Around the NFC North: Week 2

A quick look around the NFC North heading into week two.

Here’s a look around the NFC North heading into week two of the regular season.

Chicago Bears

The Bears lost 10-3 to the Packers on NFL opening night. As always, they still suck.

-The Bears were able to “kick” their kicking woes out of mind… for now. Their only score came on a perfect 38-yard attempt by Eddie Pineiro. Pineiro has had plenty of struggles this preseason, so expect this to be an ongoing storyline for the Bears all year long.

-Mitchell Trubisky has been absolutely roasted on national media since his opening night performance. As enjoyable as it is to flame a Bears quarterback for a bad performance, it’s worth remembering that Trubisky did show some significant signs of improvement in 2018, finishing with a 66.6 completion percentage, 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a 95.4 rating. He did have a tendency to flame out in big moments, and while the opening game is certainly a worrying sign, the hot takes that have been emanating from the media and Twitter about Trubisky not being a viable long-term option are still rather premature.

-Head coach Matt Nagy, who was one of the darlings of the NFL last year, was also roundly roasted for his game plan, which saw Trubksy throw 45 times despite the game always being within a single score. It was incomprehensible, and speaks to the game perhaps getting away from Nagy a bit in the heat of the moment. When you have David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen in the backfield and a QB who still shrivels under pressure, you need to lean more on the run, and Nagy deserves the criticism he’s been getting.

-The Bears’ defense still remains perhaps the best in the league, and has drawn well-deserved praise. It alone will keep the team in contention all year long. Against a pedestrian Broncos offense this week, the Bears should feast.

Detroit Lions

The Lions tied the Arizona Cardinals, giving up a large fourth quarter comeback with a final score of 27-27.

-The Cardinals’ offense was so bad heading into the fourth quarter that even the announcers were talking about how terrible it looked. So what happened? Out of nowhere, Kyler Murray began completing passes, including a clutch touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald followed by a two-point conversion to tie the game. Murray threw 54 times in his debut, a whopping total for a player in his first NFL action.

-Stop me if this sounds familiar: the Lions wasted a strong statistical performance by Matthew Stafford, who threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns. But ultimately, the Lions’ offense faltered in the second half, scoring just seven points and failing to get a game-clinching score in OT.

-Rookie tight end TJ Hockenson had an outstanding NFL debut to the tune of six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Hockenson was one of the players many people had on the Packers’ radar in the draft this spring. However, he did not last until the 12th selection, going at number 8 to the Lions.

-Struggling against one of the league’s worst teams isn’t a particularly encouraging sign for the Lions, who put together a string of horrendous performances in preseason as well. You don’t really put a whole lot of stock in preseason action, but this is a team that has not yet shown up for a full game of football since training camp began. They’ll have their work cut out for them at home against the Chargers in week two.

 

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings had an impressive 28-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at home in week one.

-The Vikings looked like the most complete team in the NFC North in the first week of the season. This isn’t particularly surprising; on paper they are one of the league’s most talented teams. The question will always be whether or not the Vikings are capable of thriving in big moments. Historically, we know the answer to this. But the tale for the 2019 team is yet to be written.

-The Vikings passed just eight times, an unthinkable number for a team in 2019 that has the number of weapons it has in the passing game. But it really didn’t need to do any more than that. Dalvin Cook rushed for 111 yards on 21 carries and Alexander Mattison added another 49 on nine carries. Anthony Harris picked off Matt Ryan twice. The Falcons were entirely shut down until the fourth quarter, when they were in desperation mode.

-The Packers are going to have to be strong against the run in week two against Minnesota. The Bears didn’t test the Packers’ run defense, but if week one was any indication, this Vikings team is going to want to run the football. And once they’ve established the run, they have the weapons to go up top and make the team pay. It’s going to take disciplined football to be victorious in week two.

-In non-football news, the Vikings were one of several teams to open special sensory rooms for fans with autism and other sensory needs to take a break from the action. The Seahawks and Eagles also opened similar facilities. Congratulations to them on being forward-thinking in this regard.

