After week four of preseason was concluded on Friday, we are now only one week away from the regular season. We look at how the NFC North teams got on in the final week of preseason, including the Packers upsetting the Super Bowl favourite. We also discuss the players that may have forced their way into the final 53-man rosters.
Bears defeated by the Titans
The Bears lost to the Titans 15-19 at Soldier field to suffer their third loss in preseason. The Bears were leading 15-12 late in the fourth quarter. With 1:28 left on the clock, Titans QB Logan Woodside found RB Dalyn Dawkins with a 3-yard pass to win the game. However, there were stand out performances on the night for the Bears. QB Tyler Bray completed 28/40 passes for 334 yards including one touchdown.
Wide receiver Thomas Ives also produced one of his best performances of preseason. The rookie WR caught five passes for 99 yards against the Titans. Tight end Jesper Horsted, caught 5 passes for 82 yards including a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Bears the lead. The former WR out of Princeton has stood out in the last two preseason games against the Colts and Titans. Despite stand out performances, Bray, Ives, and Horsted are currently predicted to miss out on the final 53-man roster.
Packers beat the Chiefs to finish 2-2 in preseason
The Packers finish preseason with a win at home to the Chiefs. After the Chiefs took the lead through a field goal, a Ty Summers interception resulted in a pick six to give the Packers a 7-3 lead. The lead was extended to 13-3 in the second quarter after a Tim Boyle pass found rookie TE Jace Sternberger. The Chiefs responded with a touchdown to make it 13-10. Before DeShone Kizer found TE Bayliss to give the Packers a 20-10 lead at half time. The Chiefs levelled the game at 20-20 with two field goals going into the fourth quarter. Running back, Dexter Williams, ran in a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to win it for the Packers.
The best play of the night came in the fourth quarter. QB Manny Williams hurdled over a defender while scrambling for the first down. The decision on who will be Aaron Rodgers back up in Green Bay is yet to be decided. Tim Boyle and DeShone Kizer will be hoping they have done enough to earn the backup job for the Packers.
Tyree Jackson leads Bills to a fourth quarter comeback to beat Vikings.
The Vikings let a 23-6 lead slip against the Bills in Buffalo. With 5 minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter the Bills scored 21 unanswered points to secure the win. This included a 79-yard punt return by Bills RB Marcus Murphy. Kyle Sloter threw for 163 yards including a touchdown and interception. Despite the interception, Sloter will feel he has shown enough to make head coach Mike Zimmer’s 53-man roster.
The battle for the running back position has been intriguing throughout training camp and preseason. Dalvin Cook and rookie Alex Mattinson are one and two on the depth chart. However, the real battle is between Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah for the third RB roster spot. Mike Boone looks likely to have secured the spot, with his ability in the run and receiving game. Boone has also led the NFL in preseason with 196 rushing yards.
Lions beaten by the Browns in Cleveland
The Lions ended preseason 0-4 as they fell to a 20-16 defeat to the Browns. The offensive line will be of concern for Lions fans as the Browns were able to sack the QB’s nine times on the night. Lions QB Josh Johnson threw for 153 yards against the Browns. The Browns led 10-2 at half time after the Lions forced a safety, before Cleveland scored through RB Dontrell Hilliard. A Jonathon Alston interception in the third quarter set up a drive leading to a Josh Johnson touchdown to give Detroit the lead.
The Lions trailed 20-9 in the fourth quarter and were close to a comeback when Johnson found rookie TE Isaac Nauta in the end zone. The play was not enough to secure the Lions what would have been their only win in preseason. Nauta’s performance against the Browns combined with performances throughout preseason may have been enough to secure him a roster spot. Despite strong performances throughout preseason, it also looks likely that Tom Savage will win the backup job behind Matthew Stafford.
This NFC North guest article was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s a New Orleans Saints fan and you can find him on twitter at @jamiefarrin.
Photo Credit: www.packers.com