Atlanta ended a four-game losing streak against Green Bay with a one-point victory Sunday. The Texans held off another late rally by Matthew Stafford and Detroit to beat the Lions.
Philadelphia lost in overtime, Seattle’s comeback effort fell short, and Arizona was beat up by struggling Carolina.
The NFC North’s bad day coupled with several other notable losses in the NFC gives the Vikings a great opportunity Monday night to increase their lead in the division race and add a cushion at the top of the NFC standings. They visit Chicago for just their second division game this season and a victory would give the Vikings a healthy two-game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North.
The Vikings (5-1) are playing for back-to-back wins in Chicago after losing seven consecutive years in the Windy City. The Bears are 1-6 and haven’t won since Week 4 against Detroit. The Vikings hope to bounce back after losing their first game of the season last week to Philadelphia.
Aaron Rodgers looked good for the second straight week with 246 passing and 60 rushing yards, and threw for four touchdowns, but Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was just as good with 288 passing yards and three TDs. Ryan led the Falcons (5-3) on a last-minute TD drive to snap the team’s six-game losing streak against the NFC North with a 33-32 victory over the Packers (4-3).
Detroit (4-4) entered Sunday riding a three-game winning streak thanks to three consecutive late-game comebacks led by Stafford. The Lions cut the lead to a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but never got the ball back after a failed onside kick with 2:53 left in the game and all three timeouts left, and Houston won 20-13.
The Vikings host Detroit next Sunday at noon.
Carson Wentz lost the battle of top rookie quarterbacks against Dak Prescott. Philadelphia (4-3) blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and then lost to Dallas (6-1) in overtime, 29-23. The Cowboys are on top of the NFC standings with the Vikings in second and Seattle in third.
The Seahawks (4-2-1) drove to the New Orleans 10-yard line in the final minute of the game, but Russell Wilson’s pass to Jermaine Kearse was caught out of bounds and the Saints (3-4) held on for a 25-20 victory.
Arizona (3-4-1) fell into a 24-0 hole in the second quarter against Carolina (2-5) and could never fully recover, losing 30-20 in the NFC championship game rematch. The loss bumps the defending NFC West champion Cardinals below .500 at 3-4-1.
The Vikings host the Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium in three weeks when the standings and playoff picture could look much different again, but after the Week 8 results the Vikings appear to be in a healthy position.