NFC North Know-It-All 10/22/13


Oct 21, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman (12) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants won 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 is all wrapped up. The Packers continue to win through adversity, the Lions lost a close one at home, and the Vikings were just downright embarrassing during primetime. Alright, but what’s it all mean for the Bears? NFC North Know-It-All takes you through what’s been going on around the NFC North so you’re more educated for what it means for the Chicago Bears.

NFC North Standings

Green Bay Packers: 4-2 (1-0 in division)

Detroit Lions: 4-3 (2-1 in division)

Chicago Bears: 4-3 (1-1 in division)

Minnesota Vikings: 1-5 (0-2 in division)

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers hosted the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and took the 31-13 win to give them a 4-2 record. The cheese heads treated their fans to their ‘Acne Packers’ throwback jerseys.

Joe Haden is becoming one of the most elite cornerback in the league. His assignment this week was Packers WR Jordy Nelson. It seemed as though his mission was accomplished until the fourth quarter, where Jordy scored a touchdown. Haden has had to guard other great wide receivers this year like Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Torrey Smith…all scored no touchdowns against Haden. Nelson proved him wrong, and I think that means it’s elite status time for Jordy.

Week after week, I feel as though I write about someone in the Packers receiving core going down with an injury. This week it was tight end Jermichael Finley. Finely took a nasty and was taken off the field on a stretcher, and spent Monday in the ICU. Doctors have determined that Finley has a bruised spinal cord near the neck. That sounds rough, and I don’t see him returning in the near future. Next man up time. The next two tight ends listed on the depth charts are Andrew Quarless and Ryan Taylor. Look for them to get some action next week.

Piggy backing off the Finely injury, Aaron Rodgers targets are getting slimmer by the week. But this week, Jarrett Boykin made a huge improvement. Boykin finished the game as the leading receiver with 103 yards and a touchdown. With Cobb, Finley out for awhile and James Jones questionable to return…it will be the Jordy and Jarrett show.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said before the season started that he wanted to mix things up in the backfield. Well, it doesn’t appear that Eddie Lacy will be sharing carries with anyone else. It’s all Eddie Lacy.

The Green Bay Packers look to remain undefeated in the NFC North as they play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football at 7:30pm CT.

Detroit Lions

It was a devastating, late loss for the Detroit Lions as Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent hit a 54-yard field goal to best the Lions 27-24. These teams were evenly matched with paired with the best wide receivers in the league in Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green, and boy did they put on a show.

One week Calvin Johnson can’t get it together in the endzone, and another week he has two spectacular catches for two touchdowns. Matthew Stafford is still spreading the ball around as he hit up eight different receivers. But nothing was close to Calvin who looked back in Megatron shape on Sunday.

First Bengals possession, Andy Dalton drops back and hits up A.J. Green for a 82-yard touchdown. It was instant gold for my fantasy team, but totally unacceptable for the Lions secondary. Their vulnerability to big plays was glaring. Cornerback Chris Houston was awful and even said that Sunday’s loss was on him. And I don’t blame him.

Breaking on Tuesday morning…the Lions CUT tight end Tony Scheffler. Scheffler was cleared to play after returning from his third concussion in four seasons, but the cut was made to make room for help for the offensive line. Veteran tackle Barry Richardson was signed to replace Scheffler’s spot on the team.

Continuing with the offensive line talk, the Lions line looked like a mess this week. Lions left tackle Riley Reiff injured his hamstring in the first half then had to return for injured right tackle Corey Hilliard. The Lions right tackle position was already thin coming into the game as they’re still missing Jason Fox, who missed his second straight game with a knee injury. Hopefully Barry Richardson is the answer for them.

The Lions promoted Jeremy Ross from their practice squad. You will likely see him returning punts or kickoffs, but he will probably see a few snaps as a wide out. To replace Ross’ spot on the practice squad, the Lions added RB Steven Miller.

The Detroit Lions schedule doesn’t ease up, but continues to give them tests. Next the Lions host the Dallas Cowboys at home on Sunday at noon.

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings had one of their most embarrassing prime time games in a very long time. They faced the winless New York Giants during Monday Night Football. Adrian Peterson had his worst performance since 2011 (28 yards), and they lost 23-7.

The Vikings made a gamble, because I believe Matt Cassel could have won that game (even as bad as he is). It was apparent that Josh Freeman didn’t have enough plays in his repertoire. The Giants defense was reading all of this third downs, and eventually most of his reads. Not only that but the Vikings wide receivers had a  hard time catching the ball, Freeman sailed too many balls out of reach, and Adrian Peterson had nothing going. Cassel could have thrown a touchdown or two. Freeman almost had a touchdown to Jerome Simpson, had Simpson held onto it. Freeman is an experiment and a work in progress. The Vikings tweeted out today that Freeman will start for the Vikings in Week 7. He will soon meet A.J. Hawk.

At one point during the second quarter, both Cordarrelle Patterson and Adrian Peterson had the same amount of rushing yards…2. I’ll give it to Leslie Fraizer, he’s trying to be more creative with Patterson. Patterson has increasingly been given more looks in the backfield, and he’s increasingly looking like a Randall Cobb sort of player.

Then there was Marcus Sherels. He was Vikings fans savior last night, then the enemy. Sherels returned a 86-yard punt for the Vikings only score of the game then muffed a punt that directly led to Peyton Hillis’ 1-yard touchdown.

Josh Freeman will take his second stab at the starting gig for the Vikings as they will host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at noon. Yikes.