Packers defeat Bears to win NFC North
In his first game back since getting injured against Chicago in November, Aaron Rodgers started a little slow. He threw two picks in their first two possessions, ending drives that looked like they would end in points. Despite that, the Packers ended the half up 13-7, helped a lot by this bizarre play where Rodgers fumbled, but nobody realized that. However, the ball was still live, and Jarrett Boykin took it and eventually ran it into the end zone.
The Bears rebounded though with two Matt Forte touchdowns in the third quarter, as it quickly became apparent that the Packers couldn't stop the Bears rushing attack. That set up Chicago for big passing plays to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. In between those two scores, the Packers scored one of their own, making it 21-20 Bears after three.
Chicago quickly made it 28-20 on the first play in the fourth on this fantastic catch by Jeffery. The Packers scored on the next drive, but curiously didn't go for 2 and kicked the extra point, keeping them down 28-27. After a Bears punt, the Packers had the ball, but thanks to a dwindling clock and the decision not to go for two, had to convert on 4th down three separate times to keep the drive and the season alive.
The last conversion though was a stunner, a 48 yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, who was making his first appearance since October after breaking his tibia. The two pointer failed, meaning the Bears still had 38 seconds and two timeouts to get the game winner. A good kickoff return helped, but the final heave to the end zone was picked off, and just like that, the Packers were in and the Bears were out.
Elsewhere in the NFC, the Saints pounded the Bucs to clinch a playoff berth. That eliminated the Cardinals, who, to add insult to injury, lost to the Niners on a last second field goal. The Seahawks and Panthers won to clinch the first round byes, which Seattle clinching home field throughout. With the Packers winning, the NFC East winner is guaranteed the third seed. Thus, the NFC playoffs look like this:
Byes: (1) Seattle, (2) Carolina
Wild Card Games:
(6) New Orleans at (3) Philadelphia/Dallas
(5) San Francisco at (4) Green Bay
Given recent history, the playoff game doesn't look good for the Packers, but as a Packers fan, I'm not real worried about it. My team is in, and my team's biggest rival is out. For now, that's all that matters.