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Around the NFC North - Week 2

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Around the NFC North - Week 2

While the Green Bay Packers took care of business against the Seattle Seahawks, a few other NFC North teams were doing the same. The Minnesota Vikings manhandled the New Orleans Saints, 29-19 while the Detroit Lions used a 20-point fourth quarter to lift them past the Arizona Cardinals.

Only the Chicago Bears lost, but still managed to keep things tight against an Atlanta Falcons team which seemed to still have a bit of a Super Bowl hangover.

 

Bears at Buccaneers

The long, terrible march to Injured Reserve continues for the Bears as they lost linebacker Jerrell Freeman to a pectoral injury this weekend. Backup running back Benny Cunningham has a high ankle sprain and receiver Kevin White must have missed his usual spot on the trainer’s table, as he is back on injured reserve, this time with a fractured scapula (also known as a broken collarbone).

White has missed more games than he played now and has yet to finish a season healthy. While it’s not like the 2015 wide receiver class was very good outside of Amari Cooper, this miss is a very Bears miss given how many good players there were for other positions.

Are you missing Alshon Jeffery now, Bears fans?

It’s hard to imagine a way for the Bears to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. The only thing that really makes the situation in doubt is how the Bucs are feeling post-Irma. The stress of friends and family perhaps in danger or without power could have an impact.

More than likely, the talented Bucs defense and the loaded Bucs offense will tear the Bears up.

One more step closer to Trubisky time—although at this point he has almost nobody to throw to.

Lions at Giants—Monday Night Football

The Lions have every chance to win this game, even on the road. That’s because the New York Giants’ offensive line makes what the Vikings trotted out last season look like it was filled with Hall of Famers. Ereck Flowers is a special kind of disaster at left tackle, and Bobby Hart isn’t any great shakes on the right side.

That means Ziggy Ansah and Anthony Zettel (who had a sack and several quarterback hurries) should be able to get after Eli Manning, who looks like he doesn’t trust his line as far as he could throw them.

Of course, the big question is whether Odell Beckham Jr finishes pouting about his contract situation—sorry, gets his ankle feeling right—and plays. While Beckham is just one guy, he and Manning have chemistry and on top of it, he is dangerous on shorter routes as well as deep ones.

Then again, he hasn’t played in a while and that line is very bad.

Offensively, the Lions face one of the better defenses in the NFL, and one which is coming off an embarrassing effort against the Dallas Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott ran all over them and while Dak Prescott wasn’t as sharp as he was in 2016, he still managed 268 yards and a touchdown.

While the Giants got some pressure, overall they struggled to bring Prescott down. Damon Harrison was very solid in the middle of the line, but ultimately the vaunted pass defense didn’t do a ton.

This should be interesting to watch as it could go either way, but the Giants are vulnerable. They are also desperate which makes them dangerous.

Vikings at Steelers

The Vikings got out of the game against New Orleans last week with no major injuries and a lot of momentum. Sam Bradford, dare we say it, looked better than he has in a very long time and Stefon Diggs was dominant. It was also amusing to see Adrian Peterson’s face as Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook beat his Vikings record for yards in a game by a Minnesota rookie back.

What did we learn about this team, really? Not much, as the Saints defense is just as bad this year as it has been every year. So we don’t know how well the line really played or how effective the passing offense really is.

We will know a lot more after this game.

The Steelers are hoping LeVeon Bell finishes shaking off the rust from his preseason layoff, but Antonio Brown is a problem and then some for the Vikings secondary. It’s one thing taking down Michael Thomas. Brown is on another level completely.

The Steelers defense looks pretty good, if they struggled more than expected against the Cleveland Browns next week. We expect them to get things right against Minnesota. If this was in Minnesota, we might be inclined to lean towards the Vikings a little more but in Pittsburgh? The Steelers should win this with little problem.

 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

chugwater's picture

Am curious to see if Antonio Brown will play against Xavier Rhodes. That's a heck of a matchup right there.

flackcatcher's picture

We'll know what these teams are by the fourth game. (NFL has made preseason a bad joke) What is shocking is the lack of quality OL in the NFL. Use to be teams could line 5 and have 2 in reserve. Now teams are lucky if they have 5 solid OL in the starting lineup. Unreal. At this rate T.J. Lang's contract may be bargain for the Lions after all.

