MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates a touchdown with teammate Christian Ponder #7 in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
After the Vikings beat the Packers in a thrilling game, the Bears will not head to the playoffs. Chicago needed a win, which they got in Detroit, and a Vikings loss. Only one part of the equation worked out.
Both Chicago and Minnesota won close games in Week 17. The Bears took an early lead on the Lions, but nearly gave it up late in the game. The Vikings had a back and forth game with the Packers that ended in Blair Walsh kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Though the Bears and Vikings have identical 10-6 records and are 1-1 against each other, the Vikings had a better record within the NFC North. This earned Minnesota the final wild card berth.
The season came down to hoping the Packers would win, but it never should have come to that. Chicago started the season 7-1, but then dropped close games to Houston, Seattle and Minnesota. A win over just one of those playoff teams would have earned them a spot in the playoffs.
The Bears have no one to blame but themselves for missing the playoffs for the second straight season. Now, they will have to decide what to change for next season to avoid missing the playoffs yet again.