The talk of the NFC North this week undoubtedly centers around the comeback miracle in Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a 24-23 opening week win over the Chicago Bears. An opening week victory was just what the Packers needed heading into an early-season clash with the Minnesota Vikings and Rodgers’ health in doubt. Despite a rocky start, Rodgers’ return sparked a full-team revival in which the Packer defense made an impressive final stand in Mike Pettine’s first game as Defensive Coordinator.
Around the division, outlooks are incredibly mixed. As expected, the Vikings rolled to a win behind its strong defense and $84 million quarterback, cementing themselves in the upper tier of the NFC. In defeat, the Bears continued their improvement from a year ago, almost stealing a victory from Green Bay with stellar contributions from their duo of running backs and newcomer Khalil Mack. But in Detroit, a new coaching era resulted in more gloom than excitement with fans already unsure of Matt Patricia. The Lions will have plenty to clean up in week two after a shocking home loss.
More information on the wide array of directions within the NFC North is discussed in today’s divisional recap.
Detroit Lions (0-1)
Lost 48-17 vs. New York Jets; Next at San Francisco
Oof. One game in and questions already loom over whether or not Patricia is the right man for the job in Detroit. An embarrassing home loss and lack of sideline communication have some people thinking not.
It was Patricia’s first game as a head coach, but Shawn Windsor chalks this Lions performance up to just another circumstance in which the Lions disappointed their fan base. For him, it was another chapter of dashed hopes for an organization that can’t fix itself.
The snap count gives no indication that one back has separated himself from the pack and, frankly, the production hasn’t either. The Lions’ run game continues to be a flaw.
Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Won 24-16 vs. San Francisco; Next at Green Bay
The veteran’s savvy and stability at the quarterback position are important to his Minnesota teammates, as well as for finishing close games as the Vikings did on Sunday. Whether he’s worth every penny as the author mentions is up for debate as the season moves along.
On a defense stacked with talent, the first round pick stepped up for two injured teammates and added a pick-six to his resume in his first game with the Vikings.
On top of Cousins and Hughes, Minnesota received its weekly dose of help from the defense in the form of turnovers while a key offensive player returned to the field.
Chicago Bears (0-1)
Lost 24-23 at Green Bay; Next vs. Seattle
Week 1 From the GM’s Eye: A magical ending for Aaron Rodgers, a concerning one for Mitchell Trubisky
Instincts and progressions were two areas of Trubisky’s performance that were a concern to one GM on Sunday night. It’s just one game, but was the snazzy playcalling a diversion from the weaknesses in Trubisky’s game?
Outside of Trubisky, there were several highs and lows for the Bears in week one. Their prized trade acquisition immediately paid dividends with a “stock up” performance.
Unlike in Detroit, things are still looking rosy in the Windy City even in defeat. A young crew of playmakers on both sides of the ball showed just how dangerous the Bears could become in the near future.