There were mixed results for the NFC North teams in week three. With stand out victories for the Vikings and Bears, and narrow defeats for the Lions and Packers. Here’s a run through of the week three action.
Packers suffer narrow defeat in Canada
The Packers fell to a one point defeat to Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders. The 22-21 defeat in Winnipeg means the Packers have a 1-2 record in preseason. The game was played on a modified 80-yard field, due to problems with the end zones at Investors Group Field. Aaron Rodgers and many of Matt LaFleur’s starters again missed out in week three.
However, the Packers offense was managed brilliantly by backup quarterback Tim Boyle. Boyle led the Packers to a 21-10 lead at halftime. The second year QB out of Eastern Kentucky University threw two touchdowns and completed 16/25 passes for 191 yards. This included finding wide receiver Trevor Davis for a 23-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The Raiders fought back in the second half with a field goal by kicker Carlson, to take the lead late on. The Packers will move onto the fourth and final week of preseason, where they face the 2018 league MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at Lambeau Field.
Bills are too strong for Detroit at Ford Field
Fans in Detroit haven’t had a lot to cheer about this preseason. However, they will be licking their lips at the prospect of quarterback Matthew Stafford linking up with rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Danny Amendola. There were glimpses of the chemistry between Stafford and the former New England Patriots WR Amendola throughout the night. The linkup between Hockenson and Stafford was also on display against the Bills. Stafford found the rookie TE with a 31-yard pass and run in the second quarter. Head coach Matt Patricia will hope the injury suffered by linebacker, and defensive captain, Jarred Davis will not be serious. The linebacker was helped from the field with a right leg injury on just the second play of the game. Detroit rounds off the preseason with a trip to Cleveland to face the Browns, led by QB Baker Mayfield.
The Vikings sail away from Arizona with the win
The Vikings continued their excellent preseason form to make it three wins from three. They restricted the Cardinals to only field goals as they won 20-9 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota’s running game has looked strong throughout preseason but looked even stronger with Dalvin Cook making his first appearance of preseason. The 2017 second round draft pick rushed for 88 yards on two carries including a sensational 85-yard run for a touchdown. Kirk Cousins struggled completing 3/13 passes for 35 yards. However, back up QB Kyle Sloter entered the game with the Cardinals winning 9-7. He led two touchdown drives including finding running back Khari Blasingame. The Vikings face the Buffalo Bills in week four of preseason before the regular season opener against the Falcons.
The Bears record their first preseason win against the Colts
The Bears came away from the Lucas Oil Stadium with a well-earned 27-17 victory over the Colts. Chicago scored 20 unanswered points to turn the game on its head, after trailing 17-7 in the first half. As it has been for most of preseason, head coach Matt Nagy rested his starters. This gave the chance for his reserves to show what they can do. Ryan Nall showed his power and speed to break through tackles to rush for 69 yards. Nall then thought he had scored a touchdown only to see the play called back for a holding penalty. Backup QB Tyler Bray completed 11/16 passes for 136 yards including a interception and a touchdown to Jesper Horsted.
The Bears decision to release kicker Elliot Fry and keep Eddy Pineiro was justified. The former University of Florida and Oakland Raider kicker, slotted over all five kick attempts. Pineiro also kicked an astonishing 58-yard field goal in the third quarter. It will be interesting to see if Nagy decides to rest his starters again when the Bears host the Tennessee Titans in week four.
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: USA Today