Around the NFC North: Week 7

A look around the NFC North heading into week 7 of the regular season.

Here's a look around the NFC North heading into week 7 of the regular season.

Chicago Bears

The Bears enjoyed a bye week after getting home from their London loss to the Oakland Raiders.

-The Bears would probably have liked to have had a quiet bye week in terms of news, but that didn't happen. Yesterday the team announced it placed pro bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks on injured reserve with an elbow injury. It is possible Hicks would be able to return later this season, but the soonest he'd be allowed to do so is Week 15, when the Packers and Bears meet for the second time this season. By that point, the Bears may or may not have anything left to play for.

-The Bears also placed starting guard Kyle Long on injured reserve on Monday with a hip injury. The Bears have already been having troubles up front on their line, and the loss of Long (who hasn't been having his finest season, but is still a starter on the taem) will certainly not help matters.

-One of the biggest reasons the Bears were able to win the NFC North last year was because they had remarkable luck with injuries, staying extremely healthy all season long. The loss of Hicks is a big one, and could reverberate through that defense. The team certainly has enough talent on that side of the ball to get past it, but there should be no underplaying what Hicks means to that team when healthy.

-The Bears certainly don't get any favors from their schedule coming out of the bye. They have to take on New Orleans at home, and all the Saints have done is gone 4-0 on the absence of starting quarterback Drew Brees. 

Detroit Lions

The Lions lost on Monday Night to the Packers at Lambeau Field 23-22 despite not traiing for a single second of regulation. Their fans then flooded the internet with tears and complaints about the referees.

-The Lions are going to be sick with themselves this week for settling for five field goals. Sure, Matt Prater had himself a great game and did everything the team asked of him, but there are several situations in which the Lions could have been more aggressive and put more points on the board. Even the one touchdown the team did score was one they had to go for on fourth down from the goal line to get, and even the legitimacy of that touchdown is dubious.

-Despite the loss, the Lions continue to play well against strong competition, so don't expect them to fade away any time soon. The team has to have liked what it saw out of its pass defense. Sure the Packers were playing a bunch of nobodies and a washed up Jimmy Graham out wide, but the team's much maligned pass defense was not the reason they lost the game for once.

-The Lions were held to very little yardage in the second half, one of many reasons they left Green Bay with a loss. Early on it looked like the Lions would run away with the game, as they kept opening up wtih big plays, but the offense would falter down in Packer territory. They're going to have to figure out a way to solve that issue if they're going to have a chance at competing for a wild card spot.

-With the loss, the Lions' game this weekend at home against the Vikings suddenly takes on extra meaning. They're currently sitting in last place in the division, a game and a half back from Minnesota, and need to start racking up some divisional wins if they're going to claw back into the race. The way the NFC North is looking this year, a loss to the Vikings at home could begin spelling doom for the team.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-20.

-It's hard to believe that we're just two weeks removed from rampant trade speculation surrounding Stefon Diggs. Diggs had a second consecutive strong outing, putting up seven catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns and adding another two carries for 18 yards. The Eagles didn't have an answer. It's probably safe to say (just as it was a couple weeks ago) that Diggs isn't going anywhere.

-It was another sharp outing for Cousins, who's needed to string together a few good games in a row after being rightfully lambasted by critics for playing poorly against good competition. The Eagles may be banged up, but they're still feisty and capable of hanging with good teams, so it was a positive sign for the Vikings that Cousins was able to keep the momentum going and fuel the offense on a day where Dalvin Cook really didn't get a whole lot done.

-The tough Vikings defense is back after taking a year off in 2018. Once Cousins returns to being bad Kirk (because you know it's going to happen), this defense is going to be able to keep the Vikings in games against tough competition. This is a team that's going to be hanging around until the end of the season and competing for a playoff spot. Expect them to be the Packers' top divisional competition the rest of the way.

-The Vikings head to Detroit this weekend for a game that has big stakes in the NFC North. A win by the Lions brings them right back into the picture, and also could potentially result in the Packers taking a two-game lead in October (assuming they handle their business against Oakland). A win by the Vikings buries the Lions even farther down at the bottom and keeps them in the hunt for a division title. Gonna be a big one.


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.

2 points

Comments (10)

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

October 16, 2019 at 02:40 pm

At the moment the Packers run the North. In the division, they are 3-0 so it’s more than just a 1 game lead. The crying Lions haven’t played within the division yet so the game with the purple team is huge for both teams. Bears will be tested on Sunday but they are getting a huge break facing Teddy instead of Drew Brees. Packers need to come to play Sunday. Raiders have played tough and are not a push over. All these games are important. No gimmes in the NFL. Go Pack go!

