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Around the NFC North - Week 11

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Around the NFC North - Week 11

First of all, apologies for the late posting, as I know how many people here set their day around the arrival of it. I spent most of the morning in court as a witness in a case about a neighbor who caught a possum in a trap and let it starve. Turns out the case was moved to another day and nobody told me. 

I wish I was kidding at all about that, but it really was a thing that happened.

It's hard to believe we're barreling into Week 11 already but here we are. The Packers managed a critical win last week and Brett Hundley actually looked serviceable. I have no idea if it's going to be enough to make the playoffs, but it's nice to have had this team surprise us for the right reasons for once, right?

All four NFC North teams have had their byes, so now the rubber hits the road. No more breaks where the Packers can gain a game, no more time to rest and reboot. 

Here's where the other three teams in the division are right now.

Lions at Bears

After a nasty three game skid, the Lions have won two in a row, though how impressed you are with wins over the Browns and Packers, especially given how much harder Detroit seemed to have to work to get wins than anyone expected.

I mean, they trailed Cleveland.


They do run into a Bears team which is going the opposite direction —a two-game skid after a two-game win streak—although neither the Packers or Saints blew them out. 

The Lions passing offense finally seems to be healthy, with Kenny Golladay pitching in last week while Marvin Jones had an off game, and Golden Tate healthy and producing again. Even often disappointing Eric Ebron played well against the Browns. That may be in part because left tackle Taylor Decker played 69 percent of the offensive snaps, finally securing the left of the line. Unfortunately, TJ Lang is hurt, so the line is still not 100 percent healthy.

It will be interesting to see what they can do against a Bears defense which has allowed just 16.7 points a game this season, though they have allowed 43 points total over the last two. Stafford has started off slow during some games, and if Chicago can take advantage of a slow start, things will get interesting.

Of course, taking advantage of anything given the limitations of Mitch Trubisky and the offense is an issue. 

The Bears aren't averaging a ton of points per game (just 16.6 a game), so while the Lions allow 27.1 points per match, Chicago doesn't have a history of taking advantage of that.  

I expect the Bears to stay conservative, not ask much of Trubisky (which is a mistake - he has to learn sometime), and run the ball with Jordan Howard, Benny Cunningham and Tarik Cohen.

Interesting subnote, regarding Trubisky. Last week he had to throw a lot more than usual and posted 297 yards and a touchdown. No interceptions. And that was with a ton of drops via his receivers.

If the Bears unleashed him a bit more against a secondary that is spotty, would he have success? Would the Lions struggle against him? 

Food for thought. What have they got to lose?

Rams at Vikings

More than likely this looked like a garbage game before the season. The Rams were assumed to be bad and the Vikings were a question mark along the offensive line and under center.

Now both teams are sitting at the top of their respective divisions with 7-2 records. The Vikings have won 5 games in a row, the Rams have 4.

The Vikings are staying with Case Keenum for at least another week and while I'm a pretty big Teddy Bridgewater honk, I'm all for it. Listen, if you're winning and Keenum is doing well, why rock the boat? 

The Vikings were reportedly tempted to make the switch, but i think that's an iffy move right now. Keenum is synced up with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and I would not want to mess that up. It will take time for Bridgewater to rebuild that chemistry and there's too much at stake.

They may do something different next week and in no way is Keenum the long-term answer. And hell, he may implode against a pretty darn good defense out of Los Angeles. 

But to me, right this second, there is no upside in making a switch.

Especially given that, as good as the Vikings defense is, they will be very tested by Jared Goff and his receivers through the air, with Todd Gurley hammering at them on the ground. They don't want a let down in case the defense has issues, which almost ever defense has had with the Rams this season.

On paper, I would say that the Minnesota secondary should be able to handle Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but that group has been a pain all season long. 

If there is one thing worth pointing out about the Rams' success, it's that their last three wins —and five out of their seven—have been against some real yams. The Giants, Houston, Arizona, the Colts and San Francisco are not good teams. I'm not saying that makes the Rams paper tigersespecially as the Vikings have beaten such powerhouses as Tampa Bay, Chicago, Baltimore and Cleveland (we might put Green Bay here as well, as it was the game Rodgers went down in).

It's just that I wonder—are the Rams as good as they appear? Or do they just look like it?

I supppose we can ask the same of the Vikings, as well.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

ricky's picture

At the end of the day, your record speaks for itself.
You either win or lose (OK, tie maybe). You either beat the teams you're scheduled to play or you don't. How you win is irrelevant. Just ask the Patriots. Or, to quote Al Davis, "Just win, baby!"

dobber's picture

Well said.

dobber's picture

Early week injury report here:

dobber's picture

Burnett still a DNP. No real surprises.

Bearmeat's picture

Burnett will not be resigned. TT doesn't sign players his age unless they're invaluable, healthy all the time, and no young guy is waiting behind him. Burnett is invaluable, but he's not healthy all the time (or even rarely lately), and Brice, Evans and J Jones are sitting right behind him listed at safety.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yeeessss, maybe so. Problem is that Brice looked exactly the same as he did in his rookie season. He doesn't look like a starter. I was high on Evans, but not seeing a lot from him. J Jones has tons of talent, but we also see the mental lapses. None of the 3 are ready to start. Sometimes it takes time for safeties.

I grant that Burnett constantly seems banged up, even though he hasn't missed all that many games in his career. He has missed 9 games in the last 3 years, with this upcoming game (which would be his 10th) in doubt.

This is going to be a close call for me. Have to wait to see what the market is for Burnett, and how Evans and Jones look the rest of the year.

dobber's picture

At his age, he's going to want his last big payday and probably starting at 4 years. It might be hard to command that with his off-and-on injury situations, but that's where he's going to start. They can structure a deal so that they can get out in 2 years with essentially no cap hit, though, but TT has usually not cut players short of the ends of their deals. That doesn't mean a new GM wouldn't...

Finwiz's picture

Burnett is history with the Pack after this season. He's an adequate, to slightly above average player WHEN healthy.
The guy was back for 1/2 of one game, and now injured again.
I personally think he's been overrated regarding his impact on the Packer D, for years.
He will not be re-signed by the Packers because somebody might pony up big bucks based on name alone.

CheesyTex's picture

It is my recall that TT let two quality guards go (Rivera and Wahle) and Favre got pounded in his last years in GB. History seems to be repeating itself with Sitton and Lang gone, and Rodgers pounded.

Would TT do it to us again and leave Rodgers behind?

dobber's picture

I tend to agree. ARod has always been one of the more sacked QBs in the league and he hasn't really changed his style to change that. Over the last two years, teams have defended him differently, rushing fewer and dropping more defenders. That, as much as anything, contributed to better protection last year.

Finwiz's picture

If you watch that play Rodgers got injured on, Bennett made a half-azzed attempt at a chip before releasing.
Not saying it was Bennett's fault 12 got hurt, but he just went through the motions if his assignment was to chip on Barr to any degree.
What a disaster that guy was.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Just got back from GVR. Nothing Great, but walked out ahead. Put $40 on GB to Win the NFC. If GB Wins Sunday, then I like them going 5 & 2. IF that happens, & IF AR comes back, & IF GB makes it into the Playoff's, (That's a Lot of IF's), I really don't see it happening, but GB is 35 - 1 to Win the NFC. The Ticket is worth $1440.00
They are currently 70 - 1 to Win the SB. $40 on that one is $2840. Both are really a Stretch at this point, but I like the Price.

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