Weather conditions…is a perfect description of what happened this week in the NFL. The weather sparred no team this week as each NFC North team had to deal with either snow or very cold conditions over the weekend. The NFC North race became a little tighter as the Bears hammered down the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, making the race one to the finish/Week 17. What actually went down in the NFC North this week and how does it affect the Bears?
NFC North Standings
Detroit Lions: 7-6 (4-1 in division)
Chicago Bears: 7-6 (2-3 in division)
Green Bay Packers: 6-6-1 (2-2-1 in division)
Minnesota Vikings: 3-9-1 (1-3-1 in division)
In one of the most visually amazing games of the week, the Detroit Lions couldn’t overcome the amount of snow and the Philadelphia Eagles offense as they lost 34-20 in Philly.
Lions RB Reggie Bush was a surprising late scratch on Sunday. Bush aggravated his calf during warm-ups and wasn’t able to return. Even if he was healthy, I don’t think the Lions have trust in Bush in knee deep snow. Head coach Jim Schwartz told the media Monday that Bush’s injury wasn’t serious and he’s ‘day-to-day.’
Offensively, the Lions were disheveled by the amount of snow. It caused Matthew Stafford to lose the snap a handful of times and throw an interception. With everyone’s vision a little blurry and the Lions had trouble getting anything going outside of Joique Bell, who ran for 69 yards on 23 carries and lost two fumbles.
Last week Lions rookie cornerback Darius Slay underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. The Lions are hopeful that Slay will return at the end of the season (or even the playoffs), so I don’t think this was a serious surgery.
The Lions won’t have to worry about snow for a while as they will be playing in domes for the next three weeks. In Week 15, the Detroit Lions will host the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.
Green Bay Packers
Matt Flynn pulled off a shocking win to keep the Packers playoff hopes alive in Lambeau on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons 22-21.
Flynn and the Packers offense did just enough to best the Falcons, but the Atlanta Falcons are a different team than they were last year. So it’s not saying much that they beat the Falcons. Both offenses have very similar numbers, but the Packers managed to score a touchdown in the final minutes to get the win. This stuff will not fly for the rest of the season.
Aaron Rodgers still hasn’t been cleared to play, but he will be working out on Tuesday and evaluated on Wednesday. Since the Packers won in Week 14, I think there’s still a chance Rodgers will make his return. Although, the true state of his collarbone is really unknown. On his radio show Tuesday, Rodgers said, “We would need different results this week in order to play this week.” Ehh. Not good Packers fans.
The Green Bay Packers won’t have to bundle up this weekend as they will head to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday at 3:25p.
The game between the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens was virtually uneventful until the fourth quarter when both teams blew up and battled for the lead. Unfortunately for the Vikings, they could not best Joe Flacco’s touchdown pass to Marlon Brown in the last seconds of the game to lose 29-26.
The worst thing that could have happened to the Vikings did…Adrian Peterson going down with in an injury. The diagnosis after Sunday’s game was a sprained right foot, and it appears it may be just that. An MRI on Monday ruled out a Lisfranc injury or ligament damage. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that there is a chance that Peterson will play this week. He will try to run on Wednesday and Thursday then the Vikings will reevaluate.
Matt Cassel took the field as the Vikings quarterback and went 17-for-38 with 265 yards and two touchdowns. Although the Vikings hung in there late, there’s a chance the Vikings will be making a quarterback change in Week 15. Head coach Leslie Frazier told the media that Christian Ponder has been cleared to play this week.
The tests continue for the struggling Vikings as they host Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at noon.
Quick hits for Bears fans
Lions: Playing in the snow was definitely added to the Lions weakness lists, but more importantly they showed that not holding onto the ball will be the death of them. That will need to be other teams point of attack.
Packers: It’s looking like it’s going to come down to the wire for Aaron Rodger’s return. One can only hope that if he doesn’t make his return this week and the Packers lose, that they will bench Rodgers to the remainder of the season.
Vikings: With Adrian Peterson out, the Vikings will really need to figure out who are the other play makers on their team…that and pray Peterson’s injury is what the doctors are saying it is, not serious.