5 points
Since'61's picture

October 16, 2019 at 04:34 pm

The Lions can cry about the officials all they want but they were given 7 points they didn't earn. Their pass coverage was in fact pretty good against the Packers UDFA receivers but their pass rush was non-existent even with their their illegal use of the hands throughout the game. As a result Rodgers was able to carve them up and drive down the field twice in the 4th quarter to win the game. The Lions choked and they would have lost the game with or without the officials. Thanks, Since '61

10 points
Bearmeat's picture

October 16, 2019 at 04:40 pm

The Lions are feisty, I'll give them that. And they did get hosed by the refs, but they also have much more of the blame for the loss at their own feet. If they'd taken care of business in the 1st half, there would be no comeback. I'm far more worried about the state of officiating in general than I am about MNF last week.

The Bears are just about done. Their QB sucks. Their OL is mediocre. They aren't getting the turnovers and short field that they got last year, and they're getting injured at a more normal rate. All things that were utterly predictable before the year started - to anyone outside of CHI.

The Vikings are a good team. They have no depth, and the second they start to get injured, they're done. But for now, they're a good team. They'll make the playoffs if Kirk doesn't completely implode and they stay healthy. I'm rooting for DET big time on Sunday for that reason. The 1 game lead isn't enough.

One correction: It's VIKINGS fans who are complaining more about the refs than Lions fans. First of all, do Lions fans even exist in public? It's been my experience that there aren't many of them, and those that are out there are usually quiet because they always know the paper bag on the head moments are right around the corner.

7 points
PackfanNY's picture

October 17, 2019 at 07:36 am

I went over to NFL reddit to hear some of what was being said. The salt in those tears was amazing. However, I also started reading many comments with the bs narrative that “the Packers get all the calls” or my favorite “the NFL wants the Packers to win because they have so many fans”. It was amazing and hilarious how irrational people get. I thought of all the times we were screwed and immediately came up with “fail Mary”, Clay sack, Cards playoff blow to Rodgers head etc.
I then thought to myself who are these people fans of? Yes there were crying Lions fans but not surprisingly lots of salty Cowboy losers who are still baking in there latest Packers beatdown and then losing to the Jets (yikes!), many purple skol losers enjoying 2nd place and of course da Bear fan still trying to convince anyone who will listen that Trubisky is better than Rodgers. I must say, It was very therapeutic reveling in the bitterness and hate and was just a reminder why I love when the Packers beat these miserable fans.

2 points
mrtundra's picture

October 17, 2019 at 09:52 am

Absolutely correct on the whiney, purple fans, Bearmeat! There are none so blind as the whiney, purple fans trying to get some legitimacy and relevance in anything. "Look at what we've done!" Minnesota Nice! BWAHAHAHA!

1 points
mnbadger's picture

October 16, 2019 at 06:22 pm

Lions fans are loyal, if nearly extinct. But their numbers swell this weekend with the addition of Packers Nation.
Refs? Three terrible holding calls against the Pack, none against the lions.

4 points
SterlingSharpe's picture

October 16, 2019 at 07:16 pm

Lemme ax u guys some questions.
I just read how the Bears success last year was partly due to good luck with injuries & that this year that's changed obviously with Trubisky being out & Akiem Hicks & Kyle Long going on IR already.
My question: do the Vikings ever get hit with a rash of injuries to their key guys on defense (or WR for that matter)?

0 points
Samson's picture

October 16, 2019 at 07:39 pm

The Lions & their fans need to be more concerned about looking up at the Bears, Vikes & Packers by seasons end... They'll lose more games than they win in season 2019.
The Bears lack depth across the board... It wasn't obvious last season because of their lack of injuries.. They'll feel it this season with already more impacting injuries... 12-4 will change into 9-7.
Cousins will blow a couple more games this season... count on it... Cook has to stay healthy for the Vikes to make the playoffs.

Face it... The Pack own the North once again & they still will after game 16... Booyah!

4 points
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 17, 2019 at 06:16 am

Chicago has some problems. The Bears will have their own 2nd round pick, Oakland's 2nd rounder (so two picks in the mid-forties to mid-fifties), their own fifth, and two sixth rounders. They are scheduled to have about $30M, but could gain some cap space by dumping Cordarelle Patterson ($5M) and Kyle Long ($8.1M for an OG who has played 4 games in 2019, then 8, 10 and 8 games the three previous years, topping out at 511 snaps for a high in one of those seasons). The Bears only have Trevathan, HHCD, Chase Daniels as significant UFAs. Maybe Aaron Lynch might get a modest contract.

Chicago will have to spend wisely and draft shrewdly.

2 points
4thand1's picture

October 17, 2019 at 07:31 pm

One of the biggest reasons the Pack is 5-1 is the o-line. This group has come together beautifully, like a lot of us thought. The Packers are playing more as a team than the rest of the div.

0 points

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