Following Sunday's NFL action, the Green Bay Packers were the weekend's biggest losers in the NFC North title race with just three regular season games remaining on the schedule.
The Minnesota Vikings (8-5) successfully fought off a surprisingly pesky Detroit Lions squad (0-13) to retain their one-game lead over the Chicago Bears (7-6). Chicago jumped out to an early lead in their win over the Jaguars, scoring 20 of their 23 points in the first half.
But the disappointing Packers (5-8) dropped their third straight in a 24-21 loss to the Houston Texans. The loss makes it virtually impossible for Green Bay to earn a playoff spot. According to the team's official website, the Packers would have to win all three of their remaining games, the Vikings would have to lose all three of theirs, and the Bears would have to lose at least two of their final three, including a head-to-head loss to the Packers. Green Bay would win a tiebreaker if all three teams finished at 8-8 because they would hold a 3-1 advantage in head-to-head matchups with those two divisional rivals.
VIKINGS 20, LIONS 16
RB Adrian Peterson rushed for over 100 yards for the eighth time this season during a 20-16 win over Detroit. He finished the day with 102 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry .... Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw a touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter after stepping in for Gus Frerotte, who injured his back during first-half action. Jackson completed eight of his ten pass attempts for 105 yards .... Minnesota converted five out of nine third-down opportunities (56 percent) .... The Vikings defense held Detroit's rushing attack to less just 2.8 yards per carry .... Defensive end Jared Allen added two sacks to boost his season total to 12.5 with three games remaining. He had 15.5 last year for the Chiefs. Allen was also credited with five solo tackles, three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble ... Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper posted a season-best 220 passing yards and 58.3-percent completion rate against Minnesota. Culpepper completed his fifth game of the 2008 season and avoided throwing an interception for the first time this year .... Kicker Jason Hanson booted four of his five kickoffs into the end zone and converted all three of his field goal attempts for Detroit .... Middle linebacker Paris Lenon led the Lions with ten tackles (six solo) and forced two fumbles. He was also credited with half a sack, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss.
Minnesota's remaining games: At Arizona, Atlanta, NY Giants
Detroit's remaining games: At Indianapolis, New Orleans, at Green Bay
Bears DL Israel Idonije
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
BEARS 23, JAGUARS 10
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew caught a team-leading seven receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown for Jacksonville. That pushed his season total to 50 catches for 462 yards, career bests for Jones-Drew. The 50 catches also sets a franchise record for most receptions in a single season by a running back, surpassing Fred Taylor's 49 catches back in 2002 .... Chicago defensive lineman Israel Idonije was credited with 1.5 sacks, one tackle for a loss, four quarterback hits, one pass defended and a special teams tackle .... Bears running back Adrian Peterson made three of the team's eight special teams tackles .... Following another fine effort on Sunday, rookie running back Matt Forte has contributed at least 100 total yards from scrimmage in six consecutive games for Chicago.
Chicago's remaining games: New Orleans, Green Bay, at Houston
TEXANS 24, PACKERS 21
After missing four games due to injury, Texans QB Matt Schaub completed 28 of 42 pass attempts for 412 yards and threw two touchdown passes .... Houston wide receiver Kevin Walter caught six passes for 146 yards, including one for a 58-yard touchdown. The only time Walter has posted a higher single-game receiving yardage total during his career was last year against the Jaguars when he tallied 160 yards .... Texans rookie running back Steve Slaton ran for 120 yards on 26 carries. He's rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his last four contests .... The Texans converted seven out of 13 third-down opportunities (54 percent) .... Packers running back Ryan Grant rushed for 104 yards, his third 100-yard game of the season. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry .... Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes while moving his team 295 yards through the air. Over the last four weeks, Rodgers has thrown for nine touchdowns .... Second-year linebacker Desmond Bishop led the Packers defense with 11 tackles (eight solo). He also earned a sack, two tackles for a loss and forced a fumble.
Green Bay's remaining games: At Jacksonville, at Chicago, Detroit
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can contact him by email through this link.