NFC North Struggles In Week 13

The fact that the Green Bay Packers had one of the most unexpected wins of the season on Thursday does not take away from the Bears, Lions, and Vikings looking terrible at the end of the early games yesterday. Green Bay was saved by a face mask penalty that was undoubtedly warranted, however the defensive play calling on the extra down was so terrible it should’ve led people in Detroit to be asking themselves why they can’t be responsible for making decisions when it comes to their own team. The Lions were supposedly expecting the underneath and laterals during the free play and didn’t anticipate the 77 yard hail mary that went 50 feet in the air at its high point.

The Packers were in no way moving the ball in the first half and should’ve lost in convincing fashion thus helping out the rest of the teams in the division, instead the Packers became the only winning team of the NFC North in Week 13 of the NFL improving their record to 8-4 and regaining their place atop the division after briefly losing it after Thanksgiving. The Packers now stand as the three seed once again in the NFC which means they’d host the lowest NFC seed when the playoffs begin at home on Wild-Card Weekend. Currently the Seattle Seahawks who nobody should want to face after what they did to the Vikings yesterday hold that distinction at 7-5 winners of three straight.

The Vikings got crushed on their home turf in a game that pretty much shows the rest of the league they’re not ready for the big stage. The Vikings have now lost their last two games to NFC Playoff teams both of which occurred at home in the last three weeks. Minnesota is 8-4 and currently on pace to play the Redskins on Wildcard Weekend which may be a blessing in disguise, however now with Seattle owning the tiebreaker it’s imperative the Vikings keep a better record than Seattle as to avoid the looming double take at Lambeau on the final day of the season and then Wild-Card Weekend. Seattle dismantled Minnesota and it wasn’t close. Russell Wilson had six incompletions all day and three touchdown passes for 274 yards. Wilson also had 51 rush yards while undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls had over a hundred yards and a score.

Minnesota’s offense was nowhere to be found as Adrian Peterson had 18 yards on 8 carries and Teddy Bridgewater was sacked four times and threw for a paltry 118 yards. The Seahawks at one point were up 35-0 in the third quarter until Cordaralle Patterson had a return of 101 yards on the ensuing kick.

The Bears saw their season go up in flames as they watched Robbie Gould hook an extra point equivalent badly as time expired in regulation sending the game into overtime. The Bears were in a position to win and in the end they somehow managed to blow it. The Bears were up 20-13 with three and a half minutes left in the game and then proceeded to watch Blaine Gabbert take himself down the field running for 60 yards on three attempts to tie the game. Gabbert capped off the drive with a 44-yard TD run that tied the game with less than two minutes to go.

The Bears would get the game handed to them on the ensuing kick as Deonte Thomspon would return it to inside the 49ers 30-yard line. Eventually after a few Ka’Deem Carey runs up the middle that brought Chicago to inside the red zone, Robbie Gould was brought in to hit the walkoff winner which should’ve been 36 yards. Robbie Gould didn’t do that and the 49ers would win in overtime on the long pass play to Torrey Smith after the two teams traded three and outs to start overtime.

This is now the third time the Bears have blown an opportunity to get back to five hundred as they now stand at 5-7 on the year and all but out of the playoff picture trailing both Minnesota and Seattle by 3.5 and 2.5 games respectively based on tiebreakers. The Bears only have four games left in their season which will continue next week at home against the Redskins.

The Vikings travel to Arizona on Thursday in a very tough game out west while the Packers host the Cowboys in America’s Game of the Week on Sunday. The Lions travel to St. Louis in the other NFC North affair.