Christmas came early for Packers fans following a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Not only were the Detroit Lions defeated by the Giants, but the Bears were embarrassed on National TV by an Eagles team that didn’t need to win. Now the North will be decided by the oldest rivalry in the NFL, Packers at the Bears. We all know the Starks control the North, and one team actually dresses a Stark.

This has been a wild two months in the NFC North. The Packers at 5-2 couldn’t win a game the entire month of November without Rodgers. At 5-6-1, their playoff hopes were slipping away. That’s right when the Packers turned into the cardiac kids and had two comeback victories against the Falcons and Cowboys. This latest game was another saga in the dramatic comeback games for the Packers; however they fell short with poor time management.  Matt Flynn had a very similar game when he came into play for Rodgers against the Patriots in 2010. Flynn had horrendous clock management at the game which lead to the Packers not having an opportunity to score. The parallels from these two teams are kinda eerie.

The Lions, one of the most talented teams in the league, had everything to lose. Not only did the Packers not have Rodgers, but Jay Cutler was injured too. The Lions proved once again they weren’t ready.  Too many turnovers, sloppy play and untimely penalties lead to their demise. Now the two teams that controlled their own destiny….still control their own destiny thanks to the Lions losing.

The Bears have to be happy to be in the position to win the division as well. Their defense has just been awful this year. It is hard to watch this Bears team, since they are a polar opposite of previous teams.  However, they are still hanging around thanks to the deficiencies in the division. Now they have an opportunity to sweep their rivals this week and take claim to the division.

The big question now is whether Aaron Rodgers will play in this game or not. It’s hard to imagine Rodgers not suiting up for this game, but in the end the Packers are going to make the best decision for their future as a team.  The Packers would be the tougher out in the playoffs in my opinion. The Bears have a nice offense, but every NFC playoff team would be salivating to play that defense.

Whether the Packers or Bears win the NFC North, the winner will be the #4 seed. That means there is a potential of a Bears/Packers vs Niners game if the playoffs started today. I think Packers fans would love a little redemption against a 49ers team that has had the Packers numbers these last couple of years. The 4 seed would host the wildcard game and that would put the home team at a nice advantage seeing as all the potential wildcards aren’t cold weather teams. So whether it is New Orleans, Arizona, San Francisco, or Carolina the Packers/Bears would have the advantage. This week a lot of the pundits will say how bad the NFC North is and how nobody is trying to win it, but I think the Packers can make a run with AR12 behind center.

 

Randall “Stiltz”

 

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