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Around the NFC North - Week 7

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Around the NFC North - Week 7

It has not been a great few days for the Green Bay Packers, as the reality of Aaron Rodgers' injury has set in. It added literal injury to the insult of losing to the Minnesota Vikings, who now hold sole posession of first place in the NFC North.

However, the Vikings have issues of their own, as do the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. So it's not over yet for the Packers, whether Rodgers comes back or not. As much as you'll be watching to see how Brett Hundley plays in Rodgers' absence, you'll be paying attention to what's happening around the NFC North.

As a founding member of this site has been known to say: Whole Lotta Ballgame Left.

And I'm not just saying that so you keep reading this column, either.

Well, not completely.

Ravens at Vikings

On a two-win streak, the Vikings now welcome an inconsistent and, at times, downright awful, Baltimore Ravens team to Minnesota. Here's a team that can beat the Oakland Raiders (albiet without Derek Carr) and then lose to Chicago and get pounded by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their defense, their offense—both can show up to play or not depending on which way the wind blows.

The Vikings, meanwhile, have played pretty well for the fact that they are having to survive on their backup quarterback. That might change, as Teddy Bridgewater has resumed practicing on Wednesday. It's unlikely he's under center for the game, but he could be back for Week 8 or after the bye in Week 10.

That could make a huge difference for an offense which is a bit scattered at times. At least they seem to have overcome the injury to rookie Dalvin Cook, as Jerrick McKinnon has had two solid games in a row. If he can keep it up and Case Keenum can avoid mistakes, the Vikings defense should be able to continue to carry this team. It will help when the offense gets Stefon Diggs back, but it's likely they are careful with him as the same groin injury he had hampered his production when it tried to play through it last season.

The defense should have a field day against Joe Flacco, who has just four touchdowns compared to eight interceptions and hasn't thrown a touchdown in two games. It shouldn't surprise anyone if that number becomes three after this week.

Panthers at Bears

Mitch Trubisky is playing well for the Bears, though by no means is he the second coming of....wait, have the Bears every had a great quarterback? Sid Luckman?

Anyway, Trubisky looks promising, and John Fox is doing a great job of protecting his quarterback given there's little help at wide receiver for him. At least the Bears have Jordan Howard, who is running the ball very well. He's not consistent, at least not yet, but has had a pair of 100 yard games over the last four.

They face a puzzling Panthers team. On paper, this shouldn't even be a contest, but Cam Newton and his team have been wildly unpredictable. Cam and the offense can look really good, as he did against the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions, but then they lay a stinker as they did against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. 

And even during wins, such as Week 1's over San Francisco, they can look bad.

If 'Good Cam' shows up, if Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess play well and if the team can use rookie Christian McCaffrey effectively, they should soundly beat the Bears. 

But if they don't, the Bears could play spoiler, just like they have before.

Lions on Bye

The Detroit Lions head into the bye week with a 3-3 record and in the midst of a two-game slide. You couldn't have bought a better time for a break, after losing a close one to Carolina and getting trounced by the New Orleans Saints.

Matt Stafford is less than 100 percent healthy right now, so he will probably not practice much this week. Golden Tate is banged up as well, with a shoulder injury, and is expected to miss a few weeks. If he's not back after the bye, they'd better hope Kenny Golladay is healthy. At least Marvin Jones is playing well, as is the running back committee in the backfield. If Stafford is limited and Tate is out, Jones is going to have to overcome a lot of attention from better secondaries than New Orleans has.

The defense has allowed 24.8 points a game, though the last two weeks that rose to 39.5. Mind you, that's skewed by the fifty-burger the Saitns dropped on them, but even the Panthers got to 27 the week before.

The Lions need to rest up and reboot a bit this week. Third place in this division isn't hopeless, and a wounded Packers team has to give them hope, but if they play they way they are right now, they might struggle to catch the Vikings.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Wait, aren't we and the Vikings tied at 4-2? I know they have the tiebreaker right now, but that will change by the end of the year.

al bundy's picture

Vikes getting healthy in time for the big run. The defense is basically intact without any major injuried, Bridgwater is coming back just in time as Bradford goes down for a while. Things look bright for them.

Our O line is in shambles, do we have any pass defenders not hurt or ailing but playing? Our number one back is in and out in and out and Ted's favorite TE pick cant catch a cold, oh I forgot Rogers is out for like six months or more and were talking what the bears and lions have for problems?

flackcatcher's picture

I feel sorry for the Ravens. Flacco's contract is eating that team alive. Vikings due for a big letdown this week. But it all depends on Flacco. This Viking secondary can be had. But only if Flacco's head is in the game.

dobber's picture

They're hard to figure...2-1 on the road (beating two meh teams), 1-2 at home. They haven't had a very difficult schedule, yet.

flackcatcher's picture

That they are. I see them up close every week and I can't still figure them out.

croatpackfan's picture

This is so mixed season with unpredictable outcomes and almost impossible spoilers... No team has 0 in lose column, only 2 teams are 5-1, only 6 with 4-2, next 7 with 3-2, so 15 teams have winning record at the moment.

Last season at very same moment only 12 teams were with winning record. So, last season you already had favorites slightly enlarging difference towards the rest of the league...

Tundraboy's picture

Honestly could care less about rest of division right now. Go Brett Go.

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