NFC North Know-It-All: Week 13


Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Jeremy Ross (12) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter of a NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Week 13 spotlighted two big NFC North match ups. One on Thanksgiving between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, and the other being the Chicago Bears playing against the Minnesota Vikings. So, what’s it all mean for the Bears as the end of the season nears?

NFC North Standings

Detroit Lions: 7-5 (4-1 in division)

Chicago Bears: 6-6 (2-3 in division)

Green Bay Packers: 5-6-1 (2-2-1 in division)

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

Detroit Lions

The Lions snapped their nine-game Thanksgiving losing streak as they beat the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers 40-10. The Lions had a really rough start, but responded with 37 straight points to end the game.

The more the Lions play, the more Bears fans come to know how Reggie Bush is as a running back. Yes, he’s dynamic, but his flaws are slowly seeping. When Bush plays at home or in a dome, he’s effective in the run and pass game. It’s the questionable conditions that really frustrate Bush. His 117 rushing yards, 65 receiving yards and a touchdown on the ground (even though he started this performance with a fumble) was a great bounce back from mediocre games previously.

He’s been flying under the radar, but, as the Pro Bowl selection is nearing, linebacker DeAndre Levy is starting to turn heads as he recorded his sixth interception on Thursday. Levy currently leads the NFL in interceptions, and no linebacker has led the NFL in interceptions since the start of the Super Bowl.

In just three offensive snaps, Lions wide receiver Jeremy Ross still made a huge impact in the Thanksgiving game. Ross accumulated a 24 yard run, the longest run of the day, and caught a game-tying touchdown pass from QB Matthew Stafford. Ross also had a hand in Reggie Bush’s touchdown. On top of that, where Ross originally opened eyes was in the punt and kick return game. He’s definitely a face to watch in the final weeks of the season.

The Lions defense will be tested this weekend as the head to Philly to face Nick Foles and his oh-so-hot Philadelphia Eagles. The game is on Sunday at 3:05 central on CBS.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers had one of their more embarrassing outings on Thanksgiving with Matt Flynn leading them to a 40-10 loss.

Matt Flynn had a different kind of outing than the last time he played the Detroit Lions, and this time it didn’t go so well. Flynn only completed 50% of his passes, one interception and two fumbles lost. As a whole, the offense was not even close to in sync including Eddie Lacy who managed to get a whopping 16 rushing yards off 10 attempts.

On the topic of an abysmal Packers offense, there’s a little news in regards to QB Aaron Rodgers return. The original timetable for Rodgers was 4-6 weeks with the potential return date being this Sunday vs. Atlanta. I guess, that may not be the case anymore. Head coach Mike McCarthy told the press on Tuesday that Rodgers has not been cleared by the doctors but isn’t ruled out for Sunday. Other sources have said that Rodgers will be ‘lucky’ to return on Sunday, and if the Packers are out of playoff contention the Packers might just bench Rodgers for the remainder of the season.

A few players returned to the field on Thursday for the Packers. Right tackle Don Barclay, cornerback Sam Shields, linebacker Nick Perry and defensive end Johnny Jolly were all active and in action. All are big help for the Packers who defense has been decimated by injuries this season.

This week the Packers put rookie running back Johnathan Franklin on injured reserved. With the depth chart at Lacy, Starks and Kuhn, the Packers signed former Chicago Bears running back Kahlil Bell to their roster on Monday.

The Packers will look to get back in the hunt as they host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday noon.

Minnesota Vikings

With a field goal in overtime, the Minnesota Vikings best the Chicago Bears 23-20 in another ugly NFC North battle.

The Vikings biggest injury concern coming out of the Bears game is QB Christian Ponder. He suffered a concussion during the game against the Bears and is still in question whether he will be able to play in Week 13. Matt Cassel came in for the injured Ponder and finished the game with 243 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. Cassel lead the Vikings all the way down the field in the fourth quarter to tie the game into overtime. I’d say there’s a good chance that Cassel gets the start in Week 13.

Outside of Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 211 yards versus the Bears, the Vikings I think are looking to finish strong and evaluating their players for next season.

In the Week 13, the Vikings will travel to face the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at noon.