It could not have gone better for the NFC North in week 3, with all four teams recording victories. This is shown in the latest NFL power rankings, with three of the four teams in the top ten. The unbeaten Lions just missed out but moved up six places to 14th. Here is the recap of week 3….
Philadelphia Eagles 24-27 Detroit Lions
The Lions continued their impressive start to the season with a 24-27 victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. It takes the Lions to 2-0-1 for the season, maintaining their unbeaten record. There were touchdowns for running back Kerryon Johnson, wide receiver Marvin Jones, and the play of the game came from cornerback Jamal Agnew. The play came early in the first quarter, when Agnew returned the Eagles kick-off 100 yards for the touchdown. Johnson then smashed his way over from 1-yard for the Lions second touchdown. Lions kicker, Matt Prater, then added two field goals to give the Lions a 20-10 lead going into half time.
Both teams found the endzone in the third quarter, with Matthew Stafford finding Marvin Jones for the wide receiver’s first touchdown of the season. The Eagles scored a TD in the fourth quarter to close the Lions lead to 27-24. The Lions defense stood strong, forcing a 4th and 15 situation with less than a minute left on the clock. Eagles QB Carson Wentz could not get the first down, ensuring the Lions victory.
The Lions face possibly their biggest test of the season in week 4, when Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs visit Detroit.
Minnesota Vikings 34-14 Oakland Raiders
The Vikings moved to 2-1 to maintain their strong start to the season. The Vikings raced into a 21-7 lead at halftime and always looked too strong for the Raiders. A touchdown and two field goals in the second half secured their second win of the season.
Kirk Cousins completed 15/21 pass attempts for 174 yards, including one touchdown to wide receiver Adam Thielen. However, as it has been for most of the season, the star man for the Vikings was running back Dalvin Cook. Cook ran for 110 yards in 16 carries, including a 1-yard pitch play to give the Vikings a 14-0 lead in the second. Cook has now rushed for over 100 yards in each of the first three games. The RB becomes the first Vikings rusher to achieve this since 1975. There were also rushing touchdowns for RB Alexander Mattison and Thielen, who scored his second of the night.
The Vikings defense also played their part sacking Raiders quarterback Derek Carr four times, including two sacks for line-backer Eric Wilson. Safety, Harrison Smith also got in on the action, intercepting a Carr pass in the first half.
The Vikings face a tough trip in week 4 where they travel to divisional rivals Chicago Bears.
Green Bay Packers 27-16 Denver Broncos
The Packers made it three straight victories to start the season with an impressive victory against the Broncos. Offensively, there were two rushing touchdowns for RB Aaron Jones and a receiving touchdown for wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Aaron Rodgers completed 17/29 pass attempts for 235 yards including a 40-yard touchdown pass to Valdes-Scantling.
The Packers offense performed well, but a lot of plaudits must go to the defense. They sacked Joe Flacco a total of six times, including sacks for line-backers Za’Darius Smith and rookie Rashawn Gary. But the standout performance on defense came from line-backer Preston Smith. Smith made five tackles and sacked Flacco three times on the night. Smith’s performance against the Broncos saw him named NFC defensive player of the week. With 4.5 sacks in the first three games, Smith has already made more sacks this season than he managed for the whole of last season.
The Packers host the Eagles in week four looking to continue their unbeaten record and maintain top spot in the NFC North.
Washington Redskins 15-31 Chicago Bears
The Bears move to 2-1 for the season with victory over the Redskins in Washington. Mitchell Trubisky showed what he can produce against the Redskins, throwing for three touchdowns. The third year QB completed 25/31 passes for 231 yards including finding WR Taylor Gabriel three times.
The Bears led at halftime 28-3, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter. They scored their first points when safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted Redskins QB Case Keenum. Clinton-Dix intercepted the pass and ran the ball 37 yards for the touchdown. Former Cleveland Brown and Atlanta Falcon, Gabriel, caught six passes for 75 yards. Gabriel’s third touchdown was originally ruled incomplete by the on-field officials, before a review overturned the play to give the Bears a 28-0 lead.
The Bears defense continued their early season form sacking Keenum four times. There were sacks for Danny Trevathan and Nicholas Williams. The defense was led by line-backer Khalil Mack. Mack added to his sack last week against Denver with two sacks against the Redskins.
Not content with his earlier pick 6, Clinton-Dix intercepted another Keenum pass in the third quarter. Clinton-Dix returned the interception for 59-yards before being pushed out of bounds.
The Bears host the Minnesota Vikings in week four looking to build on the positive performance of both their offense and defense.
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.
Feature Image Credit: Jerry Habraken/Delaware News Journal