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Green Bay Packers beat Chicago Bears, claim NFC North

The Green Bay Packers couldn't have asked for more from their Sunday trip to Soldier Field. They won their game, clinched the NFC North and -- as an added bonus -- sent the Chicago Bears deeper into another late-season tailspin.

Aaron Rodgers hooked up with James Jones on three touchdown passes in the Packers' 21-13 win, but this game was about a Green Bay defense that tightened on its own end and a Chicago offense that's at a loss for how to move the ball on plays not involving Brandon Marshall.

The Packers now have won 12 consecutive games against NFC North foes. The Bears have lost six in a row to the Packers.

The Packers move to 10-4 and will wake up Monday as the NFC's No. 3 seed since the San Francisco 49ers escaped Foxborough with a 41-34 victory over the New England Patriots. With favorable matchups looming against the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, the Packers still could earn a first-round bye, but they'd also need the 49ers, who are 10-3-1, to slip.

As for the 8-6 Bears? It's hard to know what to expect at this point. They've lost six of their last seven games and -- unlike last season -- there's no excuse to lean on with Jay Cutler healthy.

Once 7-1, the Bears now need help to make the playoffs. This loss could have long-term effects on the franchise, specifically coach Lovie Smith.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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