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NFC North Rundown, Week 2: Sam Bradford’s injury uncertainty takes center stage

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Green Bay isn’t the only team in the division with injury question marks after week two.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With the Green Bay Packers hoping for speedy recoveries from a number of noteworthy starters following their 34-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night, the Packers find themselves 1-1 and tied for second place behind the 2-0 Detroit Lions in the NFC North.

One would think the Packers’ pre-game inactives David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, as well as in-game losses Jordy Nelson, Mike Daniels, and Randall Cobb would be the talk of the division after week two. But with Green Bay’s western-border rival playing without its starting quarterback and its other competitors losing notable defensive starters, injuries have become the division race’s most pivotal factor.

We have updates on those ailments and more in this week’s rundown.

Chicago Bears

Lost at Tampa Bay, 29-7; Next vs. Pittsburgh

After no turnovers in week one, four consecutive turnovers led to the Bears’ doom in the season’s second week.

An interception, fumble, fumble, and interception on Chicago’s first four drives against Tampa Bay cost the Bears a fair shot at victory. The Buccaneers were spotted 23 points as a result of the four takeaways.

A dink and dunk offense is leading to impatience with Mike Glennon

Although Glennon completed 31 of 45 passes, he averaged passes of just 7.7 yards downfield, with only six throws of 15 yards or more. The short passing game is leading to defenses playing aggressively near the line of scrimmage, limiting the running game. After a decent showing in week one, Bears’ media is quickly losing its patience with its free agent acquisition.

The middle linebacker position is in dire straits.

After losing middle linebacker Jerrell Freeman in week one to injured reserve with a pectoral injury, the Bears defense also fears it will be without second-year ‘backer Nick Kwiatkoski for the foreseeable future with a pectoral injury of his own.

Minnesota Vikings

Lost at Pittsburgh 26-9; Next vs. Tampa Bay

After frivolous remarks to reporters, Mike Zimmer believes Sam Bradford is “probably day to day.”

Following the loss to the Steelers on Sunday, Coach Zimmer hopes his quarterback will be healthy enough to start in week three. Originally, Zimmer had caused a panic, saying Bradford could be out anywhere from one to six weeks with an injury to the same knee that suffered a torn ACL in 2013 and 2014.

With Case Keenum at quarterback, the Vikings found themselves in difficult third down predicaments.

Minnesota went 1-for-10 on third downs requiring seven yards or longer against Pittsburgh. The extra distance played a significant role, as the Vikings converted four of the five third downs they faced within six yards. Much of that blame falls on the backup QB, who led the offense into the red zone just once.

The highly-regarded defense put up a fight despite facing an explosive Pittsburgh offense.

The stat lines were fairly positive for the Vikings’ defense despite the loss. The unit held Ben Roethlisberger to less than 100 passing yards in the first half, Le’Veon Bell to under 100 all-purpose yards, and Antonio Brown to just 62 receiving yards. With Everson Griffen tallying two more sacks in week two, the Vikings look like a true NFC North contender if Bradford’s timetable for a return isn’t too long.

Detroit Lions

Won at New York Giants, 24-10; Next vs. Atlanta

First round pick, running back among those injured in week two.

Rookie middle linebacker Jarrad Davis is in concussion protocol, Ameer Abdullah suffered a possible leg injury after holding up on a run, and safety Tavon Wilson left with a shoulder injury during week two action.

Is the defense for real?

With five sacks in week two and five turnovers forced already this season, the Lions’ defense is playing with confidence and has fans thinking the team may be a playoff-caliber squad.

Jim Bob Cooter evolved from a Tecmo Super Bowl wizard to an NFL coordinator.

An interesting story from Michael Rothstein details the rise of the Lions’ offensive coordinator from scheming on the Nintendo to game planning at the NFL level.