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Around the NFC North: Week 15

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Around the NFC North: Week 15

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza, Respectful Ramadan and a happy Festivus for the rest of ya's - Aaron Rodgers is back, so whatever you celebrate, do so now.

Mind you, the Packers still have a rough road ahead, but they are still alive and where there is life and Rodgers, there is hope, especially with the Vikings losing to Carolina last week. Can Rodgers beat that same Panthers team, while Minnesota loses to Cincinnati and Detroit to Chicago? 

Let's see what that would take.

Bears at Lions

Mitch Trubisky had his best game against Cincinnati last week, and while that was only a 271 yard, single touchdown affair, it showed how much he has improved. Considering the Lions dropped two games in a row before limping to a win against a bad Tampa Bay team, it isn't hard to envision the Bears winning, though since the game is home for the Lions, that's much harder. The Lions are expected to get running back Ameer Abdullah back, but could be missing center Travis Swanson, who is in concussion protocol. The Lions have rarely had everyone on their line healthy, so this isn't a new experience, but a bad center-QB exchange can cost an offense hugely, so it bears watching.

Stafford seems like he isn't hampered a ton by his shoulder injury, but the two interceptions last week were critical in keeping the Bucaneers in the game. If the Bears can pressure him and their secondary steps up, they could make Stafford's life miserable. The Lions turned the ball over a total of three times, and while they forced five turnovers, they have to avoid giving the ball up again this week. 

If they play like they did against the Bucs, though, that will be easier said than done.

Bengals at Vikings

After a disappointing loss against Carolina last week, the Vikings get a home game against what should be a tomato can of an opponant. 

The Bengals' secondary is banged up, they might not have Joe Mixon (who missed last week with a concussion), and they just lost to the Bears. This team is not good.

As much as you hate to hear it, the Vikings are good, and should bounce back from a disappointing loss. Case Keenum looked more like what we thought he would before the season, but the Bengals secondary is so banged up that even mediocre Keenum should be more than enough. 

If there's one place this could go sideways for Minnesota, it's on the ground, especially if Mixon plays. They let John Stewart let them look silly last weekend, and while you assume that will fire them up for this week, you never know and looking at Football Outsiders' DVOA metrics, the Vikings are a little better than middle of the pack against the run. It's not a situation where they are awful, but it's a vulnerability. Andy Dalton should have issues moving the ball through the air, and the secondary is good enough to make him sweat. If the backfield can find a way to exploit that like Stewart did, and they can grind the clock, that could make things interesting. 

I wouldn't bet on it though. The Vikings, at home, are tough to beat and the Bengals are just not good.

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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.

croatpackfan's picture

One can always hope to see 2 home field loses and on side victories for NFC teams... ;-)

Razer's picture

The Vikings have - Cinci (H), Packers (V), Bears (H). If they can't win at least 2 of those games then they don't deserve any reward. I so hope that we are in the mix and make them pay for being arseholes. That's my take of the NFC North.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"They let John Stewart let them look silly last weekend"

Adams and Williams will get their chance soon.

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