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NFC North Rundown, Week 1: Big days for Diggs, Golladay, and Cohen

With the first week of the regular season in the books, here are some headlines from around a rather surprisingly competitive division.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

After a satisfying 17-9 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers have officially embarked on their quest for another NFC North Division crown and will carry their 1-0 record to the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta next week.

Elsewhere around the division, Green Bay’s competition had a strong first week. Despite hanging tough with the defending NFC champions, the Chicago Bears are who we thought they were after a loss in week one. The Lions also held Carson Palmer and David Johnson in check with a young, “anonymous defense” while the Vikings took down New Orleans and former Vikings MVP Adrian Peterson.

Without further ado, here is this week’s rundown.

Chicago Bears

Lost vs. Atlanta, 23-17; Next week at Tampa Bay

Offense has a medley of question marks, but quarterback isn’t one of them right now.

The hole at wide receiver grew deeper as former top ten pick Kevin White’s season could be finished once again after reports of a broken collarbone on Sunday. Meanwhile, Mike Glennon finished off a solid, yet unspectacular performance without a turnover in his first regular season game in Chicago, but Jordan Howard’s 13 carries tied for his fewest in his past 10 games. That and much more in this link from the Chicago Tribune.

Rookie running back Tarik Cohen flashes even more potential, lines up at the wildcat.

Cohen continues to garner rave reports around Chicago after leading the team in both rushing (66) and receiving (47) yards in week one. While it’s a concern that Howard wasn’t more involved in the running game and Cohen was the leading receiver, the rookie back showed additional versatility as a wildcat quarterback.

Fresh off a new contract, Akiem Hicks proves his worth.

The 27-year old defensive end signed a four-year, $48 million extension on Saturday and immediately showed why with a two-sack, three-quarterback hit performance against the Falcons.

Detroit Lions

Won vs. Arizona, 35-23; Next week at New York Giants

First round pick Jarrad Davis has an impressive debut.

The former Florida Gator became the first rookie middle linebacker to start a season opener for Detroit in 29 years and played every snap of his first contest, accumulating a team-high nine tackles and a forced fumble.

Young players on both sides of the ball are stepping up early.

Rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay was the talk of training camp and didn’t provide a reason for anyone to stop talking about his potential after a two-touchdown performance in his first regular season game. On defense, second-year safety Miles Killebrew of Southern Utah played a career-high 29 snaps and registered a tackle for loss, pass breakup, and pick-six.

The running game fails to take a step forward yet again.

Ameer Abdullah gained just 30 yards on 15 carries, while Dwayne Washington gained 22 yards on six carries in the opener. With fellow back Theo Riddick more suited for the passing game, it looks as if the majority of the offensive production must come from the multi-million dollar man Matthew Stafford once again.

Minnesota Vikings

Won vs. New Orleans, 29-19; Next week at Pittsburgh

Dalvin Cook breaks Vikings’ record for rushing yards in a debut.

With the former Minnesota star Peterson on the sideline, the rookie running back Cook broke Peterson’s franchise record for rushing yards in a Vikings debut, totaling 127 yards on 22 carries. A couple of 30-plus yard runs while routinely gaining yards after contact, Cook has Minnesota fans excited about the running game.

Stefon Diggs has an impressive start to the season for a second consecutive year.

Fully equipped with Randy Moss-inspired cleats and celebrations, Diggs provided glimpses of the former Vikings All-Pro with two touchdowns and nearly 100 receiving yards. It’s another strong start for Diggs, who was off to a Pro Bowl season before an injury in week four in 2016.

The guys protecting Cook, Diggs, and Sam Bradford get some love too.

It was a dynamic rushing night for Cook, but Bradford also posted a career-high quarterback rating. Overall, not too shabby for an offensive line that hadn’t played a preseason snap as a full unit and features a new left tackle in Riley Reiff.