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Week 5 Around the NFC North: Vikings stay unbeaten, Lions take down Eagles

As we examine the performances of the Packers’ NFC North rivals, we see one surprise upset in Detroit and a thorough domination in the Twin Cities.

NFL: Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday in week 5, every NFC North team was in action, with three of those teams taking the field for early kickoffs at 12 noon central. The Green Bay Packers got to wait through all those games before they beat the Giants 23-16 on Sunday night, but the results of their divisional rivals’ contests made it imperative for the Packers to win in order to keep pace with the Vikings and a few other teams across the NFC.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the Black and Blue division fared on Sunday.

Lions 24, Eagles 23

The Lions got their second win of the season on Sunday afternoon, defeating the previously-unbeaten Eagles. The Lions actually blew a pair of 14-point leads, as they were up 14-0 after the first quarter and 21-7 midway through the second. After an Eagles field goal put Philadelphia up 23-21 and the Lions went three-and-out, the game looked to be over for Detroit until Ryan Mathews fumbled near midfield with under three minutes to go.

A 27-yard pass to Golden Tate set up the Lions in good field goal range, and Matt Prater hit from 29 yards out for a one point lead. Carson Wentz then threw his first interception of the year on the next play from scrimmage, as Darius Slay picked him off deep to seal the Lions’ win.

Detroit moves up to 2-3 on the season, a game and a half back of the Packers. Theo Riddick was responsible for two touchdowns on the day, both receptions from Matthew Stafford, and the Lions’ QB was 19/25 for 180 yards and three scores.

Colts 29, Bears 23

As Andrew Luck-led teams are wont to do, the Colts were down in the fourth quarter to Chicago before surging ahead late in the game for a come-from-behind victory. The Bears got a huge day from rookie running back Jordan Howard, who went off for over 150 total yards and a touchdown. Second-year wideout Cameron Meredith had over 100 receiving yards for Chicago, and Bryan Hoyer was 33/43 for 397 yards and two scores.

However, it was T.Y. Hilton who was responsible for the biggest play of the game, a 35-yard touchdown with just over three minutes left that put the Colts ahead 26-23. The Bears did get a great game from Willie Young, who recorded three sacks. However, despite out-gaining the Colts 522 yards to 396, the Bears struggled in the red zone (just one touchdown on three attempts) and on third down (2/9).

Chicago fell to 1-4 on the season

Vikings 31, Texans 13

In a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated, the Vikings dominated all three phases of the game against a listless Houston team at U.S. Bank Stadium. Adam Thielen - Minnesota’s homegrown answer to Green Bay’s Jared Abbrederis - caught seven passes for 127 yards and the game’s first touchdown, while Sam Bradford was an efficient 22/30 for 271 yards and two scores.

The Vikings’ running game was ugly, though, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry - Matt Asiata picked up 55 yards on 14 carries while Jerick McKinnon toted the ball 20 times for just 36 yards. Even Cordarrelle Patterson got into the action, catching a nine-yard touchdown from Bradford, while Marcus Sherels took a punt 79 yards to the house.

On defense, the Vikings got two sacks and a forced fumble from Brian Robison and held the Texans to just 214 total yards on the day. Even worse, Houston picked up a first down on just one of 13 third downs and Brock Osweiler completed fewer than 50% of his passes.

Minnesota’s defense continues to chug along and Bradford seems to be picking up his game, even with Stefon Diggs inactive. The Vikings now sit comfortably at 5-0, owning a 1.5-game lead on the Packers and the head-to-head tiebreaker.

NFC Playoff Picture

Here are the six teams currently slotted into the NFC’s six playoff spots (note that seedings may not be exact at this time):

  1. Minnesota Vikings (5-0) - NFC North leader
  2. Atlanta Falcons (4-1) - NFC South leader
  3. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) - NFC East leader
  4. Seattle Seahawks (3-1) - NFC West leader
  5. Green Bay Packers (3-1) - Wild card
  6. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) - Wild card