NFC North: Packers seize control of the division

Posted Dec 5, 2012

By virtue of their win over the Vikings on Sunday and a Bears (8-4) loss to the Seahawks, the Packers (8-4) are now back on top of the division thanks to an victory over Chicago earlier this season.

Most people believed that it was only a matter of time before the Packers seized control of the NFC North. By virtue of their win over the Vikings on Sunday and a Bears (8-4) loss to the Seahawks, the Packers (8-4) are now back on top of the division thanks to a victory over Chicago earlier this season.

The Packers have won seven of their last eight games. The Bears have lost three of four.

The two teams at the top of the division are heading in opposite directions.

What did we see: The Bears lost their one-game lead in the division over Green Bay and are now in second place behind the Packers because of their loss to them earlier in the year.

The Bears have now lost three of their last four after a hot 7-1 start. So what’s been their problem?

They had seven defensive touchdowns in their first eight games. Over the last four they have none. They averaged 3.5 takeaways per game in their first eight games. Over the last four they have a total of six.

The Bears’ big-play defense fueled a lot of their early-season success. They aren’t getting the same production and it’s reflecting on the win-loss record.

Injury report: The Bears are losing the battle of attrition.

Four more starters didn’t finish the Seattle game according to the Chicago Sun-Times: middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring), cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder), safety Chris Conte (illness) and wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion).

Six players didn’t finish last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, with three unable to play against the Seahawks: guards Lance Louis (knee) and Chris Spencer (knee) and wide receiver Devin Hester (concussion).

“We’re concerned,’’ defensive end Julius Peppers told the Sun-Times. “We need everybody on the field. We’ve got to get everybody healthy, and we have to have some guys on the second line step up.’’

Next up: The second meeting with the Vikings in three weeks



What did we see: The Packers are playing good football at just the right time. They’ve won seven of their last eight and won Sunday despite giving up 210 rushing yards to Adrian Peterson.

The Packers now lead the NFC North and they aren’t likely to relinquish it the rest of the season the way they’re playing.

Green Bay continues to find ways to win despite a bevy of injuries, which is the hallmark of a team with great leadership and depth.

The Vikings have now lost in consecutive weeks to division opponents and, have fallen to 6-6 on the year.

Minnesota's playoff chances aren’t dead but they will be be soon if they don’t get better play from quarterback Christian Ponder, who threw two costly interceptions and had just 36 yards passing entering the fourth quarter.

Peterson already has 1,446 yards through 12 games, which is the second-highest total of his career behind the 1,760 yards he gained in 2008.

Injury report: Packers -- The Packers lost receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) in the first quarter and right tackle T.J. Lang (ankle) in the second quarter. Undrafted rookie Don Barclay played for Lang the rest of the way and could start against the Lions Sunday.

No new injuries for the Vikings. Though defensive end Jared Allen continues to play through a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Next up: Packers – host the Lions. Vikings – host the Bears.

What did we see: The Lions lost their fourth consecutive game to drop to 4-8, and finished a 0-3 home stand by blowing fourth-quarter leads in each game, the third team in NFL history to do so.

The defense was unable to stand up late in another game and the offense was again incapable to ice the game with a score late or get a first down that would have won it for them.

Calvin Johnson continues his torrid pace at the record books. He was targeted  20 times from Matthew Stafford and caught 13 passes for 171 yards and a 46-yard touchdown. Johnson now has 1,428 yards, 421 yards from breaking Jerry Rice’s NFL record of 1,848 receiving yards in a season.

Injury report: The Lions lost rookie receiver Ryan Broyles to a season-ending ACL injury in his right knee. 

Next up: at Green Bay


Bob McGinn's scouting report
Bob McGinn – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Packers know it's how you finish
Rob Reischel – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Packers' Starks likely done for the season
Tyler Dunne – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Packers offensive line overlooked but not overmatched
Rob Reischel – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ryan Grant agrees to terms with Packers
Mike Vandermause – Press-Gazette

Detroit Lions scouting report
Pete Dougherty – Press-Gazette

Urlacher hurt but offense feels the pain
Chicago Tribune

Reliable Bears' defense showing signs of weakness in last two losses
Adam L. Jahns – Chicago Sun-Times

Brian Urlachers injury just one of many concerns
Mark Potash – Chicago Sun-Times

Jennings' arm in sling, receiving treatment
Jeff Dickerson –

With Vikings' season on the line, dome is object of hope, affection
Mark Craig -- Star Tribune

Jared Allen fine for Sunday
Dan Wiederer – Star Tribune

Vikings coach: 'I believe we can' win with Christian Ponder
John Shipley – Pioneer Press

Percy Harvin injury worse than believed
Tom Pelissero –