Around the NFC North

News from the NFC North including the defending champion Green Bay Packers and their rivals the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. Up to the minute special Brett Favre retirement ceremony information.

Chicago Bears:   For the second-consecutive season the Bears will play a Thanksgiving game. Chicago lost 34 - 17 against the Lions in 2014 and are 16-15-2 all time on Turkey Day with its most recent win way back in 1993.

The Bears are betting underdogs this week vs. the Packers.  Chicago has been the underdog in all ten previous games this season.

The Bears boast the 16th ranked offense in the league averaging an NFC North best 351.2 yards per contest.  Chicago is the NFL’s 22nd ranked scoring defense allowing an average of 25.1 points per game.

The injury report for the Bears lists eleven names. Notable players who are listed as DNP were Martellus Bennett, Antrel Rolle, and Eddie Royal.  Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Marquess Wilson were listed as limited.

Betting Line:  The Bears opened as 7.5 point underdogs in Green Bay.

Last Week:   Lost at home to Denver

This Week:   At Green Bay

Season Record:  4 - 6

Place in NFC North:    Third

Detroit Lions:  The Lions won their second straight game of the season on Sunday and upped their season record to 3 – 7.  The team is certainly out of the playoff picture still tied for the worst record in the NFL but a new goal may be in sight. A .500 season could be achievable after the Lions (3-7) knocked off the Oakland Raiders 18-13 on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field. They've playing better on both sides of the ball and have a few winnable games down the stretch.

Injury report:  A total of seven players are listed, all as limited.  Notable on the list were Calvin Johnson and Eric Ebron.

Betting Line:  The Lions are 1.5 point underdogs vs. the Eagles on Thanksgiving.

Last Week:   Won at home

This Week:   At home vs. Philadelphia

Season Record:   3 - 7

Place in NFC North:  4th (last)

Minnesota Vikings:   The Vikings proved to be the not-ready-for-prime-time players against a superior Green Bay Packers team on Sunday.  They are still tied for first place in the NFC North but at least for now have lost the tie-breaker with the Packers.

The disappointed Vikings tried to put the loss in perspective citing a young team that tried to do too much and strayed from what they do best vs. the Packers.  There is also optimism.  The Vikings realized they relinquished sole possession of the NFC North lead in losing to the Packers, but they're still tied for first place with six games to go, including the rematch in Green Bay on Jan. 3 in the season finale. Win all of them, and the division title would be theirs (Author’s note:  “highly unlikely”).

Linebacker Anthony Barr rationalized the situation on Monday when he said: ''Knowing we have another shot to play them (Packers) again and everything we want still within reach, I think the mood is better obviously than it was yesterday, guys are smiling a little bit today, so we'll be all right.'' 

The Vikings will hold the third position in defensive scoring in the league allowing only 18.4 points per game average.

Injury Report:  The Vikings play on Sunday therefore there was no current update at the time of this article.

Betting Line:  The Vikings are favored by 2.5 points on the road this week in Atlanta.

Last Week:   Lost to Packers at home

This Week:   On road at Atlanta

Season Record:   7 - 3

Place in NFC North:    Tied for First

Green Bay Packers:

Brett Favre will witness a contest against a team that he defeated more than any other as an active player.  Favre put the Bears down 23 times in 36 games.   (Author Corrected Statistic)

The upcoming Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Bears will be their first at home since 1923 and will honor legendary Packers quarterback Brett Favre at halftime.  Fellow Packers HOF quarterback Bart Starr is also expected to make the trip after suffering several heart attacks and a stroke along with other complications but is determined to be present.

There is a full schedule of events planned for the occasion including a “fan card stunt” during the National Anthem and at halftime to honor Favre.  Favre will have his retired number unveiled on the north façade of Lambeau Field.  It is a made-for-TV extravaganza that should draw a huge national audience.

The Packers offense which finally showed signs of life against the Vikings is ranked 21st in the league averaging only 341.9 yards per game.  The disappointing Packers passing game ranks 22nd and averaging only 232.3 yards per game.  That number is actually worse than the Bears who have been averaging 240.4 YPG.  The Pack will oppose a Bears defense that is a respectable 14th yielding an average yards per game of 340.9.

The Packers defense is the ninth stingiest allowing only 19.8 points per game on average.

Although the Packers offense has been somewhat disappointing this season, Aaron Rodgers is again among the leaders in the league in QB rating – 4th at 101.8 - and 3rd in touchdown passes with 23 (behind only Carson Palmer and Tom Brady).

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy has directed his team 10-times on Thursday games.  The Packers own a 7-3 record including 3-1 on Thanksgiving Day.

Injury report:  Fifteen players were listed on the team’s burgeoning injury report.  Two players who were listed left the Vikings game with injuries and did not return were offensive lineman Corey Linsley and CB/S Micah Hyde.  Right tackle Bryan Bulaga, defensive back Micah Hyde and defensive tackle Mike Pennel — three players listed as DNPs on the Monday injury report participated in Tuesday's practice. According to head coach Mike McCarthy all have a chance to play on Thanksgiving.  Receivers Jared Abbrederis, who will be out several weeks with a rib injury, receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle) and center Corey Lindsley would appear to be doubtful. QB Aaron Rodgers was not on the list after appearing the week prior to the Minnesota game. 

Another notable accomplishment may very well might be achieved on Brett Favre Night as well.  The Bears are the all-time series leader over Green Bay with a mark of 92-91-6, but have won just two of the past 14 and 12 of the past 47 games against Green Bay.  Should the Packers prevail on Thursday it would be the first time that the Bears have not been the series leader since it was tied at 11-11-4 in 1933.

Betting Line:  The Packers opened as 7 point home favorites but the line quickly moved to -9.

Last Week:   Beat the Vikings in Minneapolis

This Week:   At home vs. Bears

Season Record:   7 - 3

Place in NFC North:    First

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Comments (3)

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croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2015 at 06:16 am

I pray to Lord. Please, Lord do not allow Packers to underestimate Bears, please...

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johnnyd17's picture

November 25, 2015 at 07:37 am

60 games? how many years did he play?

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The TKstinator's picture

November 25, 2015 at 07:57 am

I hate it when the injury report is burgeoning.

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