers running back duo in franchise history to each surpass that mark.
The big question surrounding the Packers right now will be whether Aaron Rodgers decides to play in their final game against the Lions. Since they don’t have anything to play for, I’d be surprised if they play their stars, but apparently Rodgers plans to play. We’ll see if Matt LaFleur lets him.
Next game: @ Lions (2-13-1)
With no Kirk Cousins, the Vikings never stood a chance against a Packers team with something to play for. Sean Mannion got the start with Cousins in COVID protocol and managed to get his one and only touchdown pass late in the third quarter with the game already out of reach.
Dalvin Cook has had a quiet year compared to his standards and Sunday night’s performance resulted in a season-low 13 rushing yards on just nine carries.
At 7-9, the Vikings are guaranteed to finish the season under .500 for the second year in a row. Cousins is only under contract until the end of 2022, and it’s looking like there is a decent chance that they will move in a different direction at QB soon. Unfortunately, they’re stuck with his dead cap hit in 2022 unless they find a way to trade him or get him to agree to a team-friendly restructure.
Next game: vs. Bears (6-10)
NFC North Standings after Week 17
1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
2. Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
3. Chicago Bears (6-10)
4. Detroit Lions (2-13-1)
The standings have stayed the same for a while, but the Bears do have a chance to tie with the Vikings for second place in the division if they beat them in Week 18.
The Packers have already clinched the No. 1 seed, so it’s likely that they will rest at least some of their starters against the Lions. And the Lions can shoot for their third win on the season and still get a top-two pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.