For the first time this season, there are two divisional matchups in the NFC North. The Chicago Bears travel to Minnesota to round out their season series against the Vikings. Both of those teams are coming off of tough losses last week and cannot afford another in this game.
The Detroit Lions come to Lambeau Field where they haven’t logged a victory in over 20 years to take on the Green Bay Packers in the Sunday night football matchup. Detroit suffered a gut-wrenching and last-second defeat at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. The Packers were the only victorious team in the North this past week. The win helped them reclaim sole possession of first place in the divsion.
Here’s a sneak peak at each matchup and some storylines heading into the games.
Chicago Bears (8-4) at Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
The Bears are starting to feel the effects of their hard-fought season. They learned that they will be without long-time veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher for at least the next three weeks due to a hamstring injury. While Urlacher has been hampered by some bumps and bruises this season, there is no question the Bears defense is better with him on the field.
Chicago’s starting cornerback Tim Jennings was also injured in last week’s game vs. the Seattle Seahawks when he collided with another player and hurt his shoulder. As of Tuesday, it was still not known how serious the injury was and more tests were expected later in the week to determine if there is any structural damage. Any such news would mean Jennings will miss some time which would be a huge blow to the Bears’ secondary. Jennings has been the team’s top defender this season and leads the team with eight interceptions.
The Vikings are also awaiting some news on the health of one of their star players, wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin has missed the team’s last four games with an ankle injury and has battled health issues since coming into the league as a rookie in 2009.
Minnesota and Chicago are both in need of a win to make a strong run at the postseason. The Bears and Packers have the same record at 8-4 but Green Bay holds the tie-breaker, having beaten Chicago head-to-head earlier this season. The Vikings dropped to .500 and are trying to stay alive in the Wild Card race with an outside chance at a division win.