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Around the NFC North - Week 8

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Around the NFC North - Week 8

The Green Bay Packers get a well-timed bye week, and are hopefully using it to get Brett Hundley throwing more than a handful of passes and doing so accurately.

Hundley struggled last week, though as many have pointed out, it sure looked like the Packers had him handcuffed in terms of play selection. Whether they just were worried about flodding him with too much, or whether they thought he was incapable of handling it, they kept the playbook simple. 

If the Packers are going to catch the rest of the division, they'll need to loosen the reins.

Current NFC North Standings

Vikings 5-2

Packers 4-3

Lions 3-3

Bears 3-4

 

Vikings at Browns

The Vikings head to London to face Cleveland, which seems like an improvement over Cleveland (sorry Cleveland, but come on). They also have a very good chance that they will extend their win streak to four games. 

Really, while we all buy into the 'On Any Given Sunday' thing, this is one of those which gets thje caveat 'but not this Sunday.'

The location overseas could impact either (or both) teams negatively, but while the Vikings still have their struggles, the Browns keep looking worse — and now are without future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas. If there is one negative impact the location of the game has for the VIkings, it's that the slipper surface might make the Vikings hesitate to run a newly healthy(ish) Teddy Bridgewater out there. Add in that the Vikes are on a bye week next week and no, it doesn't seem likely he will be under center this weekend.

That leaves Case Keenum to carve up a lackluster Browns defense, though we are excited to see Myles Garrett play for Cleveland.

Or would be if he wasn't in concussion protocol.

Dammit.

 

Bears at Saints

We all left the Bears for dead on the side of the road and apparently we were wrong.

Or at least kind of wrong, since they beat a poor Ravens team and a bewildering Panthers team. 

That makes it tough to know if the Bears might actually be competent or if it's all smoke and mirrors.

Defensively, as we saw against Green Bay, the Saints defense is inconsistent and mediocre. It was also enough to shut down the Packers, save for Aaron Jones. 

Really though, you'd have to say even with a limited look, that you'd take Mitch Trubisky over Hundley and if he had more weapons I wonder if the Bears could win this with passing. As it stands, likely the only way they win is if they can effectively run the ball with Jordan Howard. If they can find the success on the ground that Jones did, and keep Drew Brees off the field, the Bears have a puncher's chance.

Plus, at this point, I'm not sure you can dismiss the Bears like we were early on.

 

Steelers at Lions

The Lions went into their bye week on a two-game skid and now come off their bye week with a home game against a Steelers team with back to back wins, one against the Chiefs.

The last three weeks, have featured a much improved Ben Roethlisberger and both a resurgent LeVeon Bell and a steady Antonio Brown.

This is not an optimal matchup for the Lions, who have allowed 79 points over the last two games leading into their bye, while the Steelers have scored 48 (and allowed just 27).

Making that hill even steeper if they want to climb it is the injury to Golden Tate who hasn't practiced much and may still be out.  Can Marvin Jones have another good game in Tate's stead, and can the backfield carry the day if Jones' struggles?

And which Steelers team shows up?

All those questions will impact whether or not the Lions can keep pace in the NFC North.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (3) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Mojo's picture

I don't think Barr intended to take ARod out (he probably wasn't too upset by it though), but man how that one play changed the fortunes of these two teams.

It's now the Vikings division to lose.

Razer's picture

The last thing I want to see are the Vikings at 5-2. I don't like the organization, the coach or the players. To have them rule over us is the bottom of the barrel. We need the Lions to get beat up by Pittsburgh and the Vikings to miss their flight to London (because that is the only way that they lose).

Ultimately, I want the Vikings to come to Lambeau and for the Packers to punch them in the face. Not just beat them but make them limp off the field. Without Rodgers, my season has a new focus.

flackcatcher's picture

I've giving up trying to understand this season. Injuries everywhere, great play one week, bad the next. The entire NFL (players, owners) telling their fans to 'screw off'. We fans respond by turning off the TV. No sweet ad money for you NFL. All I ask for is good football games. Is that too much to ask for. The NFC north is wide open, there will be more injuries which will in all likely hood decide this season. Crap.

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