Beyond the snow on the ground, there is another annual sign that Christmas is around the corner. That sign is the Detroit Lions losing meaningful games during the month of December.
That is what happened to the Lions on Monday night.
Monday began with the Chicago Bears in sole possession of first place in the NFC North division. The Lions, who hold the tie-breaker over the Bears, simply needed to win against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night to maintain their lead over the Bears.
Instead, the Lions did what the Lions do every season–lose when the games mean the most. Between three interceptions thrown by quarterback Matthew Stafford and endless dropped passes by wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions were unable to overcome a Ravens team that scored all their points on Monday with field goals.
The Lions loss gives the Bears sole possession of first place in the NFC North division.
Meaning with two games left in the regular season, the Chicago Bears control their playoff destiny. All the Bears have to do is win their next two games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers and the team will have clinched the NFC North division title as well as the number three seed in the NFC Conference. A third seed in the NFC conference would mean that the Bears would have a home playoff game.
While the Bears control their playoff destiny, so do the Green Bay Packers. If the Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bears in their final two games of the regular season, then Green Bay would sit in the number three seed in the NFC Conference while being crowned NFC North champions.
Meanwhile, the Lions need to win their next two games against the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings while also needing losses from both the Bears and Packers.
The Bears may have an opportunity to clinch the NFC North division next week on Sunday Night Football in their game against the Eagles. If the Packers lose to the Steelers and the Lions lose to the Giants, a victory over the Eagles would give the Bears the NFC North division and the three seed in the NFC conference.
It could also boil down to where the game between the Bears and Packers at the end of the season will determine who wins the NFC North division.
But with the Lions doing what they always do in December, the Bears control their playoff destiny.