Green Bay Packers: Chicago's Loss Puts Them Back in the NFC North Race

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 12, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 21: Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy stands on the sideline during a timeout  during the game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 21, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
David Welker/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers happily went into their bye week with a four-game winning streak.

The bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Packers, since some of their best players have suffered injuries.  This week gave them some more time to get healthy, and it will likely translate into next week's game against the Detroit Lions.

What the Packers weren't exactly expecting was to be back in the race for the NFC North divisional title. The Chicago Bears lost a tough game against the Houston Texans on Sunday night, and it put the Packers just one game behind them in the NFC North.  

The Bears' nightmares came true yet again, as Jay Cutler had to leave the game with a concussion after the first half.  While head coach Lovie Smith says that they aren't ruling out Cutler for next week, his status is still uncertain (via ESPN).

Whether or not Cutler plays next week, the Packers will have a very good chance of taking the lead in NFC North.  The Packers will be going up against the Lions next week, who have struggled against better teams.  If the Packers can win, they will need the Bears to lose against the San Francisco 49ers for them to take the lead in the division.  The Bears will have a very tough test against the 49ers, since their weaknesses were exposed this week against Houston.

While nothing in the NFL is certain, it seems like the race in the division could come down to Week 16, where the Packers will head to Soldier Field to take on the Bears.  A win for the Packers would give them the tiebreaker if the teams finished with identical records.  A win for the Bears would make things more interesting, and would give them the division title in most realistic scenarios.  

The season isn't close to being over yet, but the Packers can consider this bye week a major victory in the race for the NFC North title.