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Monday, December 5, 2011
BBAO: NFC North playoff status unchanged

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Week 13 might have given us our most wild collection of games yet here in the NFC North.

You had the Green Bay Packers clinching the NFC North with a precision drive in the final 58 seconds of regulation at MetLife Stadium.

You had the Chicago Bears losing tailback Matt Forte to a sprained knee, possibly for the next two weeks, and losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 10-3, at home. The margin of victory? An improbable Hail Mary at the end of the first half.

You had the Minnesota Vikings scoring 32 points with tailback Adrian Peterson sidelined by an ankle injury, only to be bested by a near-perfect passing day from Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

And finally, you had the Detroit Lions playing a closer-than-expected game at the New Orleans Saints, but ultimately absorbing a 14-point loss amid three costly personal fouls.

The series of events left the NFC playoff picture mostly unchanged from last week. If the season ended Monday, the Bears (7-5) and the Atlanta Falcons (7-5) would be the two wild-card teams. The Lions would be bumped out because of their loss earlier this season to the Falcons.

And away we go into the final quarter of the 2011 season. ...