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Around the NFC North

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Around the NFC North

Chicago Bears:  The Bears received some discouraging news on the injury front when star running back Matt Forte suffered a right knee sprain against the Vikings.  Although the injury is not expected to keep Forte out of action for any length of time it was a double-blow because the going-nowhere-fast Bears had reportedly put Forte on the trading block.  If there had been any serious consideration to trading Forte that option all but disappeared once he was injured.  Jeremy Langford will take over for Forte until he returns.

Wide receiver Eddie Royal also suffered an injury said to be a knee that will sideline him for at least a week.  Marquess Wilson will fill in while Royal is recuperating along with Alshon Jeffery who is returning from his own injury.

Chicago is a 3 ½-point underdog to the Chargers in San Diego on Sunday night.

Last Week:   Lost at home to Vikings

This Week:   At San Diego Chargers

Season Record:  2 - 5

Place in NFC North:    Third

Detroit Lions:  The Lions took their traveling road show across the pond to London, England treating the Brits to some really bad football in the process.  They Lions cannot run, cannot pass, turn the ball over and give up more points than any other NFL club. 

The week prior to the trip head coach Jim Caldwell dumped three coaches from his staff including OC Joe Lombardi and promoted QB Coach Joe Bob Cooter to take his place.  It didn’t help.  Speculation is that there may be more changes in store for the undisputed worst team in the league during their bye week.  But what could they possibly due at mid-season that would make an appreciable difference? 

A 10 win team just a year ago, the Lions are done for 2015.

Last Week:   Lost in London to

This Week:   Bye

Season Record:    1 - 7

Place in NFC North:   Last

Minnesota Vikings:   The Minnesota Vikings have quickly become the darling of the media lately and seemingly everyone’s popular pick for a wildcard playoff berth if not better.

This past week Blair Walsh’s last-second field goal won the game for the Vikings 23, Bears 20, giving the Vikings their first victory in Chicago since 2007.

The Vikings feel like they may have the steal of the 2015 Draft with the stellar play of wide out Stephon Diggs (Maryland).  With the Vikings down by seven late in the game, Diggs caught a pass at the 30-yard line after a quick cut that helped the defender slip, he spun quickly and turned on the jets to win the footrace for a game-tying 40-yard TD that fueled Minnesota’s come-from-behind victory.  It is plays like this that have Digg’s talked about as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.

With the Vikings surging to within one game of the Packers, the NFL announced that they are flexing the Sunday, November 22 contest between the two from noon to 3:25 PM central.  The game is in Minnesota.

The Rams visit the Vikings this next week where the home team is listed as a 2 ½ point favorites.

Last Week:   Won at Chicago

This Week:  At home vs. Rams

Season Record:   5 - 2

Place in NFC North:    Second

Green Bay Packers:  Will the Mile-high debacle in Denver this past Sunday night be either a wake-up call for a team that had become complacent or a harbinger of things to come? 

After their best start to the season since 2011 the 6 – 0 Packers were destroyed by the Broncos in every phase of the game.  It was shocking, humiliating, embarrassing and for most of the fan base surprising.  But consider this.  The Green Bay Packers have dropped the last nine straight road games when playing a team with a winning record.  If that statistic holds up, this Sunday in Charlotte, NC is not going to result in a pleasant trip home for the Packers.

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy likes to say that statistics are for losers but stats do tell a story.

The team’s offense has crashed to 28th in average yards per game at 332.1 just behind their lowly brethren in the NFC North Detroit and Chicago and only slightly better than the 30th ranked Vikings. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is orchestrating an offense ranked a disappointing 27th in passing (210.1 YPG).  Despite the yardage drop of recent weeks the Packers rank a respectable 13th in scoring.  Still, that is not going to get the job done for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

After giving up back-to-back 500 yard games to the Broncos and Chargers the defensive rankings have also plummeted.  The defense has dropped to 23rd in average yardage (375.7), they are 17th worst in passing yards and all the way down to 26th in rushing yards allowed.  Therein lies a major problem this coming week as the run-crazy Carolina Panthers, led by ultra-mobile quarterback Cam Newton, lead the league in rushing offense.

Another statistic of note is that the Packers defense failed to sack the immobile Peyton Manning in Denver on Sunday night.  It ended the NFL’s longest current streak of consecutive games with a sack at 42.

Starting cornerback Sam Shields left the game early with a shoulder injury.  The good news is the injury is a day-to-day thing and he may be cleared to play this coming week in Carolina.

The Packers have precious little time to right the ship, and with the trade-deadline having passed at 3 PM yesterday, there will be no new weapons coming aboard to help get the job done.

Nationally the Packers are still receiving respect however and are listed as 2 1/2 -point betting favorites over Carolina at  Surprised?

Last Week:   Lost at Denver

This Week:   At Carolina Panthers

Season Record:    6 - 1

Place in NFC North:    First



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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

For a Division that many thought would be one of the toughest in the league, it has a couple of the worst teams in the league.

