Oct 22, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) recovers a fumble by Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) at the goal line during the third quarter at Soldier Field. The Bears won 13-7. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Shack's NFC North Predictions: Week 17

Welcome to my final edition of Shack’s NFC North Predictions for the 2012 season. I’ve had a blast following each NFC North team this season and each team has surprised me for one reason or another. Who would have thought that the Vikings would be in playoff contention after a 3-13 season? While we are talking about the Vikings, who would have thought Adrian Peterson would come back from the horrific ACL tear that he suffered last season with a potential record breaking season in 2012? Who would have thought the Bears would be in the situation they are in now after a 7-1 start? As for the Lions some may have predicted a down year, but 4-11 to this point? Nobody could have predicted this. At least Calvin Johnson gave Lions faithfuls something to cheer about in his record breaking season. Even the Packers surprised me this season. After a mediocre 3-3 start, they have really turned on the after burners and look to be one of the biggest threats heading into the playoffs.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson will probably get his 108 yards and be the first player in NFL history to reach the 2,000 yard receiving mark, but that will probably be the only positive for the Lions in this game. The other possible positive would be Matthew Stafford’s second consecutive 5,000 yard season (he needs 305 yards Sunday). The Lions injury situation hasn’t improved in fact, Sammie Hill has been ruled out for Sunday’s game adding another Lion to the long list of injuries. Bottom line, the Lions don’t have enough play makers on the field to beat the Bears on Sunday. The only way the Lions win is if they can establish the run and win the turnover margin where they are -12 on the season. Given that this is a division game I think it will be a dog fight finish.

Prediction: Bears win 23-20

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have really found their way the last few weeks entering Sunday’s game with a three game win streak. The Packers have also hit their stride with a four game win streak and look like a team that no one wants to play in the playoffs. I could really see this game going either way, but there is something special going on in Minnesota this year, much like the 2011 season for the Lions. I think the Vikings will punch their ticket to the playoffs and beat the Packers. I also think Adrian Peterson breaks Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record (he needs 208 yards to break Dickerson’s record).

Prediction: Vikings win 24-21

Recap: I predict a win by the Bears and Vikings which means playoff births for the Vikings and Packers. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your NFC North Predictions! I’ll do my best to respond to any questions or comments you might have. Do you think Adrian Peterson will break Eric Dickerson’s rushing record? What about Calvin Johnson’s pursuit of 2,000?

Last week’s record: 3-1

Record so far this season: 30-21

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Tags: Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings

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