By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — If I told you the Lions would lose to a team that scored all 18 of its points on six field goals, would you believe it?
Actually, you probably would. They’re the Lions.
That’s exactly what happened Monday night as Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was a perfect 6-of-6, including a ridiculous 61-yard field goal in the final minute to give Baltimore an 18-16 win.
The loss puts the Lions at 7-7, one game behind the 8-6 Bears and a half-game behind the 7-6-1 Packers.
For the Bears and Packers, who play each other at Soldier Field in Week 17, it’s simple: Win the last two games and the NFC North title is theirs.
The Packers host the Steelers this coming Sunday, while the Bears play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday night. The Lions host the Giants and aren’t dead yet — it just feels like it.
Incredibly, if the Packers and Lions both lose Sunday afternoon (both teams play in the late afternoon window), the Bears could enter their Sunday night contest against the Eagles with a chance to clinch the division. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) has yet to be medically cleared to return and his status for Sunday’s game is still uncertain.
More likely, Sunday’s game in Philadelphia will be a must-win contest that would give the Bears a chance to clinch with a win or tie over the Packers in Week 17. If both the Bears and Packers win this week, that game would be a de facto division title game to end the regular season.
If the Bears don’t beat or tie the Eagles Sunday, they’ll need the Lions to lose at least one of their last two games because Detroit holds the tiebreaker. Then it would still come down to the Bears’ Week 17 matchup against the Packers no matter what Green Bay does Sunday against the Steelers.
When the Bears left the Metrodome just over two weeks ago after a devastating loss to the Vikings, it appeared their playoff hopes were all but dead.
Thanks to the Lions, Marc Trestman’s team is now in full control.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.