As we noted Tuesday, Week 7 brought us a level of clarity in the NFC North race. We can say with some confidence that three teams are in the thick of it, while the Detroit Lions are a couple steps behind.
It might be a while, however, before we can make a more definitive conclusion. As I note in this week's Blogger Blitz, the bulk of the intra-division schedule won't be played until the final six weeks of the season.
The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings play their season series in Weeks 12 and 14. The Vikings and Green Bay Packers play in Weeks 13 and 17, and the second installment of the Bears-Packers series won't occur until Week 15.
Division games won't necessarily decide the NFC North race, but someone would have to jump out to a pretty substantial lead by Week 12 for those games not to matter. So hang on to your hats. We've got a long ride ahead of us.