NFC North standings heading into Week 17

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Brendan Sugrue
·4 min read
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It’s just about time to put a bow on the 2020 NFL regular season now that Week 17 has arrived. But there are still plenty of playoff spots still open and a draft order that needs to be finalized. Plus, we’ll get one final preview of the NFC North standings before they become finalized, which will impact the 2021 scheduling next spring.

For one last time, here’s how the division looks before the final week of the NFL regular season.

Green Bay Packers (12-3)

Packers 40, Titans 14

USA Today

One of the NFC's best squared off against one of the AFC's best as the Green Bay Packers welcomed the Tennessee Titans to Lambeau Field on Sunday night. The intriguing matchup turned ugly in a hurry, however, as the Packers got off to a hot start and wouldn't be caught. Green Bay led 19-0 late into the first half, thanks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The frontrunner for the 2020 MVP award threw four touchdowns on the night, adding to his impressive resume. While the Titans did score two touchdowns to cut the Green Bay lead to five points, the Packers responded on the ground. Running back Aaron Jones scored on a 59-yard run, though he did appear to step out halfway down the field. The Titans refused to challenge and the Packers added to their lead, never letting Tennessee get close again. While the Packers did get the win, they didn't secure the top seed in the conference. They'll be playing for something on Sunday as they attempt to earn a first-round bye, as well as stop the Chicago Bears from making it to the postseason.

Chicago Bears (8-7)

Bears 41, Jaguars 17

James Gilbert/Getty Images

It's amazing what can happen in just a few weeks. The Bears, once left for dead after dropping six straight games, now control their own destiny when it comes to making the postseason. It wouldn't have happened, however, without a decisive victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bears defeated their former quarterback Mike Glennon and the Jaguars 41-17, earning a winning record for the first time in nearly two months. Despite a close first half that had the Jaguars within three points, the Bears rattled off 21 points in the third quarter, ensuring an easy win against the worst team in the league. With their third win in a row, the Bears finish their season against the Packers, where they either need to win, or have the Arizona Cardinals lose, to advance to the postseason for the second time in three years.

Minnesota Vikings (6-9)

Vikings 33, Saints 52

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

This year's Christmas was one the Minnesota Vikings would probably like to forget. The Vikings traveled to New Orleans to take on the Saints on Christmas day and were walloped 52-33. The Saints got all of but one of their touchdowns from running back Alvin Kamara, who tied a league record with six rushing scores while donning red and green cleats. Despite the onslaught of Kamara touchdowns, the Vikings kept this game within reach for much of the afternoon. They pulled within four points in the third quarter, thanks to a couple of touchdowns by tight end Irv Smith. But the Saints were too much for the Vikings to handle and handed them their third loss in a row. Head coach Mike Zimmer and the Vikings will look to end the season on a positive note when they take on the Detroit Lions for third place in the division.

4. Detroit Lions (5-10)

Lions 7, Buccaneers 47

USA Today

For as bad as Christmas was for the Vikings, the day after Christmas was even worse for the Detroit Lions. The Lions came into their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers severely shorthanded. Many coaches, including interim head coach Darrell Bevell, were unable to be with the team due to COVID-19 contact tracing. With that, the Lions had a watered-down gameplan and were already at a huge disadvantage against quarterback Tom Brady. The result was ugly. Brady and the Buccaneers poured it on the Lions, winning 47-7. It wasn't even that close as Tampa Bay led 34-0 at halftime, scoring with ease. Offensively for the Lions, quarterback Matthew Stafford was knocked out of the game early due to an ankle injury. Backup quarterbacks Chase Daniel and David Blough entered in relief, but neither could muster anything on offense. The loss ensured the Lions would have yet another double-digit loss season, their third in a row. To end the season, they'll face a reeling Minnesota Vikings team and attempt to move into third place on Sunday.

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