We're Black ad Blue All Over:
Lost in other season-ending issues for the Detroit Lions was a significant injury that could impact the team's offseason plans.
Left tackle Jeff Backus suffered a torn biceps muscle late in the Lions' 45-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints, and coach Jim Schwartz confirmed that Backus was set to undergo surgery Monday. Schwartz said Backus will miss "a significant portion of time" as he recovers this offseason.
Backus is an unrestricted free agent, and if the Lions tried to extend his contract during the season, it was never reported publicly. He will turn 35 shortly after the 2012 season starts, and at some point the Lions will have to begin addressing his replacement. Whether this injury will jump-start that process is unclear. He isn't likely to be recovered when free agency opens in March, so some projection will be required.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions will be the next 'it' team this offseason, an offspring of the mind-blowing hyperbole that makes the NFL a 12-month talking point. They've got a young quarterback at the cusp of elite status and a monstrous receiver that scientists finally confirmed is actually a cyborg. But they'll quickly learn how expectations abruptly conflict with reality. The Lions are more than just a few roster tweaks from being a serious playoff threat."
The Lions must re-sign pending free agent Cliff Avril, writes Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News.
Lions running back Jahvid Best said he is free of concussion symptoms and is confident he will play in 2012. Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com has more.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com shares some information from previous interviews to give a sketch of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, whose son Michael was found dead Monday.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Instead of the usual excitement at the stadium that accompanies the start of a playoff work week, there was sadness and a feeling of helplessness."
When they return their gaze to football, the Packers will have to deal with a formidable New York Giants defensive line. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway actually had a better season in 2010 than in 2011, but he is headed to the Pro Bowl nonetheless, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune reviews the Vikings' quarterback situation.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com grades the Chicago Bears.
A wide receiver is the Bears' top need, according to Dickerson.
Tim Ruskell would not necessarily be Jerry Angelo 2.0 as the Bears' general manager, according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.