Packers, Lions on Crash Course for Division Title

With the Packers burying the Bears on Sunday night, both on the field and in the standings, the NFC North is shaping up to be a two-horse race. With seven games to play for each team, the Week 17 contest in Green Bay is already looking like it could decide whether the Packers or Lions take the division in 2014. Here are the remaining schedules for both teams:

Lions 7-2 (4-1 at home)                                                           

Week 11   @Arizona (8-1)

Week 12   @New England (7-2)

Week 13   vs. Chicago (3-6) (Thanksgiving Day)

Week 14   vs. Tampa Bay (1-8)

Week 15   vs. Minnesota (4-5)

Week 16   @Chicago (3-6)

Week 17   @Green Bay (6-3)

The Lions face a tough couple weeks ahead, with consecutive road matchups against division leaders in Arizona and New England. They will have little time to recuperate from those games, as they face a Thanksgiving divisional game against the Bears the following Thursday. The schedule softens in Weeks 14-16, as Detroit has two of three at home, with all three games against sub-.500 teams. The way the team is playing, and with Calvin Johnson's ankle finally healthy, the Lions will enter most of the final slate of games as the favorite or a narrow dog.


Packers 6-3 (4-0 at home)

Week 11   vs. Philadelphia (7-2)

Week 12   @Minnesota (4-5)

Week 13   vs. New England (7-2)

Week 14   vs. Atlanta (3-6)

Week 15   @Buffalo (5-4)

Week 16   @Tampa Bay (1-8)

Week 17   vs. Detroit (7-2)

Before Monday night, Packers fans may have felt that a Mark Sanchez-led offense would be unable to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and company. However, with some help from the defense and special teams, Sanchez helped the Eagles hang a 45-burger on a talented Panthers defense. The Eagles are the first of three teams in playoff contention the Packers will play before Week 17. These games are split up fairly favorably for Green Bay, with alternating games against contenders and non-contenders from Weeks 11-16. Two of the toughest games on the remaining schedule are at home, where the Packers have not lost since Week 16 of last season.

A lot can happen in seven weeks of football, but at this point it looks like Week 17 could be a significant one in deciding the playoff contender(s) that will represent the NFC North this season.

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Zac Bellman - Sportswriter

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