NFC North Know-It-All: Week 16


Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks down during overtime against the New York Giants at Ford Field. Giants beat the Lions 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Embarrassment should be the new nickname for the NFC North teams as they showed their ugliest of colors on Sunday. But the division will come down to one game in Chicago this week between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

NFC North Standings

Chicago Bears: 8-7 (2-3 in division)

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

Detroit Lions: 7-8 (4-1 in division)

Minnesota Vikings: 4-10-1 (1-3-1 in division)

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions really dropped the ball this week as they will not be making the playoffs as a result of their 23-20 loss to the New York Giants this Sunday.

When running back Reggie Bush makes mistakes, he gets benched. Bush fumbled, missed tackles and couldn’t make some pretty easy catches on Sunday. Giving up the ball has been Reggie’s Achilles heal this season. Joique Bell stepped up and filled his spot. He’s really been a viable second option for the Lions at running back. Bell will most likely be playing his heart out in Week 17 as he is an impending free agent at the end of the season.

Is Matthew Stafford really worth the three-year contract extension worth $53 million that he signed this summer? He sure hasn’t been playing like it. His late multiple touchdown game was on Thanksgiving against the Green Bay Packers, and with a likely coach change in the future it’s definitely worth a second thought on Stafford.

Overall, I’d say the Lions defense didn’t get them in the hole that they were in on Sunday to piss away their playoff chances. They had a rough start but held Giants running back Andre Brown to only 40 rushing yards on 16 carries.

The Lions will finish off their season in Minnesota against the Vikings on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers

The Pittsburgh Steelers survived a late comeback by the Green Bay Packers to get the 38-31 win. Even though the Packers lost, the Chicago Bears loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night has kept their playoff hopes are alive.

Will Aaron Rodgers play or will he not? That truly is the question. On his radio show Tuesday, Rodgers said a decision will be made on whether he will play against the Bears on Thursday.

For the third time this season, linebacker Clay Matthews went down with an injury while sacking a quarterback. Matthews re-injured his right thumb, which is the thumb he had surgery on in October. McCarthy said the training staff didn’t feel very good about Matthews so it looks like the Packers will be without their blonde haired linebacker on Sunday.

Running back Eddie Lacy has been the work horse for the Packers offense since Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury. Sunday, Lacy re-injured his right ankle and did not return into the game. McCarthy was optimistic that Lacy would play against the Bears.

Last week wide receiver Randall Cobb returned to practice after breaking his leg earlier this season and his reps have continued to increase. He does remain on the injured reserve list but pending a playoff push he could return.

It all comes down to this…Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Bears. This game is the marque NFC North game as it decides the winner of the division and a playoff spot.

Minnesota Vikings

Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals steamrolled the Minnesota Vikings early  that ended in a 42-14 Vikings loss.

Running back Adrian Peterson has been battling an injury bug for the later part of the season including Sunday. Peterson was pulled out of the game on Sunday to manage and an additional report says that he hasn’t been healthy for the past 5-6 weeks. It’s time to sit Peterson. He’s the reigning MVP of the league and if the Vikings want to deal him, they can’t use parts of this season as their selling point.

The Vikings will conclude the 2013 season against the Detroit Lions at home.