Around the NFC North - Week 10

Garda gives you the run down on what's going on with the rest of the NFC North as we enter Week 10.

At 4-4 the season is far from over for the Green Bay Packers, but they will need help and they will need to win the rest of their divisional games. That seems to be a tall order after Monday night's debacle, as the team appears to be trending the wrong way, and while there are plenty of sub-average teams in the NFC this year, the Wild Card isn't going to come easy, and the divisional title they have won so often in recent years will be even tougher to get.

We'll need to see something, anything to show they have life left when they play the Bears this week. Speaking of which...

Chicago Bears

As is the usual way around this column, we'll leave the actual full breakdown to the rest of the site. Let's talk about what's going on with the Bears though, so we know what we're in for.

It's actually been pretty quiet around the team after what looked like it was going to be a disaster of a season. Last week they saw their two game win streak end while for the first time since Green Bay last saw them - and beat them - on September 28. It's a team getting a little healthier coming out of the bye week, as Markus Wheaton returned to practice on Monday.

Defensively, the Bears have by and large been Ok this year. According to Football Outsiders DVOA metric, they are the No. 13 defense overall, and rank No. 10 against the pass — which let's be honest does not bode well for the Packers offense. The run defense isn't much worse, and ranks a middle of the road 15.

Lions vs Browns

If you were hoping for some help from outside the division this week, it won't be coming from this game. The Browns are awful and while the Lions really aren't all that great, they are better than Cleveland.

The Lions shouldn't have a terrible time moving the ball against the Browns though rookie Myles Garrett should be back, and could be a problem on both run and pass plays, especially if Detroit has to roll out their third string left tackle again. He's just one guy, though, so barring a monumental game, his impact can only be just so much. With the Lions receiving corps healthy and the backfield relatively consistent, they should be more than enough for the Browns.

However, the Lions were on a three game skid before they ran into the Packers, so how good they are is really anyone's guess.

Unrelated to NFC North sidenote —The news around Josh Gordon's return has been fascinating. It's hard to be totally surprised the guy was drunk or high during games, but it really does give you an idea of how talented he is. Considering the fact that he was under the influence, he performed exceptionally well. He's been out of football for most of three years, and it's impossible to know how that will impact his skills. 

If he's even a fraction of the player he was before, though, the Browns could have a pretty good offense between him and Corey Coleman (who could also return soon).

If only they had a quarterback. 

Vikings at Washington

The big news for the Vikings this week won't actually impact this game, but could change the face of the race for the division title.

As of Wednesday, November 8, Sam Bradford's time with the VIkings ended the only way it ever could — with him on injured reserve and undergoing knee surgery. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater is coming off the PUP list.

Now. short term, Case Keenum will remain quarterback and we'll get back to that in a minute. However, if Bridgewater, who hasn't played since the 2015 season, is healthy and can pick up where he left off, this VIkings offense could be a lot better than it has been. Bridgewater had a decent 2015 and the offense the Vikings run now — with an improved offensive line — is a better fit than what it was when he was first with the team. 

There's a lot of distance to go but the Vikings could really bne very dangerous down the stretch.

This week it's still the Case Keenum Power Hour. Keenum is a solid, but unspectacular option under center, doing just enough to help the team win while avoiding game-killing picks. The problem could be that despite facing shoddy defenses in the last three games — Cleveland, Baltimore and, I'm sorry, Green Bay — he still managed to be picked off by them. While Washington isn't a juggernaut defensively, they have eight interceptions over eight games. They can generate turnovers.

What they will likely struggle with is containing Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, the latter of which has been on a tear this season. They'll also have to contend with Jerrick McKinnon out of the backfield, as he has proven to be a threat catching the ball.

Defensively, the Vikings could have a field day against an offensive line which resembles an emergency room. Seriously, there may not be one healthy guy on it right now, and it's missing multiple important pieces. Last week Kirk Cousins had no time to throw against Seattle last week, though he managed to make some great throws to keep drives alive late in the game. Cousins is dangerous, and if he gets his receivers healthy this week, he's going to be a challenge for the secondary.

This game could go either way considering some of the limitations of both offenses. It should come down to how Washington's line performs, though, and if they can buy Cousins enough time. If not, and if Keenum can get the offense downfield for a few scores, Washington could have a hard time getting things going. 

 

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Comments (7)

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Bearmeat's picture

November 08, 2017 at 11:29 am

Our team sucks. But so does the rest of the division. No NFCN team will be making a deep playoff run this year.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 08, 2017 at 04:00 pm

Try the league. The entire NFL sucks this year. This is what happens when you put short term goals over the long term health of your product. Apeing the NBA, pushing individual over team, hiring a commissioner who care more for image than the actual product out on the field. Having your entire fan base revolt for being massive jerks. Watching your TV revenue take a plunge of the cliff. Good job owners, well done.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 08, 2017 at 07:42 pm

Oddly, Aaron Rodgers is cementing his league MVP status with this catastrophic event.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 09, 2017 at 07:02 am

Do tell. I've read that about that notion somewhere before.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 08, 2017 at 08:19 pm

Credit this to ALP on the Vince Biegel thread. Bennett is gone. Packers cut him for non reporting his injury. Or if what's coming out of 1265 is true, lying about his shoulder injury. There have been stories about Bennett dogging on practice in recent weeks, but I discounted them. Being a veteran player teams give some slack long as their ready at game time. But the way the Packers fired Bennett speaks to a team dealing with major problem with a capital letters. Interesting. I wonder what else is going on the locker room.

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Finwiz's picture

November 08, 2017 at 09:18 pm

Not only dogging it in practice, he was totally going thru the motions on a few running plays I say. Totally blatant, and they saw this on film. You can't hide your lack of dedication in the NFL, everything is on tape for people to see. He missed a chip block on the ARODG injury too, think about that one for a minute and let it sink in. What a turd of a person and a player. Thank God they had the sense to cut their losses and move on before the cancer spreads, if it hasn't already. Just hope they can get a portion of their prorated signing bonus back. Sounds like they can with the failure to disclose an injury. You don't just cut a guy 8 games in, unless there's some very nefarious things going on. What a disaster.

Now he can kneel in front of his TV on Sundays and put his black power fist into the ceiling. Have fun fool!

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flackcatcher's picture

November 09, 2017 at 08:41 am

Agreed. Bennett looked more than a step slow on the all 22. NOT the same player as in New England last year. On thing I know Finwiz, the Packer front office does not treat veteran players like this. This is extremely unusual. Putting the 'Boot' to Bennett is like flashing the giant Packer sign across the NFL. Two of the most respected org. (New England, Packers) have released this guy. I hope the Packers let their players talk about this during the season. Must be a hell of a story.

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