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Around the NFC North – Preseason Week 4

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Around the NFC North – Preseason Week 4

With the official kickoff to the 2018 NFL season just a mere eight days away, the teams around the NFC North head into their preseason finales tomorrow evening.  With all four matchups expecting to feature the backups fighting for backend spots on their team’s rosters, the looming roster cuts this Saturday and the assembly of practice squads beginning on Sunday can’t come soon enough.

Chicago Bears

Last Saturday, the Bears welcomed the Kansas City Chiefs to Soldier Field where new head coach Matt Nagy faced his former team and coaching mentor.  In a game where Nagy rested most of his starters, the Bears pulled out a 27-20 win over the Chiefs.  With Mitch Trubisky and the starting offense resting, backup quarterback Chase Daniel impressed in the starting role in throwing for almost 200 yards and two touchdowns in one half of play.

Having received some criticism from the local Chicago media on resting the starters in the exhibition matchup that traditionally features the starters for at least the first half, Nagy owned his critics by wisely stating that he was simply making the best decision for his team and that the minimal snaps weren’t worth the risk.  This is a move that is becoming more common with each passing year in the NFL.

Tomorrow evening, the Bears play host to the Buffalo Bills and will be looking to rest their starters once again in favor of letting the bottom end of the roster battle for spots on the team’s final roster.  With Roquan Smith receiving very little preseason playing time, he won’t see action against the Bills either but instead will rest with the remainder of the starters in preparation for their trip to Lambeau Field to open the 2018 season against the Green Bay Packers.

Minnesota Vikings

In carving out a 21-20 last-second win over the Seahawks at home last Friday, the Vikings starting defense looked stout once again in the preseason.  And after struggling mightily the week prior, the Vikings offense did some nice things behind Kirk Cousins in a game where he went 17 of 28 for 182 yards and no touchdowns in the first half of play.  Cousins found a rhythm with wide receivers Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Lequon Treadwell.  Dalvin Cook saw minimal action with just two carries on offense while Latavius Murray handled most of the first team load at running back.

In their preseason finale, the Vikings travel to Tennessee for a matchup with the Titans tomorrow night.  With the starters resting for their regular season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, the Vikings will feature their players that are fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Off the field, the Vikings have been very active with roster moves.  After releasing veteran kicker Kai Forbath in favor of rookie draft selection Daniel Carson, the rookie went on to miss two field goals against the Seahawks and frustrated head coach Mike Zimmer and the coaching staff greatly.  The Vikings also signed free agent safety George Iloka after being released by the Bengals and traded a 2019 seventh-round draft pick for New York Giants center Brett Jones.  The signing of Iloka and the trade for Jones show that the Vikings front office is willing and ready to bring experienced players to a team looking to make another NFC North and Super Bowl title run in 2018.

Detroit Lions

While their 33-30 win in Tampa Bay over the Buccaneers last Friday may look impressive on paper, the starting units for the Lions got their collective tails kicked around the field and were trailing 27-6 prior to their exit.  It took heroic efforts from backup quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Jake Rudock to pull the team out of a hole.

Matt Stafford and the starting offense could only muster two field goals in their play into the third quarter and Stafford ended the day going 9 of 18 for 113 yards.  Running back LeGarrette Blount took on a heavy workload for the Lions offense.  On defense, the Lions were gashed on the ground by the Bucs run game and allowed their starting offense to find the end zone twice on two trips with Jameis Winston under center.

Prior to the final roster cuts for the team, the Lions will host the Cleveland Browns tomorrow evening in their final exhibition matchup of 2018. 

Off the field, Detroit made an apparent move to help bolster their pass rush on defense by signing veteran defensive end Robert Ayers earlier this week.  Subsequently, the team released him one day later and mum is the word on the reasoning behind his release.  This, combined with the team’s subpar play this preseason, will make new head coach Matt Patricia’s job even tougher as the team prepares for their regular season opener on Monday Night Football against the New York Jets.

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Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (3) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Johnblood27's picture

Thanks for the update Ryan.

It is sure to be overshadowed by all the other news today, but I appreciate your work!

4thand10's picture

Good update. Sounds like that sneaky team south of the Wisconsin state line is limiting what they are putting on film for GB. It won’t help though:-).

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

To Recap GB:

The QB we hope will take every snap will get paid more.

The QB we hoped would never take a snap in 2018 now definitely won't because he got traded.

We still have a QB we hope won't take any snaps in 2018 except in mop-up time.

We still have yet another QB whose future is up in the air.

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