NFC North Roundup – Enormous Changes in Standings

NFC North Roundup – Enormous Changes in Standings

The NFC North continues to be the most unpredictable division in the NFL. Another week passes, further change in the rankings. The Bears, bottom entering week 8, leap ahead in the division. The Lions and Packers both surrendered to hefty defeats, whilst the Minnesota Vikings faced one of the most in-form teams in the league, the New Orleans Saints. 

Lions Surrender to the Seahawks

The most inconsistent team in football lived up to their reputation in a double-digit loss to the Seattle Seahawks, 14-28.

The game never really benefitted Matt Stafford, who despite 310 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, coughed the ball up twice, including throwing a pick to Justin Coleman inside the 2-yard line. The pick eventually led to the special teams play of the week by Seahawks punter, Michael Dickson, who ran the ball out of his end zone for a first down in an incredible trick play.

Enjoy the incredibly talented Pat Mcafee, who breaks down the play above. 

In spite of the Lions’ shortfall’s, there were some positives. Marvin Jones for example, excelled in the game, catching 2 touchdown passes as well as producing 117 receiving yards. In addition, the acquisition of Damon “Snacks” Harrison was a steal this past week, as he dominated at the line of scrimmage with 7 tackles and 1 sack. 

On the other hand, the Seahawks were dialled in on defence, forcing 2 fumbles as aforementioned, as well as stopping the Lions’ run game which amassed just 34 rushing yards throughout the game. 

Russell Wilson was on fire at the helm of the team, completing 14 of 17 passes for 248 yards and 3 touchdowns. Furthermore, his ability to evade pressure in the pocket and create a play was simply undeniable in the game and is a large factor for the Lions’ downfall.  Also, Chris Carson grabbed himself 1 rushing TD in an impressive 105-yard rushing performance. 

The result for the Lions demotes them to bottom of the NFC North with a win/loss record of, 3-4. The Seahawks however, remain second in the West, still chasing the undefeated Los Angeles Rams. 

Bears Bully the Jets

The Bears entered a pivotal clash with the New York Jets without two key inactive’s in Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson. Regardless, they got the job done and ran out eventual winners, 24-10. 

Mitchell Trubisky played a solid game again, throwing the ball for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tarik Cohen however, garnered all the attention from the game, rushing the ball for 40 yards on just 5 attempts, as well as completing a 70-yard TD from Trubisky’s pass. Moreover, the Bears provided a stellar run game, with Jordan Howard also producing 80 rushing yards, whilst Trubisky notched another 51 of his own. 

Defensively, the Bears were locked in. Coverage was key in preventing Sam Darnold gaining any momentum whatsoever, who completed just 42% of his passes in the game. However, he was able to connect with Christopher Herndon IV for the Jets’ only touchdown. Unfortunately for the Jets, the inability to force completions both in the passing and run game presented far too many opportunities for Lachlan Edwards to punt, who amassed 337 yards with a total of 8, yes 8, punts. 

The Bears, now 4-3, leapfrog all three teams in a ridiculous change of fortunes, gaining them a stronghold in first place in the North. The Jets remain third in the AFC East, awaiting the results of the divisional rivalry between the Bills and Patriots later tonight. 

Rams Remain Unbeaten

The undisputed game of the week featured two of the most talented teams in the league. The Rams aimed to protect a 7-0 unbeaten streak and they sure had to fight for it. Nevertheless, the Rams did prevail victorious after a costly fumble by Ty Montgomery which cost Green Bay the game. 

Jared Goff was far from immaculate, but he did enough to scrape a win in the end, contributing 3 TD’s and 295 passing yards. Todd Gurley, a potential MVP candidate, compiled a total of 195 all purposes yards as well as being the recipient of 1 TD pass. 

On defence, the Rams were successful in getting to Aaron Rodgers, with both Aaron Donald (2) and Cory Littleton (1) adding to the sack sheet. 

On the other hand, the Packers were relentless. Rodgers once again threw the ball with relative ease, but the run game stole the show. Aaron Jones had a career-record 12 carries for 86 yards and 1 touchdown. Davante Adams also impressed with a 133 receiving yard game on 5 receptions. 

Notwithstanding both teams performances’, Ty Montgomery was the eventual villain. The  young halfback decided to return a kickoff from inside the end zone, running the ball to the 20-yard marker which he would then fumble. The Rams recovered the ball with just over 2 minutes on the clock and proceeded to kill the game. 

Los Angeles remain unbeaten in the NFC West, looking an almost certainty to reach the playoffs. The Packers however, fall to 3-3-1. 

Super Saints Down the Vikings

In the first encounter since the infamous ‘Minnesota Miracle’, the Vikings took on the New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s late game. 

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they could not repeat the result of last year. Cousins threw the ball relatively well, accumulating 359 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Additionally, Stefon Diggs led the team with 119 receiving yards and caught 1 TD pass. Adam Thielen continued his 8 week run of 100+yard receiving games. Although, it was all for nothing. 

Turnovers killed the game off for the Vikings, what with their being a fumble, a pick-six conducted by P.J. Williams and a pivotal failure converting a 4th and 1, the Vikings were once again ineffective when it mattered the most. 

Drew Brees had a relatively quiet game, within which he connected on many ‘dink and dump’ throws, channelling his inner Alex Smith. On top of that, Alvin Kamara was electric as ever, catching 1 touchdown pass and rushing for 1 also. He and Mark Ingram combined for a solid 108 rushing yard day. 

The Saints, now 6-1 on the season, face the LA Rams next Sunday in a huge matchup. The Vikings fall to second. 

 A Look Toward Week 9

With the Bears reclaiming top spot in the North, they travel to Buffalo in search of further momentum toward their playoff push. The Vikings will face the Lions in a divisional rivalry of epic proportions, whilst the Green Bay Packers face the Patriots on Monday Night Football. 

Image Rights – usatoday.com

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