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NFC North Week 13 recap: Packers stay alive, Vikings escape again

All but one NFC North team won in Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Packers stave off upset from the Bears, win 28-19

Packers

The Packers came into this bout as 3.5-point favorites but trailed as many as 13 points early. The defense had a hard time containing Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who was on the money throwing the ball in the first half.

Rodgers and the Packers offense finally put together a solid drive at the end of the first half ending in a touchdown reception to Christian Watson, who continues to live in the end zone.

Watson added another touchdown later on a 46-yard end-around that also put the game on ice. He now has eight touchdowns in his last four games.

At 5-8, the Packers technically stay “in the hunt” for the playoffs, but they’ll need to win out to give themselves a chance. They play the Rams next week, so as much as it pains me to say, we might want to root for the Packers to stay alive for just one week longer.

Next game: vs. Rams (3-9) — December 19 (bye this week)

Bears

Sunday’s loss to the Packers marks the Bears’ sixth loss in a row. Though they’re more in a tear-down than a rebuild, the losses are stacking up and it can’t feel good. Their bright spot all year has been Justin Fields, but even his play has suffered as of late.

While trailing, Fields threw two interceptions on two consecutive drives, ultimately sealing the Bears’ fate. His ability as a passer has clearly improved this year but when put in obvious passing situations, he still clearly has a long way to go.

Fields still remains dominant as a runner, though, and despite only seeing six carries on the day, he still led the team with 71 rushing yards and added a rushing touchdown.

As for the Bears’ defense, rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn led the team with a 80.9 overall defensive grade via Pro Football Focus. He finished with 11 tackles, one TFL and had a season-high five stops on the day.

The next four games are going to be brutal for Chicago, as they have the Eagles, Bills, Lions and Vikings remaining on their schedule.

Next game: vs. Eagles (11-1) — December 18

Vikings hold on, win another one-score game over the Jets, 27-22

After a slow start offensively for both teams, the Vikings turned things up in the second quarter scoring 17 unanswered to give themselves a 20-3 lead, before the Jets quickly added another three points to make it 20-6 at halftime.

The difference in this game was that the Vikings were the more opportunistic team. When they made it into Jets territory, they punched it in for a touchdown. The Jets outgained the Vikings 486-287 in total yards, but they often settled for field goals, and they also turned the ball over twice compared to the Vikings’ zero.

The Jets brought it back and gave themselves a shot down 22-27 with the ball, but they ended up turning the ball over on downs after failing on three straight attempts from Minnesota’s 1-yard line.

Despite being 10-2, the Vikings are only 20th overall via Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. That puts them behind the Lions, Browns, Packers, Steelers and Falcons. All teams under .500.

Something has to give. Are the Vikings as good as their record, or are they complete frauds? Maybe somewhere in between?

As we inch closer to the upcoming Vikings-Lions matchup, Vegas has the Vikings as 2.5-point underdogs currently. That’s pretty remarkable for a 10-2 team facing off against a 5-7 team. The upcoming game will be a massive test for the Vikings, and a must-win for the Lions.

Next game: @ Lions (5-7)

Standings after Week 13

1. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
2. Detroit Lions (5-7)
3. Green Bay Packers (5-8)
4. Chicago Bears (3-10)

With their brutal schedule, the Bears almost surely will stay at the bottom of the division, while the Vikings are all but guaranteed the division title. There is still technically a chance for the Lions, though... If somehow they manage to win out and the Vikings lose out, they would win the division. We can all dream, right?

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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.