Handsback's picture

The Steelers and Vikings will be one heck of a game. I'm expecting the Vikings to have little success against that improved Steeler's front. Also expecting the Steelers offense to show up the Vikings. All of that said....It could go the other way. This week the NFC North will show who are the pretenders and who are the contenders.

dobber's picture

Pittsburgh is a much better team at the "Big Ketchup Bottle" than they are on the road...where they almost got beat by Cleveland. Minnesota drew a pretty soft New Orleans team at home. I'm with you, but will go a step further: I think the Steelers are going to pummel the Vikes.

dobber's picture

'he is back on injured reserve, this time with a fractured scapula (also known as a broken collarbone)."

The collarbone is the clavicle. Scapula is a shoulder blade.

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

But the clavical bone is connected to the scapula bone, right? Together they make up the shoulder bone which is connected to both the arm bone and the back bone. The back bone's connected to the neck bone, and the neck bone's connected to the head bone. By the transitive property, he is likely in the concussion protocol as well.

dobber's picture

For a second there, I thought you were going to go into a full verse of 'Them Bones'...

croatpackfan's picture

Not correct. Scapula is bone plate located on the back and carries cup of the shoulder joint. Clavicula is bone that conects shoulder joint with the rest of the sceleton (or in english - collarbone). Scapula is connected to the body only by muscules...

BradHTX's picture

Not quite (massage therapist here, so I know my shoulder anatomy).

The clavicle attaches to the manubrium (top of the breast bone) at the SC joint (sterno-clavicular). It attaches to the acromion process of the scapula (the pointy part the forms the top of your shoulder) at the AC joint (acromio-clavicular). The head of the humerus (upper arm bone) fits in below the AC joint to complete the shoulder.

Here ends today's anatomy lesson.

dobber's picture

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

Lphill's picture

I was not impressed by the Vikings but I was more concerned about how bad the Saints looked , no pass rush , some missed coverages and their O line looked questionable , Bradford played good but let's see him against the Steelers Defense.

Finwiz's picture

I think the 'Queens are going to be right there with the Packers all year.
Better than we think, and the defense is pretty good.
Bradford is very accurate if you give him time.
We'll know more about how much of a challenge they will be after ATL.
If we get torched by ATL, there's no reason to believe we couldn't get torched by MINN too. NO secondary is pretty bad though.
MINN had guys running free all day, including the pedestrian Thielen.
Maybe they want to call LD - he's available to continue their train-wreck.

porupack's picture

I agreed w you until the last line....which was unnecessary dig at former player. Thumbs down finwitz.

Most of us agree with coaches to let Gunther go. But he fought hard, gave 100% and was high team player. No need to disparage a packer player, or former player.

Tundraboy's picture

Me too. Lol

dobber's picture

Early injury report for the Packers this week, and the answer to why Pankey was promoted to the 53: David Bakhtiari has a hammy, and Spriggs and Bulaga didn't practice today.

packers.com/team/injury-report.html

flackcatcher's picture

Great, just great. 10 OL on the active. One starting OT out, another with a hamstring, his backup with a hamstring. Our thinnest position. I'm going to hide under the covers till Sunday.

donnyanderson44's picture

Based on the injury report wondering if a wr get's cut, Ty can fill there, to add another body on the OL. Rodgers was wincing already, he must be given first priority. Go thin elsewhere. We can't lose him.

Siwi87's picture

RELAX!
Wait till practice tomorrow and the injury report before you get stressed out.

porupack's picture

<<One more step closer to Trubisky time—although at this point he has almost nobody to throw to.>>

Good one, Andrew!

Each year, I think the Vikings are going to break out into a formidable team. Same for Lions. This year is no different. I see both teams splitting games with the packers. But, hope I'm wrong like every year this past decade.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Off Topic: Mike Daniels played just 49% of 3rd down snaps in 2016. That compares to Geno Atkins (93.5%), Aaron Donald (90.7%), Fletcher Cox (85%) and Jurell Casey (81.7%). FO ranked Daniels the 3rd best run stopping 3-4 DE in the NFL, so there is some rationale for playing him more on 1st and 2nd downs, but not playing much on 3rd down has to hurt his sack and pressure stats.

Daniels played 77% of 3rd down snaps against Seattle last week. [I am paraphrasing Ben Fennell for the stats.]

Daniels had a pressure on 3rd and 6 causing Wilson to overthrow a wide open Lockett. Daniels had a full sack and caused a fumble on 3rd and 18. IIRC, Daniels had a pressure on 3rd and 3 when Wilson's pass to Graham in the flat fell incomplete (hard to do pressures, though). Daniels' half sack came on a first and 10.

Norm's picture

So you're saying Daniels is a pretty good player then?

Arthur Jackson's picture

Peterson first game yardage I believe the OP meant. I would hold off on dogging Peterson for Cook yet. Four weeks after that first game Peterson ran for 296 and nobody has topped that one.

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