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Monday, December 10, 2012
BBAO: Figuring out the NFC North

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Good morning. Week 14 brought us two things in the NFC North: Snow and a bit of clarity. We've largely dispatched the former, so let's hash through the latter while we have a moment.

The Green Bay Packers (9-4), winners in seven of their past eight games, have a full one-game lead in the division. They can clinch their second consecutive title with a victory Sunday at the Chicago Bears. At the moment, they are the No. 3 seed in the NFC.

The Chicago Bears (8-5), losers in four of their past five games, are currently the NFC's sixth and final playoff seed. (The  8-5 Seattle Seahawks own the head-to-head tiebreaker against them.) The Bears can probably advance with two victories in their final three games, but they might need to win out. (Playoff machine here.)

The Minnesota Vikings (7-6) are still alive in the playoff hunt after defeating the Bears but will need some help. They are bunched with two other teams with identical records, but would lose the tiebreaker to each: the Washington Redskins own the head-to-head matchup and the Dallas Cowboys have a better record against common opponents.

The Detroit Lions (4-9), losers of five consecutive games, have guaranteed themselves last place in the division. Even if they win out, and the Vikings lose out, the Vikings would win the "tiebreaker" at 7-9 because of a head-to-head sweep. ESPN Stats & Information projects the Lions to currently be in the No. 7 overall position for the 2013 draft.

Whew. That should do it. Now for our morning tour: