Packers beat Lions, clinch NFC North

For the second consecutive year, the Green Bay Packers have won the NFC North.

With a 31-24 win over the Lions today in Detroit, the Packers improved their record to 10-3 and clinched the division title. They’ll play at least one home playoff game, and they remain in contention for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had an outstanding game. The Lions’ defense barely laid a finger on him as he carved up the secondary all day. It was a strong statement that Rodgers deserves consideration for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby put the game out of reach with a 58-yard field goal with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played well too, but he’s not on Rodgers’ level. Stafford did his best in a game where he knew he didn’t have much margin for error because his defense didn’t make many stops, but he left the game after appearing to have a rib injury in the fourth quarter.

The Lions fall to 5-8 and out of any realistic chance of a wild card berth. Some day they may be able to compete with the Packers for NFC North supremacy. But for this year, like last year, Green Bay is atop the division.