Week 14 NFC North power rankings: Vikings on verge of division title




 

For the first time in three weeks, all but one of the teams in the NFC North won their game last weekend. The Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers all took home victories while the Chicago Bears dropped their sixth game in a row.

The division standings continued to remain status quo heading into the final quarter of the 2022 season. Here's how the power rankings look prior to Week 14.

1. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

 

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) react after a touchdown by Jefferson during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

  • Last week's ranking: No. 1

  • Week 13 result: 27-22 win vs. New York Jets

At this point, it's pretty clear what kind of team the Vikings are in the 2022 season. They're a competitive group that will scratch and claw their way to victory almost every week, regardless of the opponent. They had to hold on for dear life yet again, this time against the New York Jets. The Vikings jumped out to a 20-6 lead at halftime, but the Jets wouldn't go away and made things interesting late. Minnesota was able to fend off Mike White not once, but twice late in the fourth quarter to secure the win. They're now 9-0 in games decided by one score or less this season.

Their close victories have paid off as the Vikings have set themselves up for a run at the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They can also clinch the division this week with a win on the road against the Detroit Lions.

2. Detroit Lions (5-7)

 

Dec 4, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) celebrates by throwing the football into the end zone wall after scoring a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Jared Goff (not pictured) against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

  • Last week's ranking: No. 2

  • Week 13 result: 40-14 win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Don't look now but the Lions are making a late run for a playoff spot and they're doing it in convincing fashion. Detroit won their fourth game in five weeks when they demolished the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-14. Jared Goff had his way with the Jaguars defense, throwing for 340 yards and two scores. On defense, Aidan Hutchinson got revenge on the team that chose to pass him up in the draft with a sack and the Lions looked like a solid team from top to bottom.

They need a lot of help to get into the playoff conversation but this is the most competitive Lions team we've seen since 2016. They can really make some noise with a victory against the Vikings this weekend.

3. Green Bay Packers (5-8)

 

Dec 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) /throws the ball away as he is hurried by Chicago Bears defensive end Taco Charlton (97) in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

  • Last week's ranking: No. 3

  • Week 13 result: 28-19 win at Chicago Bears

The Packers needed a rebound after getting trucked by the Philadelphia Eagles the week before and they got it against the Bears. Things didn't come easy, though. The Bears jumped out to a 16-3 lead before Green Bay was able to find its footing. It wasn't Aaron Rodgers' best day as he continues to battle through multiple injuries, but a few key turnovers were the difference that gave the Packers the win and kept their slim playoff hopes alive. The win doesn't mean too much in the standings but it did give the Packers the most all-time wins for the first time in NFL history. So they have that going for them.

This still isn't the same Packers team from years past though and they have a few more tough matchups to come to finish the season out. A playoff berth is unlikely but they'll worry about that after their bye week.

4. Chicago Bears (3-10)

 

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 04: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears rushes for a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 04, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

  • Last week's ranking: No. 4

  • Week 13 result: 28-19 loss vs. Green Bay Packers

The good news for the Bears? They have the most exciting quarterback in the division by a mile. The bad news? There's not too much around him to make it matter in the standings yet. Justin Fields returned from his shoulder injury and made magic happen both on the ground and through the air. Unfortunately, conservative playing calling and a pair of interceptions late thwarted any chance of a win after the Packers were able to do what they have done for the last decade and find a way to beat the Bears.

Chicago has a bright future, but must go through growing pains to finish the year out. They have a bye this week before they face three division-leading teams in four weeks to close out the season.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire

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