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Week 3 NFC North Preview

LOL Cutlerface
LOL Cutlerface

After two weeks of the NFL season, the entire NFC North division stands deadlocked at 1-1. However, the Packers have won the only game between any two members of the division and will look to push their record to 2-1 in Seattle on Monday. Here's a look at the games that the other members of the Black and Blue division have this week.

St. Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears

Is Sam Bradford finally turning into a good NFL quarterback? He carved up the Redskins' banged-up defense with a little help from receiver Danny Amendola last week. But in a statistical anomaly, they won the game where they finished -2 in the turnover battle but lost when they were +3 against Detroit. Only Robert Quinn has recorded a sack so far this year for the Rams (he has two), so they'll need to find pass rush from other sources to rattle Jay Cutler.

That said, Cutler and his offensive line had a meltdown for the ages last week and may be just the unit a struggling pass rush wants to face to get back on track. With Matt Forte out, Michael Bush will look to validate the Bears' signing of him in free agency this offseason with a big performance against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league.

Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans

I'm not in the least surprised by the Lions record at 1-1, but I'm a little surprised at how they got there. Specifically, the manner in which they beat the Rams in week one gave me some pause; I expected Matthew Stafford to look much better against a suspect defense. I was not surprised, however, by the fact that the 49ers pushed around the Lions and imposed their will last week.

The Titans are not good this year. Jake Locker is still learning on the fly, and Chris Johnson has been remarkably bad so far (21 yards rushing on 19 carries). I expect Kevin Smith to have a big day on the ground, considering that the Titans have allowed over 300 rushing yards in two games. As for their pass defense: I dare you to name one of their cornerbacks off the top of your head. If you thought of Cortland Finnegan, guess again - he's in St. Louis now. Calvin Johnson should have a big day on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings

The 49ers play their third NFC North team in three weeks, and this game should in theory be the easiest of all. Adrian Peterson will be fighting hard for yardage all day against the 49ers brutal rushing defense, and Christian Ponder could very well spend sixty minutes running for his life from Aldon and Justin Smith. The only way I see for the Vikings to have a legitimate chance in this game is with a big turnover on defense and by getting the ball to Percy Harvin in space and letting him make plays. If they try to play a tough game in the trenches, they'll be lucky to see the 50-yard line.

There we have it. When you factor in the Packers playing in Seattle on Monday, I think the most likely scenario is that the division goes 2-2 in week 3. While I picked the Packers, Bears, and Lions all to win, I could definitely see the Rams or Seahawks surprising me this week.