If we take NFL Week 12 as any indication, nobody has any interest in winning the NFC North.
The division that once looked like one of the toughest in football now bears a striking resemblance to the NFC East, with the entire division going winless despite the three-team race at the top.
The Packers and Bears can at least blame injuries. The Lions are the healthiest they’ve been all season, and played perhaps their worst game of the season.
So with only five weeks left in the 2013 NFL regular season, the question for NFC North is, “who can stop failing long enough to tumble into the playoffs?
Let’s have a look at the big picture.
NFC North Standings
Detroit — 6-5 (3-1 NFCN)
Chicago — 6-5 (2-1 NFCN)
Green Bay — 5-5-1 (2-1-1 NFCN)
Minnesota — 2-8-1 (0-3-1 NFCN)
The Lions, despite losing two straight, maintain the lead in the rapidly-weakening NFC North, but if they can’t beat Tampa Bay, who can they beat? They needed to put some distance between themselves and the injured Packers and Bears, and they’ve done nothing to create it.
Chicago and Green Bay have to be happy about at least keeping pace the fading Lions with their starting quarterbacks out, but they have issues running far deeper than just quarterback. Neither is exactly sporting a championship-caliber defense.
In fact, there are bottom-tier defenses throughout the NFC North, which is a big part of the reason the division is falling apart team-by-team.
So take a deep breath and cover your eyes. Here’s how each team failed their expectations this week.