Around the NFC North

News from around the NFC North including the defending champion and first place Green Bay Packers as well as the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings.

Chicago Bears:   The Bears shocked the Chiefs in Kansas City with an improbable last second victory.  The Bears, still woefully short on talent, showed spunk and the much improved John Fox- lead coaching staff was conservative by playing to his teams’ strengths for the win.  The Bears ended up stealing an 18 - 17 victory, their second of the year, with only 18 seconds left to play when QB Jay Cutler dropped the shotgun snap but recovered in time to throw a perfect pass to Matt Forte to seal the victory.

The Bears however are a banged up bunch.  Wide receiver Kevin White has been ruled out for week-six and WR’s Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, OT Jermon Bushrod, OG Patrick Omameh, DL Will Sutton and Shea McClellin, and S Antrelle Rolle are all questionable to play this week in Detroit.

The Bears are 2.5-point underdogs this week in Detroit vs. the winless Lions.

Last Week:  Won at Kansas City

This Week:  Lions in Detroit

Season Record: 2 -3

Place in NFC North: 3rd

Detroit Lions:  The shell-shocked Lions are now “0 and 5” in what looks like a lost season.  They were thumped by the Arizona Cardinals 42 – 17 at home.  With the worst record in the league, they will attempt to put their derailed train back on track when they host the Chicago Bears at home this week.

Lions fans are fed up and ugly comparisons to the 2008 0 – 16 team are surfacing in the Motor City.  Although the comparison may be a little harsh can anyone blame them? 

Injuries will likely impact the Lions this coming week as well.  Key defensive performers Heloti Ngata and Deandre Levy will likely not play and Levy may in fact miss the remainder of the season with his injury (hip).  On offense TE Eric Ebron has already been ruled out and offensive line mates Larry Warford and Corey Robinson as well as RB Joique Bell are all questionable vs. the Bears.

Despite their woes the Lions are 2.5-point favorites against the visiting Bears.

Last Week:  Lost at home to Cardinals

This Week: Bears at home

Season Record:  0 - 5

Place in NFC North:   Last

Minnesota Vikings: Coming off the bye the Vikings will host the reeling Kansas City Chiefs who will be without their star running back Jamaal Charles who is out for the season with an ACL injury.

In Charles absence the Chiefs will probably go with a running back by committee approach likely with a combination of Knile Davis and Charcandrick West.  The Chiefs are also rumored to be working out street free agents who might fill out the depth chart.

The Vikings come off their bye in relatively good health yet receivers Mike Wallace and ex-Packers Charles Johnson have not yet practiced this week.

The Vikings are hoping that the momentum from week 4 carries over to week 5 where they are 4.5-point favorites at home.

Last Week:  Bye

This Week:  Home vs. Chiefs

Season Record:  2 - 2

Place in NFC North:   2nd

Green Bay Packers:  After a hard-fought and satisfying victory over the St Louis Rams the undefeated Packers return to Lambeau Field once again this week to face AFC opponent the San Diego Chargers. It will be the final game prior to the bye week and for the injury-riddled Packers the bye cannot come soon enough.

The team added three more injuries against the Rams with guard TJ Lang (knee), B.J. Raji (groin) and Nick Perry (shoulder) leaving the game and not returning.  The early but unofficial word out of the team is that both Lang and Raji are considered mild injuries and could return as soon as this week but Perry’s injury has been identified as a sprained shoulder which will keep the LB out 2 - 4 weeks.  Perry has been a valuable member of the linebacker rotation as of late.  Still on the Packers active roster is safety Sean Richardson who suffered a severe neck injury is thought to be done for the season.

The Chargers lost a heart-breaker on MNF with a last second loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game which they had in hand but let slip away. 

For the Packers their surprising defense was instrumental in determining the outcome of Sunday’s game.  The Packers high-powered offense again sputtered and will be looking for a measure of redemption against an average Chargers defense which ranks 13th in yards given up per game (351.2).  The Packers 10th ranked offense (363 average YPG) is also averaging 27.4 PPG - the leagues’ 5th best performance.

The Chargers have proven that they can move the ball, but scoring is a different matter.  The Packers defense may have its hands full against a Chargers team that has had no issues advancing the football.  Led by QB Phillip Rivers the Chargers currently rank 3rd overall in total offense (410 average YPG).   Much of the credit goes to Rivers who leads the league in passing yards (1613) and has completed a very respectable 71.3% of his passes.  Rivers boasts a 103.9 passer rating.  Although Rivers has 10 touchdowns to his credit he has also served up 5 interceptions.  The ‘Bolts’ are averaging only 23.2 PPG good for 16th place in the league.

It will be team strength vs. team strength when the Chargers offense is on the field.  The surprising Packers defense is currently ranked 6th in average yards-per-game surrendered (316.4) but is even more stellar when it comes to points allowed with a stingy 13.2 PPG good for 3rd best in the league after five games.

The Chargers are also in the minus column on turnover differential with -3, where the Packers are still a plus-5 even after Aaron Rodgers three giveaways this past week vs. the Rams.  The Packers defense already has 11 interceptions for the year (tied for second) and with Rivers propensity for risky throws should be salivating at the prospect of padding that team stat.

Aaron Rogers still leads the league in TD passes with 13 (T-1 Carson Palmer) and has only 2 interceptions for the season.  The Chargers have proven vulnerable to the pass and diminutive veteran CB Brandon Flowers who has been at times terrific is proving vulnerable to yielding the big play.

The Packers will be busting out their alternative retro uniforms against the Chargers.  The blue–gold-tan color scheme are based on the 1937-'49 jerseys. These will be identical to the uniforms worn by the 1994 Packers.   That team by the way went 9-7 and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys.  Different year – different outcome.

Check out the uniform here:

The Packers are 9.5-point favorites to defeat the Chargers and are the only undefeated team to enjoy home field advantage in week six.  The Packers have won all three of their home games by double-digits this season.

Look for a bounce-back game from a highly motivated Aaron Rodgers & Co. with an offense that looks to get back on track prior to entering the bye week.

Last Week:  Won at home vs. Rams

This Week:  Home vs. San Diego Chargers

Season Record:  5- 0

Place in NFC North:   Still alone in first place

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Comments (5)

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dobber's picture

October 14, 2015 at 08:58 am

"It will be team strength vs. team strength when the Chargers offense is on the field."

By show of hands, who legitimately thought we would be saying things like this when looking at the Packers prior to the start of the season?

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dobber's picture

October 14, 2015 at 09:00 am

...oh, and Vikings, Lions, and Packers are all double-digit winners this week.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 14, 2015 at 09:28 am

Well the Oline for SD is definitely not their strength. Good luck Rivers Pep, Clay and Company are gonna be allover you Sunday.

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

October 14, 2015 at 04:19 pm

On our way from Nashville to see the Packers go 6-0!! Looks like perfect football weather Sunday. "Look for a bounce back game". Can't wait!

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Amanofthenorth's picture

October 16, 2015 at 02:53 am

The lLons moved to 0-5 but were still able to change their position from last week.

Look forward to this feature. I have a request for more news on the chaos that both Chicago and Detroit must be facing and of course any bad news from Minnesota is like a nice swallow of single malt. It warms one.

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