Packers-Bears finale looks fit for prime time

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The regular-season finale between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears likely will end up being for the NFC North title and the playoff berth that goes along with it.

The two teams have the Baltimore Ravens to thank for that. Their 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions on "Monday Night Football" put control of the division into these two teams' hands.

Win out, and either one wins the division.

So, if both teams hold up their end of the deal in Week 16 -- the Packers (7-6-1) would have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, and the Bears (8-6) would need to do the same at the Philadelphia Eagles -- then the stage would be set.

What better way to display it than in prime time?

At this point, the Dec. 29 game at Soldier Field looks like the top candidate to be flexed into the NBC Sunday night spot. The NFL reserves the right to move any Week 17 game into prime time and does not have to do so until six days before the finale. That means a decision will come Monday.

Because the league has an all-division-game format for Week 17, there could be other equally important matchups for the NFL to consider. The NFC East title could come down to the finale between the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The AFC North could be decided in the game between the Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. And a wild-card spot could be on the line in the San Francisco 49ers-Arizona Cardinals game.