COMMENTARY | Week 15 of the NFL season will be an interesting one for the top two teams in the NFC North division – The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. As I stated a few weeks ago, one of these two teams will win the division title and that is exactly what is on the line this week. With a victory, not only will the Packers capture the division crown for the second straight season, they also have a chance to do so on the Bears’ home field. One can only imagine how sweet that would be, especially since these two teams hate each other so much. I posted a 1-1 mark in Week 14, putting my season record at 25-18. The goal of finishing the year with a 60 percent winning percentage is still within in reach, but it will take a bit of luck to pull it off. Without further ado, here is my brief NFC North forecast for Week 15.
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers:
The term “reversal of fortune” comes to mind when I think about this match-up. The Bears won seven of their first eight games, while creating turnovers at a very high rate. Now, the team has dropped four of their last five contests, with several key players sustaining injuries over that stretch. The Packers looked very average through the first five games of the year at 2-3, but have since won seven of the last eight games and now sit atop the division at 9-4. If you are a Bears fan, it is difficult to feel good about this game. Not only are Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings missing on the defensive side, Jay Cutler is playing with a sore neck and possibly a sprained knee as well. The Packers have taken seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams and their dominance will continue this week.
Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals:
There is not a lot of excitement to speak of in this match-up, as both teams are out of the playoff race. Not only were the Cardinals shut out 58-0 by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14, they have also lost nine consecutive games since their 4-0 start. The Lions have been equally disappointing, as they also have a 4-9 record despite having one of the best offenses in the league, along with one of the best receivers playing the game in Calvin Johnson. While the Lions have found a variety of ways to lose games this year, look for them to end their skid against the woeful Cardinals.
Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams:
After the Vikings compiled a 3-13 record in the 2011 campaign, the expectations for this team were very low coming into the season. However, a win against the Rams would enable to them to remain in playoff contention. Adrian Peterson has rushed for 364 yards the last two weeks and he will need to be a big factor again this week, especially if Christian Ponder continues to struggle. The Rams have beaten the San Francisco 49ers in one meeting and played them to a tie in another, so they are very capable of winning games against a quality opponent. With a potential playoff berth at stake though, I expect the Vikings to come out on top.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bears for more than 20 seasons. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
Week 15 Predictions – Elliot Harrison
Team stats provided by www.nfl.com