We're Black and Blue All Over:
Hello there everyone. I'm finally re-connected after making the long trek back to NFC North blog headquarters. The trip spanned Monday night's thrilling game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, and leaves us to discuss -- yes -- the possibility of the Chicago Bears nailing down the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
The Saints' victory kept that possibility alive. Here's what would have to happen, according to ESPN Stats & Information:
A Bears win at the Green Bay Packers AND
A Falcons loss at home to the Carolina Panthers AND
A Saints loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers AND
A Philadelphia Eagles loss in one of their final two games.
It's a long shot, but nothing about the Bears' 2010 season has been predictable.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Bears played something other than Cover 2 on 54 percent of their snaps against the New York Jets, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, suggesting it wasn't to blame for the Jets' 34-point output.
Bears tailback Matt Forte needs 22 yards to reach 1,000 for the season, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times examines whether the Bears should pull back their personnel and schemes against the Packers.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "If not for their plethora of penalties in Week 3 at Chicago, the Green Bay Packers might be playing for the NFC North title this Sunday against the Bears at Lambeau Field."
Amazingly, the Packers are still within range of the fewest penalties for a season in team history, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers punter Tim Masthay, whose net average is 37.2, is in range of the best net average in team history. Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more.
The Detroit Lions are expected to get safety Louis Delmas (concussion) back for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions center Dominic Raiola could face team discipline for shouting an obscenity to a fan at Sun Life Stadium, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz is reacting cautiously to his team's three-game winning streak, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
The rhetoric of Minnesota Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier has changed noticeably in recent weeks, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Frazier, via Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Some of the things we have experienced, we'll look back on in 2011, I believe at some point, we'll say that's what helped us become the champion we've become. I know I'd like to return, and what we've gone through, for sure, you'd like to see what things would be like if we can get our squad together and keep some guys healthy and line up and play."
Frazier spoke to former NFL coach Tony Dungy recently about his challenges with the Vikings' wild end to their season, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.