Even the most die-hard Vikings fan has to accept this likely fate: the Packers winning the NFC North. Green Bay is the class of the division, and maybe even the entire league. So let's move on from there.

Conventional wisdom, however, also seems to have the Vikings finishing third or fourth in the NFC Central, generally trading with Detroit in those bottom two spots.

From where we stand, though, the Vikings will finish ahead of at least one other division foe: the Bears. We have Chicago pegged for a classic backslide -- maybe not as marked as their six-win decrease from 2006 to 2007, but pretty close. From the Lance Briggs situation to a first-place schedule to the NFL's system of checks and balances, we'll take the Bears at 6-10 or 7-9, and the Vikings a game better.

That doesn't matter a ton when the Packers are 13-3, but at least it's something.