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NFC North Rundown, Week 3: Surprising results add mystery to the divisional chase

A stunning week three of action in Detroit and Minnesota leaves the NFC North wide open in the midst of a disappointing Green Bay loss.

Buffalo Bills v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

On a day in which many NFC North fans were left in awe by the outcomes around the division, Green Bay Packers fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouths after a sloppy 31-17 loss to the Washington Redskins. With the loss, the Packers (1-1-1) at least momentarily have slipped out of a tie for first place in the division as they look to right the ship against the Buffalo Bills this week.

But that task may not be as easy as once anticipated. The Bills shocked the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday with a dominating victory on the road. Left in rather unfamiliar territory, the Vikings’ defense will be forced to regroup after a day of confusion, especially in the secondary.

Minnesota wasn’t the only surprise in week three, as the Detroit Lions pulled off a commanding upset of the New England Patriots after two humiliating defeats to start the regular season. Matt Patricia’s win over Bill Belichick for his first NFL victory as head coach couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Chicago Bears assuming sole possession of the lead in the divisional standings with a comeback win of their own.

All in all, the results of week three leave NFC North fans uncertain about who the real contenders are and those stories are in today’s rundown.

Detroit Lions (1-2)

Won 26-10 vs. New England; Next at Dallas

Dominant upset of Patriots gives Lions’ season hope

In one of the biggest surprises of the week, Detroit “out-Lioned” the Patriots, according to Ricky Jean-Francois, as Matt Patricia recorded his first head coaching win against his old boss.

Kerryon Johnson puts end to Detroit Lions’ 100-yard futility

With a 101-yard output, Johnson became the first Lions rusher to hit the century mark since Reggie Bush in 2013 (against the Packers).

TIM AND MIKE: Week 3 observations

Johnson wasn’t the only rookie to perform at a high level on Sunday. Also, the “Lucky 13s” and a strong offensive line allowed for a much-needed strong performance in Detroit.

Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1)

Lost 27-6 vs. Buffalo; Next at LA Rams

Where did that come from? Against all odds, Bills destroy Vikings in stunning fashion

Here is a recap of the Bills’ shocker that left the Vikings in what the author calls a “purple daze” heading into a tough matchup with the Rams.

3 Stats That Stood Out: Bills at Vikings

A startlingly low number of rushing attempts was one of three very pivotal factors playing into Minnesota’s downfall against Buffalo.

Defense’s miscommunication allowing big gains for Vikings opponents

Comparisons can be made between the Viking defense that was uncharacteristically torched in the 2017 NFC Championship Game and the one that was beat badly Sunday against the Bills. All position groups, especially the nickel corners are to blame for the breakdowns.

Chicago Bears (2-1)

Won 16-14 at Arizona; Next vs. Tampa Bay

Game Recap: Bears win thriller in Arizona

Behind a second-half rally and four defensive takeaways, the Bears took a game from the Cardinals in addition to the lead in the NFC North.

Khalil Mack’s dominance has Bears in Mitch Trubisky predicament

While the defense continues to impress in Chicago, the Bears are searching for some sense of consistency from Trubisky, who turned the ball over twice while showing a lack of accuracy and decision-making in the red zone. Head Coach Matt Nagy preaches patience.

Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy passes a huge test as head coach

Nagy’s instincts and second-half adjustments after early struggles on offense were a factor in Sunday’s game. For one writer, the team seems to be rallying around its coach despite not playing its best football yet.