Around the NFC North: Week 5

A look around the NFC North heading into week 5.

Here’s a look around the NFC North heading into week 5 of the regular season.

Chicago Bears

The Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-6 at Soldier Field.

-After losing to the Packers to open the season, the Bears have quietly rolled off three wins in a row, largely on the strength of their defense. About 13 months later, it’s hard to understate the effect that the trade for Khalil Mack has had on this team. Mack is a franchise-altering player, and, while still young, has a real possibility to be his generation’s finest pass rusher in the mold of a Reggie White or Lawrence Taylor.

-The big news this week and going forward is going to be the loss of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was knocked out of the game against the Vikings with a shoulder injury on the first drive. It’s hard to say that he was missed much, though—Chase Daniel didn’t exactly raise any eyebrows in relief, but he kept the ship afloat and avoided making some of the crucial mistakes that have marred Trubisky’s tenure as starter.

Trubisky is expected to miss a couple weeks, but fortunately for the Bears, this team’s hopes aren’t pinned on its quarterback. It may actually be a bit of addition by subtraction to have Trubisky out of the lineup for a short period of time. But don’t put any stock in people who say “Trubisky might not get his job back when he gets healthy!” That’s silly. At this point, Chase Daniel Is who he is—an 11-year journeyman backup with just a handful of starts in the league. He’s not taking Trubisky’s job.

-The Bears’ defense did an admirable job in essentially shutting down Dalvin Cook, who’s had a hot start to the season. But the offense, no matter who’s playing quarterback, is still awful. This is a team that can get back to the playoffs just due to the quality of its defense, but probably can’t expect to win a game once it’s there until it starts scoring more points.

Detroit Lions

The Lions fell to the Kansas City Chiefs at home, 34-30.

-This game was a surprise. The Chiefs were widely expected to come in and wipe the floor with the Lions, but instead the two teams put on one of the best few games of the young season so far. The Lions managed to keep Patrick Mahomes without a passing touchdown and hung with a real Super Bowl contender, but ultimately fell just short. It might be a bit of a cliché to use the “quality loss” phrase, but it seems to apply here.

-It was a good sign for the Lions that they were able to keep Patrick Mahomes to his first-career zero touchdown passing game without their best player, Darius Slay, roaming the secondary. The team still gave up 34 points, but was able to hold them in check just enough to keep it close.

-The Lions are still playing extremely sloppy football, which has kept them from what would have been a very surprising 4-0 start to the season. There have been a whole lot of turnovers and penalties. And yet, despite a tough schedule to start the season, the Lions are 2-1-1 and looking like they’re going to be hanging around in the NFC North this season. Do not sleep on the Detroit Lions this year—they’re not as good on paper as the other three teams in the division, but they’re playing tough football right now and have shown they’re capable of competing with anyone.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings fell to the Bears 16-6 at Soldier Field.

-Brutal start to the season for the Vikings, despite their 2-2 record. Going 0-2 to start divisional play in a division that figures to be the toughest in the NFL this year is not how you get a playoff campaign started.

-Right now, the Vikings are paying for a whole lot for absolutely no production out of their passing game. Kirk Cousins has a fully guaranteed three year, $84 million contract. Stefon Diggs is on a five-year, $81 million deal. Adam Thielen is on a four-year, $64 million deal. Right now, the Vikings rank 31st in passing yards per game and 32nd in passing first downs per game. It’s an unthinkable development given the talent that the team has at its playmaking positions, and just another statistic to show that Kirk Cousins is not going to be the answer for this team.

-The Bears showed that the key to beating the Vikings is pretty simple this season: stop Dalvin Cook. Cook had just 70 yards from scrimmage, and the Vikings are unable to get anything else going at all. Again, it’s shocking that a Vikings team with these weapons has been so one-dimensional, but it also tells you just how far below his contract Cousins is playing right now.

 

__________________________

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 (34)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lphill's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:18 pm

I hope Trubisky a speedy recovery because I think Daniels is better.

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dobber's picture

October 02, 2019 at 02:56 pm

Trubisky might have the better arm, but Daniels might be a better decision maker. Daniels doesn't run much, though, so teams will be able to take that player who they would normally use to shadow Trubisky and use him in coverage/pass rush.

