NFC North Know-It-All: Week 12


Nov 24, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) scrambles away from Minnesota Vikings linebacker Audie Cole (57) in the 4th quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

NFC North fans got to witness an really ugly tie between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12. Also, Lions fans had to weep for how their offense performed, or lack their of, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What’s it all mean for the Bears?

NFC North Standings

Detroit Lions: 6-5 (3-1 in division)

Chicago Bears: 6-5 (2-2 in division)

Green Bay Packers: 5-5-1 (3-4-1 in division)

Minnesota Vikings: 2-8-1 (0-3-1 in division)

Detroit Lions

In probably the most disappointing games this season, the Detroit Lions broke down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home resulting in a 24-21 loss. This is the second game in a row that the Lions have been upset by a team with a losing record.

The Lions had a total meltdown offensively on Sunday. QB Matthew Stafford threw a season-high four interceptions against the Buccaneers. Granted, that one of those ‘errant passes’ dropped into the arms of Calvin Johnson, who got hit and the ball happened to fall right into the arms of a  Buccaneers defender.

In his first game back from the pizza incident, wide receiver Nate Burleson had a little coming out party. Burleson fit back in to his place as Stafford’s No. 2 target, finishing with 2 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.

The small beam of light the Lions can reflect on is their rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah. He returned from a sprained ankle to get two sacks and helped elevate his defense to hold the Bucs to 22 rushing yards.

The Lions have a short week to rebound from their recent losses as they face the Green Bay Packers in their annual Thanksgiving Day game.

Green Bay Packers

Matt Flynn returned to Lambeau and helped the Packers second half surge to puck up the 26-26 tie against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers staff decided to start Scott Tolzien, but head coach Mike McCarthy made a bold move and pulled Tolzien after seeing how ineffective he was through much of the second and third quarter. Enter Matt Flynn. He turned out to be the spark that the Packers needed to get back in the game for the tie. Yeah, Matt Flynn. McCarthy said that Flynn “deserves to start” after he brought the team back for the tie against the Vikings. So, we may be witnessing a Matthew Stafford v. Matt Flynn Thanksgiving NFC Bowl this year. Whoopie.

“He would like to go,” Mike McCarthy said about injured QB Aaron Rodgers in his press conference on Monday. “I would say he’s slim to none. That’s what I’m thinking.”

It’s been 22 days since Packers fans saw Rodgers in action, and they will have to wait another week. Maybe Week 14 folks.

If I’m a Packers fan,  I’m a little concerned about running back Eddie Lacy. His reason for leaving Sunday’s game was because he had an asthma attack. Apparently, Lacy has bad asthma that acts up in the winter. Hmm, not sure how that will equate to continuing to succeed in Green Bay, where he will be playing in the cold and against division teams in the cold for a long time. That raises legitimate concerns for the future.

Here’s my take on the Packers defense on Sunday: They looked like the Vikings defense. Enough said.

What once was shaping up as an amazing game in primetime, now the Thanksgiving matchup between the Packers and Lions may not be a showdown as much as a beatdown with the Pack yet again missing “discount double check” under center.

Minnesota Vikings

Well, the Vikings didn’t lose in Lambeau–they tied. In a rare siting, the Vikings could not hold the lead on the Green Bay Packers and as the clock showed zeroes in overtime, the score ended knotted up at 26.

Cordarelle Patterson was terrific once again. Week after week, Patterson has been improving and becoming more dynamic. This week he was Christian Ponder’s favorite target with eight catches for 54 yards. Patterson was explosive and read routes and defenders the best all season. Remember Jarius Wright from last week? Yeah, he didn’t have a single catch or target this week. It’s clear that the Vikings don’t have any consistency at the WR position seeing as every week there is a new leader in receiving yards.

There were a few notable injury updates for the Vikings this week. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes and wide receiver Joe Webb suffered concussions in Sunday’s game against the Packers and both are still questionable to play against the Bears in Week 13. Cornerback Josh Robinson will not be placed on injured reserved after fracturing his sternum against the Seahawks. His estimated recovery time is 4-6 weeks with five games remaining. Tight end Kyle Rudolph will begin practicing next week. Rudolph fractured his left foot against the Cowboys.

Another Vikings cornerback made some news this week, A.J. Jefferson. Jefferson was arrested on domestic assault charges this week and was released by the Vikings. With a roster spot to fill, the Vikings picked up offensive lineman Mike Remmers off waivers from the San Diego Chargers.

The Chicago Bears will travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Sunday at noon.

Quick hits for Bears fans

Packers — It’s shaping up that Aaron Rodgers will be back in Week 14. So, the Packers might still be in contention by the time he gets back. Good to note that Eddie Lacy has trouble playing in cold weather games.

Lions — The Lions meltdown is doing good things for the Bears playoffs hopes. At this point, Bears have to just sit back and hope it continues.

Vikings — The Bears have to take Cordarrelle Patterson seriously this time on offense and special teams. Even though Greg Jennings has been quiet, he had one of his better games against the Bears last time. The Vikings secondary (and defense) has been pretty decimated, the Bears need to capitalize.