We're Black and Blue All Over:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It's amazing how much happened Sunday between about 3:45 p.m. ET and 4:30 p.m. ET.
In that window, the Green Bay Packers cemented a 23-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, their sixth victory in seven games. The Chicago Bears lost a fourth-quarter lead, made a dramatic dash to tie the Seattle Seahawks just before the end of regulation and then lost on the opening drive in overtime. A few minutes later, the Detroit Lions lost on the final play of regulation to the Indianapolis Colts.
So as our ESPN.com playoff standings reflect, the Packers' 8-4 record puts them atop the NFC North. If the postseason began today, they would be the NFC's third seed while the Bears would be the first wild card and the No. 5 seed overall. The Vikings' 6-6 record in essence puts them two games behind in the wild-card race because they lost earlier this season to the Seahawks (7-5).
No NFC North team can clinch a playoff berth in Week 14. If you want to project beyond that point, feel free to use the ESPN.com Playoff Machine.
Let's take our morning tour before I begin the trek back to NFC North headquarters:
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher couldn't finish Sunday's game because of a hamstring injury, notes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune agrees with Bears coach Lovie Smith's decision to go for it on fourth and short, but the fact the Bears couldn't convert proves they deserved to lose.
Receiver Earl Bennett's concussion further depleted the Bears' receiving corps, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com: "Now is the time to worry about the defense, which got exposed by a quick quarterback who treated the second half like a college football game, going hard on the read option. A veteran defense that looks more banged-up every game."
Colts guard Mike McGlynn was furious about the way Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and some teammates celebrated over a hit that caused Colts guard Winston Justice to have a concussion, notes ESPN.com AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News on Lions coach Jim Schwartz: "Discipline is Schwartz's responsibility and he's failed this season, no matter how you slice up all the tight losses."
The Lions have "totally squandered" a season of promise, writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions defensive players "relaxed" too early in Sunday's game, cornerback Chris Houston admitted, according to Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
The Packers know how to win and didn't need a halftime pep talk to get things turned around Sunday, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Perhaps this game was a turning point for Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers receiver Greg Jennings on his first game in two months, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "I felt great, feel great now, felt great getting hit a couple times, hitting the ground, getting dirty, making some plays. Now we have to see how this week progresses. I feel great."
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "With the way [Adrian] Peterson was running, [Christian] Ponder basically had to avoid making any costly, oh-my-God mistakes. He couldn't, and an otherwise stalwart team effort was wasted."
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune found absurdity in Peterson taking responsibility for not doing more: "It's a sad commentary when he feels compelled to criticize himself for not making more big plays after putting forth maximum effort to keep his team afloat."
The Vikings don't have any real choice other than to continue supporting Ponder for the rest of the season, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.