With upcoming games reading:
vs. Oak
vs. NO
vs. Chargers
@ Philly
...it's hard to say what impact this will have. If Daniels turns out to be a downgrade, this could be a rough go, even with that defense.

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albert999's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:21 pm

Josh jones just signed with cowboys
Inside intel we’ll be given away for sure
Not good gentlemen
GO PACK

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Johnblood27's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:29 pm

Jones couldn't learn the defense and be where he was supposed to be when he was getting coached every day. Do you really think that his mental capabilities will lead to secret divulgence?

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albert999's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Yes I do

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:34 pm

Cowboys got all the intel they need from the Philly game....especially the run defense.
The possible loss of Adams may allow MLF to throw a wrench into the mix on offense...hopefully?

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ricky's picture

October 02, 2019 at 02:46 pm

Seriously? Maybe he'll let them in on a secret: that teams can run the ball on the Packers defense. Or that the Packers pass rush can be really good. Or that the Packers DB's are very good and opportunistic. Or maybe that right now Pettine seems to be emphasizing stopping the pass by putting a lot of DB's on the field. My gosh, what if the Cowboys get this top secret information?

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albert999's picture

October 03, 2019 at 12:00 am

Any intel helps dumbass

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dobber's picture

October 02, 2019 at 02:57 pm

Meh. Happens all the time.

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albert999's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:24 pm

And offense intel from Cobb
Wow

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dobber's picture

October 02, 2019 at 02:57 pm

Cobb never played in this offense.

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albert999's picture

October 03, 2019 at 12:02 am

Doesn’t matter
He’s smart and knows Rodgers ya dick

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albert999's picture

October 03, 2019 at 12:03 am

Ur ignorant that u think he doesn’t know Rodgers ya dick

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Tundraboy's picture

October 03, 2019 at 09:05 am

And how much did Jones ever absorb?

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4thand1's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:12 pm

Cobb doesn't know MLF's offense.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:43 pm

The Bears got a win handed to them in week 2, and losing Mitch did them a favor vs. Minny. They beat WAS. Meh. Yeah, they're an 8-8 or 9-7 based solely on the front 7 of their defense. Mitch will screw it up. I"m not worried.

The Vikings have the best personnel in the division on paper, but it looks like they're imploding. Get the popcorn out.

The Lions are frisky, and I don't really know how. If Patricia can coach, he will be the first BB disciple who can do so. They certainly don't have the personnel in the secondary, and their OL scares no one. This is a flawed team playing above its head.

The division is right there for the Packers taking - despite its quality right now.

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shmelbs's picture

October 03, 2019 at 08:25 am

The Lions seem to have a habit of this, though--surprising everyone with a few wins that should be losses, tough play on defense, etc. But then at some point everything seems to implode for them. It's just a question of when. Hopefully when they play the Packers ;)

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Qoojo's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:45 pm

I really expected the Lions to be a dumpster fire this year as I think their coach is kind of lost and over-promoted.

I briefly watch the bears-vikings game. At first, I thought Trubisky was pulled for Daniels because Daniels looked better as did the offense with him running it.

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dobber's picture

October 02, 2019 at 03:00 pm

Living in a Lions market, the scuttlebutt last year was that Patricia was in over his head and didn't know what he was doing. It could be that Quinn finally got a personnel package together that clicks. Statistically, though, this team does not look great--although the only stat that really matters is W and L. I suspect we'll find this is the same, enigmatic Lions team we've seen over the last umpteen seasons.

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4thand1's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:11 pm

Gute should make a play for AJ Green.

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JakeDickerson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:56 pm

Honestly the Lions should be undefeated. They blew a huge 4th quarter lead against AZ and should have beat KC if it were t for 2 fumbles inside the 10 yard line. This is the team we should be worried about. We also haven’t beat them in 2 years.

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4thand1's picture

October 03, 2019 at 05:22 pm

They shit out against the Chargers and Eagles.

