The NFC North division battle was the one that went down to the wire, with the final game of the season deciding who won the division. The Vikings won the Week 17 clash against Green Bay to take the division, while the Lions’ and the Bears’ seasons did not go to plan.
Minnesota Vikings – 11-5 (#3 seed)
Wild Card Weekend – L 10-9 to Seahawks
The Vikings came into the season as the second favourites behind the Packers, but they acquired well in the off-season. After going 2-2 through their first four games before the bye week, Minnesota then won their next five straight, to take the division lead at 7-2. Three wins at the end of the year, including that last-day win against the Packers, saw them take top spot in the division and the #3 seed in the playoffs.
They went into the playoffs with a home berth against the Seahawks, who were looking to reach their third straight Super Bowl. A late missed FG saw the Vikings lose by a single point. The 10-9 defeat to Seattle saw them dumped out of the playoffs, but they show real promise for next year.
The Vikings will pick at no. 23 in the draft.
Green Bay Packers – 10-6 (#5 seed)
Divisional Weekend – L 26-20 to Cardinals
The favourites to win the NFC North were the Packers, and this was justified in the first six weeks, as Green Bay went perfect to 6-0. However, a mid-season dip with four defeats in five saw them fall behind the Vikings. Three wins saw them move back to the top of the division, but that last day defeat saw them into a Wild Card spot for the playoff run.
The Packers travelled to Washington in the first week of the playoffs, and showed the Redskins that they were one of the teams to beat in the run to the Super Bowl. However, the next week, they were beaten. They travelled to Arizona and lost by just six points, falling out of the playoffs on Divisional Weekend.
With that run, the Packers will choose 27th in the draft in April.
Detroit Lions – 7-9
The Lions start to the 2015 season was woeful, and they looked, at one stage, like they would be getting the 1st pick in the 2016 draft. Their 1-7 start is one of the worst in history, since Detroit themselves, went 0-16 in 2008. They rallied, however, to win six of their last eight games to overtake the Bears and take 3rd place in the division.
The Lions will have the 16th pick in the first round of the draft.
Chicago Bears 6-10
The Bears started badly, winning just two of their six games before the bye week in Week 7. Two big wins on the road in San Diego and St Louis showed that they had turned a corner, but losing four of the next five firmly disagreed with that. A last week defeat to the Lions saw them drop down to the bottom of the NFC North, meaning there is work to do in Chicago.
The Bears will pick 11th in the draft.