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NFC North Rundown, Week 6: Division battle heats up after Rodgers’ injury

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The division’s young depth has filled in admirably this season and figures to make the NFC North competitive to the very end in light of the Packers’ misfortune.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers lost many things including on Sunday - their Sunday machup, their sole possession of the NFC North lead, and of course their franchise quarterback in a 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

As Green Bay comes back home to take on the streaking New Orleans Saints in Brett Hundley’s first start, it must do so in the midst of additional injuries to players not named Aaron Rodgers. While the Packers must sort out an injury crisis, they find themselves in a division that has seen a number of rises from first and second-year players in the early part of the season.

News on a few of those players and more in today’s headlines.

Detroit Lions (3-3)

Lost vs. New Orleans, 52-38; Next - Bye

Summing up the first six weeks: More questions than answers.

Ken Haddad provides insight into how Detroit stacks up in key statistical categories after the first six weeks of the season before proposing four key questions as the Lions approach the bye.

A starting receiver is on the shelf for the next “few weeks.”

Golden Tate exited the game early against the Saints on Sunday and will miss some time with an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. Tate joins former Packers guard TJ Lang, who recently injured his back, as players relying on the bye week to get back to full strength. The Joneses - Marvin and TJ - figure to receive the bulk of the targets in the meantime.

A former second round pick is taking the next step at defensive tackle.

A’Shawn Robinson, Detroit’s second round pick a year ago, has been seeing increased snaps in light of Haloti Ngata’s season-ending bicep injury. Reaching over 40 snaps against Carolina two weeks ago, Robinson continues to blossom as an interior lineman in his sophomore season.

Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Won vs. Green Bay, 23-10; Next vs. Baltimore

Teddy Bridgewater cleared to practice, but Case Keenum should be the Vikes’ starter.

Courtney Cronin details why Keenum should remain Minnesota’s starting quarterback even in the wake of returns from Bridgewater and Sam Bradford.

Laquon Treadwell shows long-awaited promise against Green Bay.

After just one catch a season ago in his rookie season, the former first round pick hauled in three catches for 51 yards on Sunday, including a nifty one-handed catch in the third quarter. It was a positive sign for a player that disappointed the fan base last season and was attempting to fill the void left by Stefon Diggs’ absence.

Depth has been key to Minnesota’s 4-2 start.

On the Vikings’ 53-man roster, 50 have appeared in a game with 30 making a start so far this season. From quarterback to receiver to running back, Minnesota’s backups have picked up the slack and have helped the team reach its place atop the division.

Chicago Bears (2-4)

Won 27-24 at Baltimore; Next vs. Carolina

Bears hold on for their first road victory since 2015.

Despite blowing a 14-point lead, Chicago was able to hold on and pick up a 27-24 victory in overtime. With trick plays, and turnovers, the Bears were able to erase a losing streak on the road that dated back to December 2015.

The running game comes alive and leaves an unpleasant mark in Ravens history.

Behind Jordan Howard’s 167 rushing yards, Chicago finished with 231 yards on the ground. It was the most rushing yards allowed in Baltimore’s franchise history, which was especially surprising considering the Bears’ typical run-heavy gameplan.

Kyle Fuller and Adrian Amos become the latest young Bears to steal headlines.

While the spotlight has been on the offensive side of the ball, Chicago saw enormous performances from its youth in the secondary on Sunday. Amos intercepted his first pass and returned it for a score, while Fuller was targeted 15 times and allowed just five catches for 43 yards. It was a positive sign for two Baltimore kids seeking contract extensions.