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Monday, December 20, 2010
BBAO: Big night for the Bears

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

We spent much of Sunday discussing the Green Bay Packers' suddenly simple playoff picture. (As you know by now, the Packers can clinch at least a wild-card berth if they win their final two games, both at home, against the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.)

But let's not bury the lede (too far, at least). The Bears can win the NFC North title Monday night by defeating the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. A division championship would cap a surprising and impressive season for a Bears nucleus that seemed down to its final gasps last winter.

Bears fans concerned about the field conditions and snow forecasts -- up to eight inches is expected to fall by Tuesday morning -- should consider that the Vikings' recent history has been terrible in such weather. In fact, they won only one December/January outdoor game in a northern climate during the entire decade of the 2000s. That came in a January 2005 playoff win at Lambeau Field. The Bears might not have looked good in the snow last week against the New England Patriots, but their opponent Monday night is a dome team through and through.

Continuing around the NFC North: