There are two weeks left in the 2013 NFL season, and all but one division remains undecided. The NFC North is the most competitive group in the league with three teams still in the mix for first place.
The Chicago Bears are currently in the driver’s seat. They sit atop the division at 8-6 and are guaranteed to be playing for something in Week 17. Even if the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, who are a half-game back and one game back, respectively, win on Sunday, Chicago would still be alive in the final week.
The final game of the Bears’ regular season could determine the winner of the division. They are set to host the Packers on the Sunday before the start of the postseason. Chicago won the first matchup between the two teams, which saw Aaron Rodgers go down with a collarbone injury in the first quarter. As long as the Bears don’t win, while the Packers end up losing in Week 16, their second meeting will determine which team finishes ahead of the other in the NFC North.
Detroit may be in third place, but their playoff chances are not finished. Because of their 4-2 division record, they would hold the tiebreaker over both Chicago, who they beat twice, and Green Bay. However, the Lions could easily be eliminated from contention by Sunday night. In order to stay alive, they’ll need to win on Sunday, and hope for either the Bears or Packers to lose.
The Lions have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way. They’ll host the New York Giants on Sunday and visit the Minnesota Vikings the following week. Neither team has anything to play for in the last two games. In Week 16, the Bears are three-point underdogs in Philadelphia, while Green Bay will host Pittsburgh.
Winning the division is the only chance any of these teams have of reaching the postseason. The San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers lead the wild card race and sit two game ahead of Chicago. A 7-3 conference record guarantees them both the tiebreaker over the Bears.
At 4-9, the Vikings are out of the playoff race. They were eliminated from contention in Week 14.