NFC North Know-It-All: Week 15


Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) reacts to a touchdown with tight end Andrew Quarless (81) in the fourth quarter at AT

Oh what a week it was for Chicago Bears fans as they sat on the edge of their seats awaiting the other NFC North games to retire. The end result: sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

NFC North Standings

Chicago Bears: 8-6 (2-3 in division)

Green Bay Packers: 7-6-1 (2-2-1 in division)

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

Minnesota Vikings: 4-9-1 (1-3-1 in division)

Detroit Lions

Oh, the Detroit Lions. In a pitiful manner, the Detroit Lions dropped four of their last five games with the most recent in prime time Monday Night Football as they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 18-16. The Ravens managed to get the win even without an offensive score and continued to let the Lions collapse.

Matthew Stafford is having a meltdown. In the past four games, Stafford has totaled seven touchdowns and nine interceptions, and none of them coming in the snow bowl in Week 14. Of course it’s not entirely the quarterback’s fault as Calvin Johnson and other receivers haven’t played their part for a while now.

It comes with no surprise that the Lions secondary is a topic of discussion. There were plenty of passes that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco sailed that should have been interceptions. The secondary also allowed wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones to have shots down the field, even though Flacco wasn’t totally accurate.

A look in the future: these next two games could be Jim Schwartz last with the Lions. His roller coaster continues to sail high and low and if the Lions fail to make the playoffs, it’s likely Schwartz will be fired after the season. With his job on the line, he might be making some bold calls in a last hoorah.

The Lions will be praying that the Bears and Packers drop their remaining games but will have to host the struggling New York Giants at home in Week 16 in order to stay in the mix.

Green Bay Packers

Dallas QB Tony Romo decided to sport his best green and yellow this week as he, basically, handed the Green Bay Packers the 37-36 victory with his interception with a 1:24 left in the game. Dallas is one step closer to being out of the playoffs as the Packers are one step closer to regaining the top spot in the NFC North.

Ever since the Packers had to settle for Matt Flynn to start at quarterback in the absence of Aaron Rodgers, you really never know which Flynn you are going to get.  This week Flynn threw for four touchdowns and one interception, the most touchdowns he has had combined all season. He can’t be trusted. Has he kept the Packers in the playoffs? Yes. But I wouldn’t put that on him. This week head coach Mike McCarthy game out of the second half blazing with halftime adjustments and it helps that his running back can be considered to be an offensive rookie of the year in Eddie Lacy.

It’s without question that running back Eddie Lacy has been keeping this team together. There were talks prior to the game as to if Lacy would play through his injury and he did. Not only that, but he bossed 141 rushing yards and a touchdown off of 21 carries (mind you he was up against the Dallas Cowboys defense).

Yup, Aaron Rodgers is still in the mix to return this season. According to the team, Rodgers will be evaluated on Wednesday but Matt Flynn will prepare to start again. As a Packers fan I think the real question is, how serious is this injury? If it’s been keeping him back for this long, I think it’s wise to take it easy on him. Letting Rodgers get hurt even worse is way worse than missing the playoffs.

The Packers defense has really stepped up to help with the playoff push. Last week in Atlanta, Mike Neal’s sack-fumble kept the win going strong and this week Sam Shields and Tramon Williams had key interceptions to get the victory. The Packers defense may not be as weak as they were earlier in the season…

Both the Green Bay and the Pittsburgh look to keep their playoff hopes alive as the Steelers travel to Lambeau on Sunday at noon.

Minnesota Vikings

In a shocking turn of events, the Minnesota Vikings managed to stop the red hot Philadelphia Eagles at home with a 48-30 win.

We knew coming into this week that Adrian Peterson may or may not play, but Toby Gerhart was a late scratch as he became inactive before the game. In place for the top two Vikings RBs was Matt Asiata. Asiata got the attention of many fantasy owners as he received multiple goal-line carries to get three touchdowns. I don’t believe you’ll be seeing a ton of Asiata in the future as it seems that all running backs will be at practice this week with the expectation to play in Week 16.

Even with Christian Ponder healthy, Matt Cassel remained the starter for the Vikings and lead them to an impressive victory. It’s clear that Cassel has impeccable chemistry with wide receiver Greg Jennings, as Jennings finished 163 receiving yards and a touchdown (a season-high for him). At this point, anything to get Leslie Frazier a win I think will do.

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy didn’t have a spectacular game because the Vikings defense scouted really well. The Vikings played more men in the box with one deep safety to try and eliminate the chances to McCoy to go off. McCoy finished the game with eight carries for 38 yards, and that’s a pretty good feat.

The Vikings will look to win three out of their last four as they travel to Cincinnati for Week 16.


Lions: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers…is what is costing the Lions from sitting pretty atop of the NFC North. Bears, take note.

Packers: Keeping an eye on Aaron Rodgers should be of utmost importance right now because it’s neck-and-neck for that playoff spot.

Vikings: The fact that the Vikings defense was the one to slow down LeSean McCoy is tough to swallow, but the Bears should try to imitate how the Vikings did it. Keeping Eagles QB Nick Foles to just an air game is ideal.