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NFC NORTH: Where each team stands heading into Week 15

Three teams in the NFC North are still in the playoff hunt with just three weeks remaining in the season. Detroit's been eliminated from playoff contention, but can still play a factor with a Week 17 matchup vs. Green Bay looming.

This week's NFC North column breaks down the race for the NFC North title and how teams within the division might fit into the overall playoff picture come January.


Record: 10-3

Last week: Green Bay 20, Washington 15

Remaining opponents: vs. Chicago (7-6), at Minnesota (9-4), at Detroit (3-9-1)

Playoff position: The Packers can clinch a playoff spot Sunday with a win over Chicago and a loss or tie by the Los Angeles Rams. Green Bay can even get in with a tie against Chicago and a Rams loss.

Green Bay currently holds the No. 2 spot in the NFC and a first-round bye. They're also a game up on the Vikings for the NFC North division crown. The Packers control their own destiny for a division win and first-round bye. Week 16 in Minnesota will be a monster matchup in the NFC North.


Record: 9-4

Last week: Minnesota 20, Detroit 7

Remaining opponents: at Chargers (5-8), vs. Packers (10-3), vs. Bears (7-6)

Playoff position: The Vikings are currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture. Everything is still on the table for the Vikings, including a division title, as long they win their last three contests and get a little help.

The tie-breaking scenario for a division title is head-to-head matchup first (Green Bay defeated Minnesota earlier in the year) and second is the record within the division. Minnesota is 2-2 in the division and Green Bay is 3-0.

If Minnesota wins out they finish 12-4 and 4-2 in the division. If Green Bay wins just two more games – all against division opponents – they can lose to Minnesota Week 16 and still win the North because they'll also have a 12-4 record but 5-1 mark in the North. To win the division, the Vikings need the Packers to lose at least two of their remaining three games. The third tie breaker for the division title, if they both finish 12-4 overall and 4-2 in division, is record against common opponents.


Record: 7-6

Last week: Chicago 31, Dallas 24

Remaining opponents: at Green Bay (10-3), vs. Kansas City (9-4), at Minnesota (9-4)

Playoff position: The Bears have a tough task ahead of them finishing the season against three teams who all have at least nine wins.

Chicago is currently the No. 8 seed in the NFC, one spot behind the Rams (8-5), and will need quite a bit of help to get in, but it's still mathematically available to them. First and foremost, Chicago needs to keep their win streak going. They've won three straight.

View photos from the Lions-Buccaneers matchups through the years.


Record: 3-9-1

Last week: Minnesota 20, Detroit 7

Remaining opponents: vs. Tampa Bay (6-7), at Denver (5-8), vs. Green Bay (10-3)

Playoff position: Detroit was officially eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving. The playoffs aren't in the cards for the Lions for a third straight season, but they can still play a factor in the postseason and the role of spoiler by hosting Green Bay Week 17. Green Bay in all likelihood will still be playing for something, whether that's a division crown or first-round bye.

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