Around the NFC North: Week 11

A look around the NFC North in week 11 of the NFL season.

Here's a look around the NFC North heading into Week 11 of the regular season.

Chicago Bears

The Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 20-13.

  • The Bears desperately needed a win to keep their extremely slim playoff hopes alive, and they got one in the division against the bottom-feeding Lions. The Bears got a little bit of production out of Mitch Trubisky in this game, or at least enough to get by. While the Bears started slow on offense, it did just enough to win the game, despite having a few drives that stalled terribly. The bad news: not all of their opponents are going to be as hapless as the Lions are without their starting quarterback.
  • The offensive line is bad. B-a-d. Its line committed three penalties, and gave up five sacks ot the Lions, who previously ranked 25th in sacks. More than 20 percenet of the Lions' season sack total came in this one game. The Bears also had just 81 rushing yards.
  • The defense got some confidence back. Sure, there's only so much you can take away, given Matthew Stafford wasn't even playing. But the Bears desperately needed a game where their defense could beat up on an inferior opponent, and they got it.

Detroit Lions

The Lions lost to the Bears 13-20.

  • You can only take away so much from this game for the Lions, who were missing Matthew Stafford. But still, barring a miracle, their season is over. They sit at 3-5-1 with a tough schedule left ahead of them and divisional losses starting to pile up. For as tough as the Lions were playing earlier this year, it's all starting to fall apart.
  • Jeff Driskel, Stafford's replacement for the game, didn't look like the worst quarterback to ever play, but he also didn't look particularly good. After a solid opening drive, he was ineffective and inconsistent most of the rest of the game, but generally managed to avoid making any tragic mistakes. Part of this was the conservative game plan the Lions rolled out for him.
  • Even without Stafford, the Lions still had a chance to win, but missed opportunities continued to plague the team. The Lions managed to get the ball back at their own 48 yard line with three timeouts and three and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, but they just couldn't make anything happen. They had opportunities to win and just couldn't pull it off. A tale as old as time.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings defeated the Dallas Cowboys on the road.

  • Don't look now, but Kirk Cousins has been winning primetime games this year, something that he hasn't been doing in past seasons. He's been turning around some of the doubters after his earlier, subpar performances this season, but until it happens in a major situation or in the playoffs, the biggest critics and doubters aren't going to come around. Nor should they.
  • The Vikings' defense held up to the challenge of Ezekiel Elliott, holding him to just 2.4 yards per attempt. He had a total of 47 yards and no touchdowns. However, the Vikings surrendered some big plays through the air, and gave up some big-time statistics to Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. The Vikings' pass defense that was so vaunted in recent years no longer strikes the same amount of fear into opposing quarterbacks.
  • This Vikings team isn't going anywhere. The division could well come down to the team's Week 16 matchup with the Packers in Minneapolis. Mark your calendars now.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (17)

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Daren726's picture

November 13, 2019 at 10:26 pm

I’m not so sure the viqueens are going nowhere as you say. I agree on cousins, but they are managing to win convincingly. I think it will come down to the healthier team when we play. Injuries to key players may be what makes the biggest difference that late in the season. Already their wide receivers are having trouble staying on the field. We’ll see in week 16.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 14, 2019 at 02:15 am

I believe Tim meant that the Vikings aren't dropping out of the race for the division title when he wrote that they aren't going anywhere.

Detroit and Chicago have dropped out of that race.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 13, 2019 at 11:54 pm

The minny-trash-olis home field will be the biggest factor in the week 16 game.

If Rodgers can avoid the big error with all the horns and canned noise assaulting him and the GBP RB can run hard for 60 minutes the Pack has a decent chance to score enough to win.

The defense is the big ??? Will they be a sieve vs both run and pass? Will Rudolph the purple helmeted warrior own the middle of the field? Will Diggs and Theilen play and be effective? Will the GBP DB catch any of Captain Kirks gifts that he is sure to offer?

There are your storylines.

