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Friday, November 12, 2010
Final Word: NFC North

By Kevin Seifert

NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10:

History on their side: The Chicago Bears have won eight of their past nine home games against the Minnesota Vikings. Their only loss during that stretch came in 2007, and it took 224 rushing yards from Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson and a 54-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell in the final seconds to make it happen. The Vikings also haven't won a road game in more than a calendar year, going 0-7 away from the Metrodome since winning at Lambeau Field on Nov. 1, 2009. Even before you get to X's and O's, the Bears already have something on which to build.

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson has scored 11 touchdowns in six games against the Bears.
Ball! The Vikings have turned the ball over 19 times this season, tied for the sixth-most in the NFL. (Most of them have been committed by quarterback Brett Favre, who has thrown 13 interceptions and has been credited with four lost fumbles.) The Bears, on the other hand, rank second in the NFL with 20 takeaways. That's a good combination if you're a Bears fan. Nothing can turn a game more quickly than a turnover advantage. Obviously every game is different. But as we approach this one, we can say with confidence that one of the NFL's sloppiest teams is playing one of its most opportunistic. You do the rest of the math.

Trending: Peterson has run for more yards against the Bears (733 in six games) than any other NFL team. He also has 11 touchdowns in those games, the second-most rushing touchdowns against the Bears by one player since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Given Favre's turnover problems and the Bears' ball-hawking tendencies, you would expect Peterson to play a central role in this game. In three previous games at Soldier Field, Peterson has run for 224, 121 and 94 yards. The Bears are hoping that trend continues its downward direction.

Lesser of evils: If you are a Green Bay Packers fan during this bye week, whom are you rooting for at Soldier Field? Do you want to see the Bears win, matching the Packers' 6-3 record but further burying the Vikings? Or do you pull for the Vikings to win, leaving the Bears a full game behind the Packers but keeping the Vikings within two games at 4-5? Here's what I would say: If you're confident in your team, you pull for the Vikings to win Sunday and assume your Packers will win Nov. 21 at the Metrodome. If you're worried about the Packers' ability to sustain over the second half, you pull for the Bears and take your chances with their difficult second-half schedule and the knowledge that the Week 17 Packers-Bears matchup will be at Lambeau Field.

Make it stop: The Detroit Lions need a victory Sunday at the Buffalo Bills to avoid breaking the all-time NFL record for consecutive road defeats. That's right. The Lions have lost 24 consecutive games away from Ford Field, dating back to 2007. That figure ties the Lions' previous NFL record. You would like to consider winning a reasonable task when taking on an 0-8 team, but keep in mind that the Bills haven't exactly been pushovers this season, especially recently. In fact, they have tied an NFL record by losing three consecutive games by three points or fewer. That's about as close as you can be, right?