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NFL schedule 2012: Bears face Lions; Vikings host Packers with playoff spot on the line

All the chips are being pushed onto the table for Week 17. Can the Bears avoid another disappointment and reach the postseason?

Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Needing a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive, the Chicago Bears head to the Motor City for a big matchup against the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. Currently 9-6 on the year, the Bears not only need a victory on their end, but a Minnesota Vikings loss, as well, to ensure their path to the postseason.

When the Bears defeated the Lions on national television earlier this season, it appeared the franchise was emerging as one of the league's elite teams. Five losses in six games quickly changed that narrative, but the Bears bounced back last week to beat the Arizona Cardinals and keep their playoff aspirations in check.

Unfortunately, Chicago no longer controls its own destiny after all of those losses. The Vikings currently hold the tiebreaker over the Bears given their superior record against NFC North opponents, and Minnesota can clinch the final NFC postseason spot by beating the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Packers will presumably be playing their best, though, with the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye on the line. Green Bay has won nine of its last ten games, including a 23-14 win over the Vikings on Dec. 2.