Around the NFC North: Week 6

A look around the NFC North heading into week 6 of the regular season.

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

Chicago Bears

The Bears lost to the Oakland Raiders 24-21 while playing across the pond in London.

-This was one of the bigger upsets of the week. By the second quarter the Bears were down 17-0. They managed to overcome the deficit by scoring three third-quarter touchdowns, but the Raiders came back and took home the upset victory.

-Perhaps the big surprise of the game was the Bears’ defense allowing rookie running back Josh Jacobs to run all over them. Jacobs carried 26 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns at an average of 4.7 yards per carry. The Bears’ defense typically thrives on stopping the run and forcing the other team to pass. But that simply didn’t happen this time around.

-Meanwhile, Khalil Mack was essentially shut down in what was billed as his “revenge” game. It’s some sort of sweet irony that the Raiders picked Jacobs with one of the picks they got from the Mack deal.

-The Bears were absolutely dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The Raiders were getting pressure on Chase Daniel all day long, and the team averaged just 2.5 yards rushing the ball. On the other side, the team was getting bullied by the Raiders’ stout offensive line in an impressive rushing performance. That’s where the game was lost for the Bears.

-Speaking of Chase Daniel, there were plenty of people arguing the Bears would actually be better off without Mitch Trubisky. I think it’s safe to say that take died a cold, hard death in London.

Detroit Lions

The Lions, who come to Green Bay on Monday night, were off on bye in week 5. They’ll be extra-rested when they see the Packers this week.

-It’s not lost on anyone that the Lions have defeated the Packers four times in a row, something that’s not happened for a long, long time in this rivalry. The Packers have an opportunity to start off 3-0 in the division with a win on Monday night, while the Lions have an opportunity to show once again that they are a team that’s going to be here all season long as a true contender.

-Rookie tight end TJ Hockenson is back in practice, but still in the concussion protocol. The Packers have a history of having rough times guarding receiving tight ends. So Hockenson’s status will be of great interest throughout the coming week.

-Side note: I’ll be attending the game on Monday night, my fourth time at Lambeau for regular season action. Looking forward to seeing the Lions lose there for the second time! The last time I saw these two teams play was the Great Matt Flynn Air Show of 2011.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings defeated the New York Giants 28-10 in week five.

-The Giants game had to be a “get right” game for the Vikings, after a week in which Kirk Cousins took a verbal lashing from both of his star wide receivers, and one of those receivers, Stefon Diggs, was suddenly the subject of trade rumors after voicing his discontent. Sure, it was only the Giants, but a loss in this situation could have been catastrophic for the team’s unity, even this early in the season.

-The Vikings were able to get going again on the ground and won the time of possession battle, which is the kind of football they’re going to need to play to win games. Kirk Cousins also had an impressive game, throwing 306 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. It was a good response, but also against a bad team, and the doubts about Cousins aren’t going to go away until he starts putting up equal performances against better competition.

-The Vikings also needed a get right game for their defense, and the defense delivered. The Giants only eked out 3.4 yards per play, and had eight different plays on which they had negative yardage (not counting penalty plays). They sacked Daniel Jones four times, knocked away 11 passes and had an interception.

The big question for the Vikings going forward is whether they’re capable of hanging with the big boys, or if they can only take down the cupcakes.

 

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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 (5)

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Bearmeat's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:07 pm

The Vikings still have the most well rounded team on paper in the division, but their QB still comes up small in big moments. They could have won the division, but may be too far behind now.

The Bears are who we thought they were: Until their offense (read: QB) can get them to 30 points in a game when their defense isn't delivering for some reason or another, they're going to be an 8-8ish team. They vastly overachieved last year and it's really starting to show.

The Lions are better than I thought they'd be. I'll give them that. I still think Belichick disciples suck as head coaches, and history supports that. I still think the Lions offensive line personnel is garbage, so them being able to run on the Eagles was very surprising. I still think their secondary is laughable outside of Slay, and that has proven to be the case.

If we avoid turnovers on MNF, we win. That simple. GB is a better team.

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Old School's picture

October 10, 2019 at 09:47 am

I see it slightly differently. The Bears had a flat game in London (long trip, etc.). Yet they still put 21 points on the board....in one quarter......with a backup QB. This is a very good team and they're going to be in the thick of things for a while. I don't expect them to go away.

There's always hope that Minnesota implodes during the season, and they've done it a bunch of times in the past. They have a very good defense, like the Bears, and they have the division's best offensive weapon in Cook. They've lost twice, on the road, to pretty good teams.

It's hard for me to take Detroit seriously, even after they've beaten us four times in a row. They have been playing better, and their performance against Kansas City was a pretty good one. I'm worried about this game.

IF the Packers are really the best team in this division, they'll win this game. But as you stated, we can't go out there and turn the ball over and expect to win.

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Old School's picture

October 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm

I did a little more digging on this turnover thing...…

If you wanted an offense that would only turn the ball over about 5 times a season, Rodgers would be the guy you'd want as the QB. He's statistically the best of all time in that regard, and by a considerable margin. If you contrast him to the guy before him, it's like night and day. From the all-time interception leader to the all-time protect the ball-QB.

His tipped ball slant INT against the Eagles is his only interception in the endzone in something like 8 years. Add in some sure-handed RBs and we're 2nd best in the league at protecting the ball in offense. That, alone, is an advantage. Add in a defense that's 4th in the league in taking it away and we're better off that every other team in differential.

If we can ride that wave for two games at home and play good football, we have a real chance to go to 6-1 until our midseason match against KC. My uncles, the dairy farmers, would say something like "cream rises to the top" and that it is actually possible that the Packers are on their way to the divisional playoffs.

Still a long way and a lot of football to go, but if you hang onto the rock, and take it away from the other guys, you're always going to have a chance.

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Freezn's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:26 pm

I hope the lions offensive line has prepared themselves for the constant onslaught from Pettines defense. We have a defense and our offense seems to be coming around now the Packers are a scary team right now

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 10, 2019 at 10:08 am

At some point, we're going to pay the price for having the worst receiver corps in the division. If MLF doesn't bench Allison soon he may be giving away games that could cost the playoffs. Allison is a nothing, slow, can't get open, plays the slot but can be covered by a LB. Throw in MVS who is a one-trick pony (runs fast) and TEs, who are slow, and you're left with Aaron Jones having to do it all. He won't be able to do that regularly as the Eagles proved. It's time for Gute and Matt to make changes at WR and give Rodgers some weapons. Rodgers is saying the right things, but his face says "these crap receivers are never open." We've become a team that for years relied on offense to a team that now relies on turnovers. Shephard, Kumerow, and Lazard should be given opportunities and Gute has to be looking for a trade. This offense can't continue to win when your WR's catch four balls in a game as they did last week. It's just not sustainable. Even when Adams comes back, they simply double team him. We need a legit #2 receiver for this offense to explode.

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