Eagerly anticipated by many fans, football is back! The pre-season gives us chance to see new faces on and off the field. Here’s how the action in the NFC North unfolded.
Green Bay Packers 28-26 Houston Texans
With the Packers hosting the Texans for joint practices at the beginning of the week the two sides were no strangers coming into this week one preseason matchup. Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat out the preseason opener, allowing back up QB’s DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle to lead the Packers to a two point victory over the Texans at Lambeau field. Number two QB Kizer completed 8/13 passes throwing for 102 yards in the first half, including a touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd. Boyle threw two touchdowns. He connected with J’Mon Moore and Allen Lazard to give the Packers a 28-10 lead in the 4th quarter. The Texans came back into the game, but couldn’t do enough against a defense that produced two interceptions, including a pick by 6th round draft pick Ka’dar Hollman.
The Packers head to Baltimore to face the Ravens as their preparations for the regular season continue.
Chicago Bears 13-23 Carolina Panthers
Despite the defeat for the Bears, 3rd round running back David Montgomery showed exactly why he is such a highly rate prospect. The RB showed his quick feet to step outside the Panthers defense to run in for his first NFL touchdown. He also made 3 receptions showing off his versatility and speed. They’re attributes that will be vital for the Bears offense throughout the season. Elijah Holyfield, undrafted free agent and son of former boxer Evander Holyfield, was the stand out player for the Panthers. The running back scored two touchdowns, an 11 yard touchdown run and collected a pass from QB Will Grier for his second. The Bears will take positives from the game, and will welcome back regular first team starters as the preseason progresses.
Next up for the NFC North favourite Bears, is a trip to New Jersey to face the New York Giants at MetLife stadium
Detroit Lions 3-31 New England Patriots
It was a tough week one defeat for the Lions. It was made worse by the broken leg suffered by wide receiver Jermaine Kearse early in the first quarter. Four touchdowns for the Patriots, including two for Jakobi Meyers, made it a tough evening for the Lions. The Patriots produced nine sacks in the game which will worry Detroit head coach Matt Patricia. However, the Lions fans will be excited to see how the link up between QB Matthew Stafford and rookie Tight end TJ Hockenson develops as preseason continues.
The Lions will look to bounce back in their second preseason fixture when they host the Buffalo Bills at Ford field.
New Orleans Saints 25-34 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, and new offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, will be impressed by an offense that scored four touchdowns. Rookie Alexander Mattison notched up his first touchdown on his debut. Ameer Abdullah showed the depth that the Vikings have at RB. His huge 42 yard run in the second quarter set up great field position for the offense. Kirk Cousins also showed glimpses of why he is one of the highest paid QB’s in the league. Back up quarterback, Sean Mannion, was also effective. He threw for 102 yards including one touchdown. On the other hand, Zimmer will be concerned with a lack of defensive discipline. The unit conceded 13 penalties for 136 yards.
The Vikings face the Seattle Seahawks in week two of preseason.
This NFC North pre-season recap was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s been a New Orleans Saints fan since 2009 after watching them beat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44.
Photo Credit: Associated Press