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porupack's picture

November 14, 2019 at 04:09 am

So far, Vikes have made more domineering wins than GB. Both teams have laid some eggs. But right now, I'd say Vikes are playing more dominant football and that taking into account them missing key starters. Until GB cleans up its offense, and its defense can win without some luck and redzone, turnovers by ill-timed mistakes from inexperienced opponents' QBs, then, well Vikes are a better team.
I'm optimistic Rodgers and Oline can turn it around, and that MLF can scheme more opps for TEs, and more short timed outlets, and keep the RBs heavily involved; yes, then GB can best the Vikes, and be the superior team.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 14, 2019 at 06:38 am

Completely agree with your last sentence. I tired of the deep shots which just kill a drive. I'm tired of watching the RB's take the offense right down the field only to have Rodgers kill the momentum with deep throws or ignoring the "Easy Throws" which would gain the 1st down, and YES PLEASE, more involvement for the TE's. Particularly "Big Dod" and Jake 'The Snake" Sternberger.

I hope they use the bye week to recharge and dust off some things they installed at the beginning of the year and haven't used recently or haven't even used it at all.

Sorry, I can't EVER give the Vikings any credit. They just suck! I mean, can a uniform be any UGLIER? Purple?? Lilac Purple??? Barfing...

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 14, 2019 at 01:08 pm

If the offense runs the ball 'right down the field' then how is it Rodgers has room for long throws?

Back to the drawing board

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PackfanNY's picture

November 15, 2019 at 08:03 am

The team that is the better team is the team that won the head to head matchup and still has the better record.

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sam1's picture

November 14, 2019 at 07:49 am

Maybe by the time we have to play the Vikings NFC will already be wrapped up by Packers we won't even need to play Rodgers and others and worry about their health!

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Jonathan Spader's picture

November 14, 2019 at 09:35 am

Why are fans so scared of the Vikings? The Packers have played them and beaten them once already prior to injuries. The next time we face the Vikings we won't have homefield advantage. I see the upcoming game against the 49ers are the true test of the Packers, can't wait.

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mrtundra's picture

November 14, 2019 at 09:11 am

Under MM, late in his career at GB, it seemed GB underestimated the vikings whenever we played them. It didn't look as if we did any preparing for those games. Hopefully, this will now be different under MLF and ABM. I am not scared of the vikings.They are 7-3 and are not done losing, yet. The vikings beat Dallas because Dallas got away from their passing game in that second to last series when the Cowboys had the ball. They were moving the ball, at will, down the field in that drive. A slant to either Cobb or Cooper to the end zone or an underneath pass to Witten could have sealed the victory for Dallas. But, no! They tried to run it twice and got stuffed both times and ended up turning the ball over on downs. That is just a small sampling of why Dallas is my second least liked team in the league.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 14, 2019 at 08:46 am

Cousins body of work over the last 5 years is as good as anybody's. Trubiskey needs some better players around him, but he also needs to play better.

If Packers and Vikings finish with the same record, the Packers own the tiebreaker because Minnesota lost in Chicago.

We are in good health. That's a plus.

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mrtundra's picture

November 14, 2019 at 09:17 am

Cousins' record in beating winning teams has been abysmal over the past few years. This season, he looks as if he has something to prove. Maybe Spielman has been pleading for him to win so Spielman's family can stop selling lemonade on the streets in MPLS to help pay for Cousins's contract.

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Lphill's picture

November 14, 2019 at 09:24 am

I don’t think we should worry about the Vikings now let’s take one game at a time, the Cowboys blew that game with poor play call , Zak was passing all game to Cooper and Cobb and when they got in the red zone handed off to the overpaid Elliott, game was winnable for Dallas .

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Lphill's picture

November 14, 2019 at 02:34 pm

The Vikings are also in cap space he’ll I don’t know who their free agents are but that they are very limited in who they can re sign.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 14, 2019 at 08:39 pm

As I've been saying since the beginning of the year, the Vikings are the most talented team in the division pound for pound. That doesn't mean they'll win it, but they have always been the team to beat. The Bears success last year was lightning in a bottle.

Bad Kirk will show up at some point soon. I expect them to lose to the Seahawks - whom we also need to drop a game or two.

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MaxPayne's picture

November 14, 2019 at 09:39 pm

I think the vikes are the team to beat in the nfc. They corrected Cousins play by simply having him roll out away from the pass rush and find an open guy. Now he is player of the week often. Also they run more to again get the pass rush off cousins.
I could see the vikes and ravens in sb. And I'm a pats and Packers fan.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

November 14, 2019 at 10:12 pm

I'll take Rodgers over Cousins any day.

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