2013 NFL Power Rankings, Week 12 Edition
The NFC North currently has three teams within one game of each other in the standings with only six games to play.
In our latest consensus power rankings, those three teams all rank within a few spots of each other: Lions (10), Bears (11) and Packers (15).
In a tight divisional race, which team will win the NFC North division?
Kevin Hanson (follow on Twitter):
Since losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone, the Packers are 0-3 with losses to the Bears, Eagles and Giants. That said, they host the 2-8 Vikings this week and could possibly get Rodgers back for a Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions in Week 13.
Earlier this season, the Packers beat the Lions in Week 5 and would clinch the potential tie-breaker (over them) with a win on Thanksgiving should it come down to that. Of the team's remaining schedules, I think the Lions, who currently sit atop the division due to their tie-breaker over the Bears, has the toughest remaining schedule (or at least toughest opponents). After this week, the Lions will face the Packers, a much different team with Rodgers, the Eagles, who are playing better, the Ravens, last year's Super Bowl champs, and the surging Giants in their next four games.
Going into Week 17, a lot could still be on the line with the Vikings hosting the Lions and the Bears hosting the Packers. Assuming the Packers get Rodgers back in Week 13 (and win that game and own the tie-breaker over the Lions), I say that the Packers will make up their one-game deficit and win the division.
John Trifone (follow on Twitter):
The Lions have a leg up on the division, having won both games against the Bears this year. For Chicago to win the division, they would have to end a full game up on Detroit, and I think they're going to fall a little short.
Four of their last six games are on the road, so I just don't know if they'll be able to pick up a game. I've basically written off the Packers, although if they get Rodgers back soon, they definitely have a shot to run the table. I'll give them an outside shot at the division if they can beat Minnesota without their MVP, and then get him back for the following week against Detroit.
But if I had to pick now, I'll say that the Lions win the division.
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Sean Beazley (follow on Twitter):
The Packers are targeting a Turkey Day return for Aaron Rodgers, and this game might be a must-win situation if they lose this week to the Vikings. When I watched the Packers this past Sunday, they reminded me of watching the Colts without Peyton Manning.
As much as I'd like to see Rodgers (own him in two leagues) return against Detroit on Thanksgiving, I don't think he plays until the following week, and by then, they will be too far back to contend for the division.
I think the Detroit Lions will hold on to win the division. The most important stat is having four of their last six games at home, which is huge since they have a great home-field advantage. I also think Calvin Johnson has a legit shot to break his own record of receiving yards in a season, and hit his goal of 2,000 yards.
Dan Yanotchko (follow on Twitter):
This year the NFC North is the most competitive division in the league, and since I have to pick a winner, I am going with the Detroit Lions. The Lions, are perhaps the most perplexing team, and I also think that Jim Schwartz is not a very good coach, but in spite of this, they will win the division.
The Lions have two important things going for them right now, as they are healthy, and the only team that still has their Week 1 QB in the lineup currently, and they also have the best offense of the three.
The Packers are down to their third-string QB, and there is not a specific timetable for Aaron Rodgers return.
The Lions will win as they have avoided the injury bug, have the front-seven to shut down any team, and also the best quarterback on the field at this time.