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hobowilly's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:47 pm

Agreed with the great comment you both agreed with that GB offensive scheming needs to focus on a players' talent (eg don't use GMO on an end around); I find it fascinating that Lewis already has caught the same # of passes he caugth all year last year. Would highly agree (said it many times since draft) GB possesses fine WR's behind Adams, they just need to step up and catch it! Let's give MLF a little slack in his play calling as he's new @ it with GB's personnel--MM got really predictable his last 2-3 years, it was pathetic. GB has to figure out how they can consistently get 1 yard within two plays and i don't care where they are on the field...use razzle dazzle if you have to, or, just do a sneak with 5 wideouts. Use Boyle or a wildcat if you have to....but not being able to pressure the QB and score a TD inside the 10 twice spelled an L against the Eagles.

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albert999's picture

October 03, 2019 at 12:05 am

Readers are ignorant that they don’t think Cobb and Jones can’t help beat us

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NickPerry's picture

October 03, 2019 at 07:05 am

The Vikings are about to implode! Diggs didn't practice yesterday and he's not injured. Thielen is talking about the passing game publically, and Cousins is apologizing publically to Thielen for basically sucking! Mike Zimmer got his wish. Yes, the Vikings are running the ball more and having success doing it. BUT when you are paying your QB and 2 starting WR's almost $59 million of your cap this year you expect more. I just checked out the receiving stats on NFL.com and I had to go to the SECOND page to even find Diggs and Thielen. Diggs is #53 and Thielen #65...I didn't even think they sucked THAT BAD!!! This couldn't be happening to a more deserving group of fans than those obnoxious never won a thing Vikings Fans.

I'm actually hoping Trubisky heals quickly because I think Daniels is better prepared than Mitch. That Defense slapped the crap out of Cooks WITHOUT Hicks even playing a down. BUT as nasty as that defense is again this year, the offense seems to be even worse. Other Packers fans should do what I do every night...Thank God (Or whoever you may choose to use) that the Bears not only took Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes but also actually gave up a 2nd and 3rd round pick PLUS another 3rd rounder in 2018...WHAT A BUNCH OF DOPES!!!!

I wouldn't sleep on the Lions this year. I don't think this is a stretch of games they happen to be playing above their heads for. I actually think this team is better than they get credit for and will finish in front of the Vikings and possibly Bears but BELOW the Packers in the standing at the end of the year.

Saving the best for last, I heard a lot of negative comments about the Packers defense after the Philly game. Yes, they got their ass handed to them in the running game and the Red-Zone. BUT I still believe this defense is a Top 10 defense or better. The Packers defense is going to win a hell of a lot more games for the Packers this year than they lose. This week MLF needs to coach his young little ass off because, without Adams and a rushing attack that still hasn't come around, he'll need to be able to get at least 20 points out of his offense to have a chance in Dallas.

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alex1999's picture

October 03, 2019 at 07:17 am

keyword

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Leatherhead's picture

October 03, 2019 at 09:37 am

Both Viking division losses were on the road......they can still break even by winning at home against GB and Chicago. Chicago has to beat GB in GB in December to even out the head-to-head.

Detroit seems a little better than usual so far....remember, they've had the measure of us the last couple of years.

Green Bay has to figure out how to stop the run or nothing else matters. Offensively, Rodgers is still taking too many hits and we have to do a better job of protecting him if we'd like him healthy during the stretch run and playoffs.

Before the season started, I thought the Bears were the best team in the division and I still do. I'm also wasn't sure if we're better than the Vikings or Lions and I'm still not. We flash at times, but we've got problems we have to fix if we want to be in the playoff picture.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 03, 2019 at 11:06 am

It’s a tough division. I predict that two of the NFC north teams make it to the playoffs. I hope one of them is the Packers. I think that the Bears will be the other one.

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milpitasconcretecontractors's picture

May 08, 2020 at 05:15 pm

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milpitasconcretecontractors's picture

May 08, 2020 at 05:15 pm

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sanjosecapianolessons's picture

May 10, 2020 at 09:40 pm

This is a tough Division though. Daniels is better

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sanjosecapianolessons's picture

May 10, 2020 at 09:40 pm

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sanjoseconcrete's picture

May 16, 2020 at 09:26 am

Vikings could have won that game.

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sanjoseconcrete's picture

May 16, 2020 at 09:28 am

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