 

 

 

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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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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 11, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Minnesota beat up on a terrible Falcons team. Atlanta doesn't have an O-line and their d-line didnt show up. They may be the 2nd worst team in the league after Miami. The Vikings are overrated after this easy win. Our defense will be able to stop the run and put pressure on Cousins. Packers by 10.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 11, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Allow me to use the same thinking....

Gb's defense played and looked awesome against a bad Bear offense and a QB who has been called trash by many Packer fans. How does that merit a great review of the defense.

The Packer offense was so bad at times it could have been mistaken for the Bears offense had it not been for the uniforms.

The Vikings are overrated for beating up Atlanta,who is better than Chicago, and GB isn't overrated for eking a win against an offense who couldn't do anything and only eking out 10 points themselves.

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MytQ's picture

September 11, 2019 at 06:52 pm

All I know is GB went on the road and beat a division foe as an underdog. I don't really care how it looked. This week they play another division foe at home. How both teams looked last week doesn't mean squat when they line up this week. Go Pack!

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 11, 2019 at 07:10 pm

If you don't care..that's fine...but some of us to do and you can simply ignore it. This is a discuss site...you wish not to fine but don't tell others they can't.
: )

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JHitTheB's picture

September 11, 2019 at 07:22 pm

"Atlanta, who is better than Chicago"

LOL - what planet are you living on? The Bears have a better OL, a better RB combo, a much much much much much better defense in every area and better special teams. ATL has a better QB, when protected, and a better WR1. I knew you didn't know your head from your ass when you said zone coverage is prevent defense (still makes me laugh) but wow you just went past full retard and straight to potato. I am convinced you are both seriously trolling to get attention and just plain ignorant. You have a lot to say in every thread but good Lord your lack of actual football knowledge is astounding.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 11, 2019 at 08:41 pm

What are you talking about?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 12, 2019 at 12:55 am

He is talking about: "The Vikings are overrated for beating up Atlanta,who is better than Chicago...."

Atlanta is not better than Chicago. It isn't close.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 12, 2019 at 09:20 am

I think that it’s pretty early in the season to be making conclusions about who is better than whom.

Atlanta turned it over 4 times. You’ll lose that game 90% of the time. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that Minnesota looked pretty organized.

Neither the Bears nor the Packers looked like the NFCs best. It’s one week, and I think it’s way too soon to judge .

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dobber's picture

September 11, 2019 at 02:16 pm

This is a Falcons team that has a track record in recent years of playing uninspired football away from their own Rollerdome.

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pacman's picture

September 11, 2019 at 01:20 pm

Let consider week 1 a preseason game for the offense. And with the extra few days - no more excuses.

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Qoojo's picture

September 11, 2019 at 01:30 pm

I just hope Rodgers takes his own comments to heart.

Any word on Jenkins starting?

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BradHTX's picture

September 11, 2019 at 02:39 pm

The biggest take away from this article: Wow, not only is Larry Fitzgerald still alive, he is still playing football? I had no idea.

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BradHTX's picture

September 11, 2019 at 02:41 pm

Curse you, CHTV and your lack of a Delete function!

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Spock's picture

September 12, 2019 at 09:47 am

BradHTX, Just "edit" your post: Highlight and cut the words. Type in "deleted" and re-submit if you want to get rid of a comment you made but don't want staying.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

September 11, 2019 at 05:33 pm

The Vikings super bowl trophy room could double as their room for the autistic and other sensory needs fans. It's been very, very quiet in there for a long time

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flackcatcher's picture

September 11, 2019 at 06:19 pm

Actually both the Packers and Bears are in good shape compared to the rest of the league. As others have said, it's hard to tell with the Vikings. The Falcons were flat out horrible, what's more they had no interest in playing after going down so early. (your own mistakes will kill you) Hard to get a read so early in the season.

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lucky953's picture

September 13, 2019 at 12:24 am

It’s pretty common to overdraw conclusions from week 1, but what else do we have to go on?
The Packers offense will be better this week; the defense will continue to be stout.
If the Packers win the turnover battle ( and I think they will), they win this game. I’ve just got a feeling that this team is more unified around winning than what we’ve gotten used to recently. The Vikings won’t be feeling quite so good about themselves come Monday.

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