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NFC NORTH: Where all four teams stand heading into Week 15

Week 14 of the NFL season is in the books and the four teams in the NFC North are heading into the final four-game stretch of the season.

The Lions hold a two-game lead in the division with four games remaining. They lead the Vikings by two games, who they play twice in the final four contests. They are three games up on the Packers.

Here's a look at what all four teams are facing in their remaining four games:


Record: 9-4

Remaining opponents: vs. Denver (7-6), at Minnesota (7-6), at Dallas (10-3), vs. Minnesota (7-6)

Strength of schedule: 31-21

Twentyman: Detroit didn't play well Sunday, falling to Chicago (28-13) at Soldier Field. A key fumble, some undisciplined penalties and overall inconsistent play plagued the Lions in a double-digit loss. It was a performance head coach Dan Campbell seemed especially irritated with after the game and both eager and confident they'll clean up this week.

Detroit has followed every loss this year with a win, and they'll be hoping to continue that trend at home Saturday night in primetime against a Broncos team that's playing pretty good ball right now winning six of their last seven contests.

The Lions control their own destiny and can clinch the division with two wins in their last four. The New York Times playoff predictor gives them a 91 percent chance of winning the division and a 99 percent chance at earning a playoff spot. Lions quarterback Jared Goff said this week he's looking forward to getting back at Ford Field in front of the home fans after two straight road games and getting back to their winning ways.


Record: 7-6

Remaining opponents: at Cincinnati (7-6), vs. Detroit (9-4), vs. Green Bay (6-7), at Detroit (9-4)

Strength of schedule: 31-21

Twentyman: The Vikings eked out a 3-0 victory over Las Vegas on Sunday in a game that may have caused anyone watching or attending to question their life choices. Minnesota benched quarterback Joshua Dobbs for Nick Mullens and Mullens was able to provide a spark and get the win. He was 9-of-13 passing for 83 yards and a passer rating of 86.4. Dobbs was 10-of-23 with 63 yards and a passer rating of 50.8. The Vikings named Mullens the starter for Week 15.

It sounds like All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson avoided major injury after leaving the game with a chest injury. The Vikings will need his services down the stretch if they're going to make a playoff push. It's a tough final stretch for Minnesota starting Sunday in Cincinnati, who have won two straight against playoff contenders Jacksonville and Indianapolis.


Record: 6-7

Remaining opponents: vs. Tampa Bay (6-7), at Carolina (1-12), at Minnesota (7-6), vs. Chicago (5-8)

Strength of schedule: 19-33

Twentyman: The Packers' division title and playoff hopes took a hit Monday night with a loss to the 4-8 Giants on the road. The New York Times gives them a two percent chance at winning the NFC North and a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs. They have the easiest remaining four-game stretch of the four teams in the division but sit three back of Detroit with four remaining. One of those games is in Minnesota too.

The Packers currently hold onto the last playoff spot in the NFC as the No. 7 seed, but Los Angeles (No. 8), Seattle (No. 9), Atlanta (No. 10) and New Orleans (No. 11) all have similar 6-7 marks. It will be interesting to see how the Wild Card in the NFC plays itself out over the last month and if the Packers can navigate their way into the dance.


Record: 5-8

Remaining opponents: at Cleveland (8-5), vs. Arizona (3-10), vs. Atlanta (6-7), at Green Bay (6-7)

Strength of schedule: 23-29

Twentyman: The Bears can still get to 9-8 and if they do they have a shot at a Wild Card spot. This week will go a long way in determining that as they are in Cleveland against a Browns team that is currently the No. 5 seed in a hotly contested AFC playoff race.

Not only are the Bears trying to keep their playoff hopes alive but they are also evaluating quarterback Justin Fields and his play down the stretch to determine if he's the long-term answer at quarterback. The Bears are likely to end up with the No. 1 overall pick thanks to their draft day trade with 1-12 Carolina last year that transferred the Panthers' first-round pick to them. It's expected to be a strong quarterback class.

Much like Detroit a year ago, the Bears also want to finish strong and hope they can carry that momentum into the next season like the Lions were able to do. Chicago has a couple first-round picks in next year's draft and are expected to have somewhere around 60-plus million in available cap space, per Spotrac.

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