Around the NFC North – Week 8

The NFC North remains a jumbled mess with all four teams sitting at or above the .500 mark as we near the midpoint of the season.

Minnesota Vikings

This past Sunday, the Vikings marched into the MetLife Stadium and pounded the New York Jets by a score of 37-17.  For the time being, the win puts the Vikings in the lead for the NFC North with a 4-2-1 record. 

After a slow start and only being up on the Jets by a score of 10-7 at halftime, the Vikings defense turned the game around by forcing four total turnovers in the game.  Three of the four came via Sam Darnold interceptions in the second half that put the Vikings in prime position to jump out to a big lead nearing the end of the game. 

The Vikings offense continues to roll behind the performances of wide receiver Adam Thielen, who finished the effort against the Jets with nine catches for 110 yards and one touchdown.  Thielen continued his streak of eclipsing 100 receiving yards in every game so far this season for the Vikings.

In a rematch of the NFC Divisional Round playoffs from last season, the Vikings host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football this coming weekend.  After barely skirting by the Baltimore Ravens this past weekend, the 5-1 Saints will be looking to establish themselves as one of the top contenders in the conference against the Vikings.  And a little retribution for the Minneapolis Miracle may add a little fuel to their fire for this game.

Chicago Bears

This past Sunday, the Bears fell to 3-3 on the season in a 38-31 loss at home to the New England Patriots.  The contest featured a back and forth battle that found the Bears up 17-7 on the Patriots early and looking to be in command.  From there, the Patriots would mount a comeback to take the lead into halftime. 

Coming out of the half, the Bears would jump ahead again with a score to make it 24-21 early in the third quarter.  New England would then answer with 17 straight points to take a 14 point lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.  A Tom Brady interception set the Bears up to pull within seven points with four minutes remaining.  The Patriots punted back to the Bears in what resulted in a touchback with 24 seconds remaining on the clock and Mitch Trubisky took four quick plays to get the Bears out to their own 45-yard line for a last-second heave with two seconds remaining.  The Hail Mary attempt was caught by Bears wide receiver Kevin White, but unfortunately, he was just short of the goal line and the Patriots defense swarm tackled him before he could cross the goal line.

The Patriots comeback in the second half featured a blocked punt for a touchdown in the third quarter and the swing in momentum resulted in Trubisky’s next two drives ending in interceptions.  Tight end Trey Burton and running back Tarik Cohen were solid weapons for the Bears in a shootout with the Patriots, but Chicago’s defense looked pedestrian against a Patriots offense that was without their star tight end Rob Gronkowski.

After a two-game skid that dropped the Bears from first to last place in the NFC North, the team looks to right their ship this Sunday when they host the New York Jets at Soldier Field.

Detroit Lions

Having won three of their last four games, the Lions improved to 3-3 on the season with a 32-21 win in Miami over the Dolphins this past Sunday.  With quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing only 22 total passes in the game for 217 yards and two touchdowns, the majority of the Lions’ offensive workload fell on running backs Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount.  The pair did not disappoint in Johnson rushing for 158 yards (8.3-yard average) and Blount going for 50 yards (5-yard average) and a touchdown.  The Lions pounded the Dolphins to the tune of 248 total rushing yards on the day.

In a game that kicked off with temperatures above 90 degrees, Detroit dominated in total yards and time of possession in an obvious effort to control the ball and the opposing team’s defense.  Stafford’s two touchdown passes went to second-year tight end Michael Roberts and the Lions defense held Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins in check enough to take the victory in the game.

This Sunday, the Lions welcome the Seattle Seahawks to Ford Field.  Coming off of their bye week, the game will feature two teams sitting at 3-3 and looking to stay in contention in the NFC playoff race as we head to midseason.

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Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Comments (10)

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Community Guy's picture

October 24, 2018 at 11:38 am

the Vikings-Saints rematch has intrigue.. also, i am wondering if the Lions can keep up their new-found momentum. Bears should win, which should add more pressure on the Packers

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dobber's picture

October 24, 2018 at 11:50 am

I agree: Bears should win. Beyond that, these are interesting matchups for the Vikes and Lions. We'll learn a lot about those teams (and the Seahawks, who have been hard to figure out) based on how these games turn out.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

October 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Hard to know who to root against in the Saints-Vikings game.

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dobber's picture

October 24, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Meteor strike?

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Bearmeat's picture

October 25, 2018 at 01:19 pm

Always root for anyone except a division rival. Always.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 24, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I'm going to take GB and the points for the cover,not the win. I think some offensive creativity will be seen but will again be very limited in ' willing use ' of it. A failed execution will have,as is natural, a fall back to the safe mode and Rodgers falling short in the 4th but prevents a double digit loss. The sad part is how many will again talk of the his stats put up that were more contributed via prevent defense of the Rams, in a game already lost. The score will again not tell the true story but will again be the reason for another refill of ...you know....blind optimism-Kool-aid...wait...same stuff.
If the Packers win...I'll be first one here to take the heat...as always.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 25, 2018 at 01:19 pm

lol. Will you really though?

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PatrickGB's picture

October 24, 2018 at 03:15 pm

I want a win but I expect a loss. And probably a loss again after that. Then I see lots of wins for the rest of the season. We often start slow but finish better.

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JHitTheB's picture

October 24, 2018 at 09:58 pm

Taryn - do you even know what a prevent defense is? My money is on no but you like to say it because you think it makes you sound like you know what you're talking about...except to those of us who have actually played the game. Cover 2, 3, 4, 6 and cloud 9 are zones but they aren't prevent lol.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 24, 2018 at 07:19 pm

One at a time.

In theory, the Packers could lose to the Rams and Patriots, win at home against the Dolphins, lose at Seattle …….but by beating Minnesota we'd be 5-5-1 heading into December with home games against Arizona, Atlanta, and Detroit and road games against Chicago and the Jets.

IMO, those all look winnable at this point.

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