NFC North Know-It-All: Week 17


Dec 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz looks on during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Lions 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers finished victorious and atop of the NFC North to get the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Lions and Vikings cleaned house at the head coach position by firing Jim Schwartz and Leslie Frazier.

NFC North Final Standings

Green Bay Packers: 8-7-1 (3-2-1 in division)

Chicago Bears: 8-8 (2-4 in division)

Detroit Lions: 7-9 (4-2 in division)

Minnesota Vikings: 5-10-1 (2-3-1 in division)

Detroit Lions

To cap off their downward spiral, the Detroit Lions managed to lose 14-13 against the Minnesota Vikings in their season finale to finish the season losing seven of their last eight.

Needless to say, lots of Detroit Lions fans were happy to see Jim Schwartz get fired on Monday. Schwartz finished his five years in Detroit with an amazing 29-51 record. The Lions continued to have too many mishaps in the offseason with the law along with the ability to torpedo seasons at the end. By far, the Lions head coaching position is the most attractive to any coach on the market. The offensive and defensive weapons are there, but the team just needs discipline and great coaching in the fourth quarter and latter part of the season. Do I think Schwartz will get hired elsewhere? Maybe. Should he? No.

Free agents to keep an eye out for: running back Joique Bell, defensive lineman Israel Idonije, defensive back Rashean Mathis, wide receiver Michael Spurlock and kicker David Akers.

Green Bay Packers

On a 4th-and-8, the Green Bay Packers sealed their fate with a Randall Cobb touchdown catch to get the 33-28 win against the Chicago Bears along with being crowned the NFC North champion.

It’s karma, and we all knew it. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned on Sunday to lead the Packers to victory. How ironic? The Bears were the ones to bring down the hopes of Packers’ fans when Shea McClellin injured him, and Rodgers returns to shut the Bears out of the playoffs. Well, Rodgers looked rusty at first throwing two first half interceptions but slowly brushed it off to finish by throwing two touchdowns and 318 yards.

Not only did Aaron Rodgers return to the playing field this week, so did wide receiver Randall Cobb. After not getting a single touch in the first half, Cobb came back in the second half to score two pivotal touchdowns. With Cobb healthy, the Packers might actually have a shot at advancing in the playoffs. That and if running back Eddie Lacy is healthy, which is questionable.

Linebacker Clay Matthews was sidelined by a re-injured thumb this Sunday and it’s likely you won’t be seeing him against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.

In exchange for the NFC North division title, the Green Bay Packers will host the team that kicked them out of the hunt in 2012 – the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. Will the Packers finally figure out how to stop 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick?

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings ended the 2013 season on a high note in Week 17 as they beat the Detroit Lions 14-13.

Leslie Frazier also joined the band of coaches that lost their jobs on Black Monday as the Vikings parted ways with him. Frazier had one winning season with the Vikings and that was 2012 when Adrian Peterson broke out to lead his team to the playoffs. I’ve never been a huge fan of Frazier and especially so with his choice of quarterback and inability to stick to one this season.

Free agents to keep an eye out for: Defensive lineman Jared Allen, running back Matt Asiata, linebacker Desmond Bishop, running back Toby Gerhart, wide receiver Jerome Simpson, and offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb.