We're Black and Blue All Over:
How tough have the Green Bay Packers made it on themselves to reach the playoffs? As Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette points out, the Packers could win the remainder of their games, finish 11-5 and still not clinch a wild-card berth. (It's a topic we considered earlier this month.)
How could that happen? It's a long story, but here's the bottom line: The Chicago Bears would win at least two of their final three games to clinch the NFC North. The New Orleans Saints (10-3) would clinch the No. 5 playoff spot and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) would clinch the No. 6 spot, winning a tiebreaker with the Packers because of a better conference record. And that's assuming the Packers start their final three-game run with a victory over the red-hot New England Patriots Sunday night, a game that quarterback Aaron Rodgers (concussion) is uncertain to play in.
With three weeks remaining in the 2010 season, there are still many possibilities. You can fiddle with them yourself in ESPN.com's Playoff Machine. But I think you'll be hard-pressed to find many easy paths to the postseason for the Packers.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Packers have scored just 13 points in the first quarter of their past seven games, notes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Former Packers guard Marco Rivera and fullback William Henderson will be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Chicago Bears have lost seven of their past eight games in the Metrodome, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com. Good thing Monday night's game will be played in TCF Bank Stadium.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman falls in the "slumping" category of Wright's most recent Bears analysis.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times goes behind the scenes of the odd season of Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris.
The Minnesota Vikings are planning to get receiver Percy Harvin (migraines) back on the practice field this week, notes the Star Tribune.
Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press thinks the Vikings should start rookie quarterback Joe Webb against the Bears on Monday night.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com breaks down the tape of the Vikings' loss to the New York Giants.
Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch is already back in the weight room after having surgery to remove a disk from his neck and fuse two others, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com believes officials would have called Lions cornerback Nate Vasher for pass interference last Sunday on the Packers' final offensive play if the ball was catchable.
The Lions haven't given up hope that quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) could return this season, according to Dave Birkett of the Free Press.