I figured Chicago was going to be bad, and I figured Minnesota would be good. But who honestly predicted Detroit to be this bad?
Detroit, what the hell happened there?

croatpackfan's picture

It is all on players. I think last week loss was very welcome. Not only loss, but that humiliation. For both sides of the ball! Now, it is clear that players needs to rise thair game for at least 2 levels and strop complaining for anything. They are well paid guys which play do not equal their salaries...
My God, the best player on the offensive side of the ball is/was rookie - Ty Montgomery! The star of the defense is Damarious Randall, another rookie! What says that to you?
I do not share your enthusiasm about Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers perfomances. They played bad football at Denver and against Chargers... If you do not believe me, go watch the games again. Clay should stop the run? On several occasions Denver's RBs were running by him as they are invisible... He showed in Denver that he has huge motor, nothing else. And we all knows that Clay is elite player! That bad plays must change! Also, Aaron's aspiration to perfection can cost this team a lot. He must go back and play w/o burden of "must to be perfect" on his shoulder...
Minnesota? Intriguing. At least 3 of their 5 wins was almost lost, so, still to be decided. Bears are much better that anyone expected, what is just oposite what we can say about Detroit.
Nice overview as always Jeff!

dobber's picture

Minnesota has a difficult second half on their schedule. Maybe not a murderer's row, but it won't be easy. They're a 9-win playoffs.

Evan's picture

9 wins very well might take a wild card spot.

But, I agree. I'm not buying the Vikings. Barely beating Chicago without Forte doesn't impress me.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I cannot agree with the notion that Damarious Randall is the best defensive player or that Ty Montgomery is the best offensive player over the course of the season or in any particular game. I agree that CM3 was active against Denver and was our best LB, but he was up and down some too. Randall had a long night in coverage that was in part but not wholly redeemed by his late interception.

croatpackfan's picture

Well name offensive player who played better than Ty as well who played all 7 games better than Randall. I respect your opinion, but I have eyes too...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

1st, in many ways I don't disagree with your comment: I just thought it was an overstatement. Ty Montgomery has looked promising, and I agree that he can be singled out for praise. Excluding week 1 (1 snap) and week 6 (San Diego where he got hurt - just 17 snaps), Monty has 13 receptions on 16 targets (81.25% - which is excellent) for 125 yards (9.61 average, 31.25 yds/game). Overall Monty has 15 receptions on 18 targets (83.33%) for 136 yards. I'd like to see the average improve, but given time he will catch more passes and break some tackles for longer gains. There is nothing wrong with your eyes, Croat.

Cobb, Jones, Sitton, Linsley, Lang, Aaron Rodgers and arguably Starks have been better than Monty. Clearly Cobb has been just gutting it out playing injured, but he has been better (36 recs or 377 yds and a 10.5 yd average), and he has commanded double teams much of the time. I don't think highly of James Jones, but he has been a gift with 22 recs for 426 yards and a whopping 19.4 yd average and 6 big TDs. I think Jones will fade and Monty and Adams will get more snaps.

I think Randall has looked extremely promising, and clearly the coaches agree with you since they have played him on 69% of defensive snaps. Only the 4 starters, Dix, Hyde at safety, Shields and Hayward have played more. Burnett will take over at SS, and it would not surprise me if Randall sees more time at outside CB in place of Hayward, who then battles with Hyde for playing time in the slot. That said, Randall has had some ups and downs in coverage, but he has made some big plays and looks like he won't drop too many chances at INTs like Shields does.

Daniels, imo, has been the best defensive player on GB. He led all 3-4 DEs in pressures after 6 games (I don't have his stat line for Denver, where he was just okay but not great), and has been good against the run. I think you're right about CM3 who has had some inconsistencies at ILB (overrunning plays), but he is clearly a plus player. I'd suggest that Datone, Raji, Dix and Shields despite some ups and downs of their own, and arguably Perry and Peppers have all been better than Randall.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I read all of your posts in Teddy KGB's voice. It's awesome.

simmondsd's picture

Here's either a scary point or one of comfort depending on how you view your half-glass.

Pack are 0-9 on the road against teams with a winning record. The guys from Minnesota will have a winning record when we play there in 3 weeks time....

murphy's picture

It's a bit of a silly point. Road games are tough. Road games against good teams are tougher yet. Applying the "on the road against teams that finished with a winning record" filter doesn't leave many current franchise quarterbacks with records above .500 over the last few years.

EdsLaces's picture

The people saying Diggs might win roty haven't watched Amari play. As for the pack I have one hope. I hope they use this embarrassment to fuel the fire. Daniels better get his team as pissed off as he usually is on a daily basis. If shields is out its 23s time to shine. For the offense well Aaron can and will turn this around heavy (get it) then a few short passes and get this team clicking again. .....go pack go?

RCPackerFan's picture

Great article written by Brian.

Similar to what I have been saying. Except he says it better. :)

They really do need to do a better job at being creative. Completely agree.
I have been saying they need to do a better job at finding ways to use players strengths. One way to do that is being more creative.

FITZCORE1252's picture

The division will be ours, everything is still in front of us. We just gotta start scoring some GD points.

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