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And then there were two: Bears and Pack

CHICAGO -- It's down to a two-horse race in the NFC North.

With the Minnesota Vikings dead in the water at 3-6, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers now sport identical 6-3 marks, but Lovie Smith's team holds the edge after beating Green Bay earlier this season at Soldier Field.

"Division wins are huge," Bears tight end Greg Olsen said. "With us playing two games before Green Bay plays another one (Packers were on bye this week), obviously we all knew how important this was to get this win. We have the same record, and now we have a chance to play another game before they do. We play Thursday [in Miami], and they don't play until next Sunday.

"We settled ourselves in a good spot. Of course, it's one game at a time, but it's big that we took care of business. Now we have a short turnaround and have to travel to Miami and play another good team."

"This was a big game, in order for us to hopefully be the champs of our division you have to beat the champs," Smith said. "It was a big win for us today."

Not only have the Bears won two straight, they head to South Florida with the momentum of playing their most complete game of the season against Minnesota.

"This was probably the best three-phase performance our team has had all season," Olsen said. "This just shows you, when we have all three phases clicking like that -- from special teams pinning them deep with Brad Maynard's punts and Devin Hester giving us great field position with his returns, to the defense shutting down a really good offense -- all in all, it was a pretty good team win."