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Around the NFC North - Week 12

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Around the NFC North - Week 12

Mathematically, the Green Bay Packers are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. It’s a desperate thought among Packers fans, but that doesn’t make it untrue. They’ll probably need to win the division though, and so more than ever it’s important to keep track of the rest of the division.

Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears

Let’s get this out of the way.  If the Packers are on life support, the Bears are on a slab in the ME’s office. Not only do they not have Alshon Jeffery for another three games, they just lost Jay Cutler. Before you sneer and say “so what” remember we’ve seen the Bears minus Cutler and it’s rarely good over the last two years.

Matt Barkley will get the start and the best thing you can say about him is he can’t be worse than Jimmy Clausen.

The Bears face a solid Tennessee Titans defense and a mostly red-hot Marcus Mariota. DeMarco Murry can also do some damage and a shaky Bears defense is going to have its hands full. If the Bears are going to win, it will be with defense.

It was really hard to finish typing that sentence because I was laughing from the word “win.”

Prediction: Titans 24, Bears 10

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Happy Thanksgiving! The only way this game works out in a manner that allows Packers fans to keep that eighth slice of pie down is if it ends in a tie. Both teams are at 6-4, and given that somebody will probably win this game, that means it’s possible the Packers end the weekend three games back if they can’t beat Philadelphia on Monday night.

It’s hard to get a read on this game because it all depends on which Vikings defense shows up. The one which collapsed last time the two teams met, a 22-16 win by Detroit? Or the one we’ve seen the last two weeks (and the first five)?

Last weekend saw a very nice effort from the defense, which I broke down for Pro Football Weekly in my weekly film review. Part of the results (four sacks and 15 quarterback hits) came from bad offensive line play, but the Vikings did an excellent job of sticking to their roles and being patient as well.

The Lions’ offensive line is a work in progress, having equal measures success and failure not just week to week but play to play. They were very good against the Vikings last time out (allowing just one sack of Matt Stafford), but have been up and down since.

How this plays out is the key to the whole game. The Lions defense isn’t great, but neither is the Vikings offense, in particular the abomination that passes for the offensive line. Sam Bradford has melted down in two straight fourth quarters—taking sacks and generally looking panic stricken. There’s no run game and there is rarely enough time to go deep.

So that battle won’t decide things. The Vikings defense vs the Lions offense? That’s everything.

Last week saw the Vikings bailed out by a special teams touchdown and a pick-six. I don’t think they get that lucky two weeks in a row.

Prediction: Lions 24, Vikings 14 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Sigh. The sport I love little resembles what I remember as a kid. I will continue watching some football. But outside of the Packers, I find myself watching less and less annually.

The officiating mess ups. The constant off-field drama. The corrupt owners and their head clown at 345 Park Ave. Their constant obsession with TNF, MNF and overseas expansion. The rule changes for more offense. The lies about concussions. The NFLPA's CYA when it comes to PEDs. The constant owner-led threat of moving their franchises so they can continue to bilk their local municipalities out of tax dollars for a new billionaire-subsidized stadium.

Plus, there's going to be no representative from our division deep in the playoffs. The entire NFCN sucks. The Packers need to completely drain the swamp. The Lions are 1/3 of a good team. The Vikings are 1/2 of a good team and the Bears completely suck.

I hate the Patriots. I hate the Cowboys. I hate the Seahawks. I hate the Vikings, Bears and Lions. If 2 of the above teams are in the big game, I WILL NOT be watching, because I won't be happy with any outcome.

Nothing good will come of 2016. Sigh.

Razer's picture

As Bette Midler sang "you are the wind beneath my wings".

Enjoy some time with family and friends. Drink and eat your share. Stay out of the stores. And keep a glimmer of hope that the Packers find a little Monday magic.

fastmoving's picture

you probably hate everything......

Bearmeat's picture

No, not at all. On the contrary, I would love to see an underdog win it all if GB can't. I just don't want the "same old" teams in the big dance, nor do I ever want to see a rival or the Cowboys succeed. Mostly because Jerry Jones is evil. ;)

EdsLaces's picture

I know right ...I have little reason to, but I hate the Cowboys more than any other team in the NFL.

Nick Perry's picture

I don't know, Seattle has to be 1A if Dallas is 1. Personally I'd love to see the Raiders win it all since Green Bay wouldn't. You know, a former Packers front office guy hired to be the GM and do NOTHING even remotely close to the way Thompson does when building a team. Thank God Minnesota took Bridgewater over Carr, what a bunch of dumbasses!

EdsLaces's picture

I'm with ya on Za Raidazzz. Definitely 2nd favorite team. Something about the black hole and that baseball diamond on the field that I just think is so awesome. Plus Carr and Cooper are pretty solid as well...

Nick Perry's picture

They have an awesome fan base, just like the Packers. The Raiders fans have stuck with them through it all. The losing, move to LA, move back to Oakland, and more losing.

Reggie M inherited team even worse than the one TT took over in 2005. The Packers had some Cap issues because of Sherman but they still had Favre and a few other players. The Raiders really didn't have anyone other than Al's favorite.....Fast, fast, and some more fast guys. Problem was most couldn't play very well. Reggie's done an outstanding job in the draft and adding the right Free Agents all the while creating a healthy Salary Cap and a winner. The Raiders are fun to watch and I'm happy for Reggie.

Bearmeat's picture

And seeing the Seahawks, Raiders and the Chiefs surpass the Packers with TTs former disciples... just proves more and more to me that it's time for TT to move on. :(

Nick Perry's picture

If you look at what Reggie has done, he's completely rebuilt the O-Line between 2014 with Howard, 2015 with Hudson, and 2016 with Osemele and Penn. They drafted Jackson in 2014 but they have a O-Line close to Dallas.

On top of that in 2016 they added Irvin, Sean Smith, and Reggie Nelson, and Crabtree in 2014 I believe it was. My point is he's used Free Agency EXACTLY how it should be used, drafted well in mid to later rounds, and he's got $35 Million in Cap Space for 2017. Obviously when he has to sign Carr, Mack, and Cooper he has instant headaches, but he's completely rebuilt the Raiders. Not to mention they have depth in several key positions like the O-Line, D-line, and secondary.

croatpackfan's picture

Happy Thanksgiving Berameat! I'm with you. I hope, if Packers season is over at the end of the year that Raiders, Giants or Chiefs will find enough among themeselves and stun the world with title! I would have no problems with Falcons or Steelers either. But I do not like the idea of Patriots, Cowboys, Seahawks, Colts or Texans win it all!

Hematite's picture

The Packers are on life support but as long as they have a chance I'm still excited.
If the Packers don't win the division I hope the lowly Lions win it.
Believe me, that's hard to admit.

croatpackfan's picture

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

4thand1's picture

Happy TG everyone. Here's to hoping AR patches things up with his family. Gives thanks that the NFCN sucks and the Pack isn't out of it.

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