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NFC North Rundown: Kirk Cousins picking up steam as season marches on

The Vikings’ quarterback was a source of mockery in the early weeks, but he has rebounded strongly since.

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Hopefully rested and rejuvenated, the Green Bay Packers (8-2) enjoyed a bye in Week 11 of the NFL season. But they failed to make up ground on their chief nemesis.

The Minnesota Vikings rallied from a three-touchdown hole to win over Denver on Sunday, moving their record to 8-3 and well within striking distance of the Packers, who maintain first place in the NFC North by a half-game. With the Vikings entering their own bye this week, the Packers face a tall test against San Francisco on Sunday night to keep pace in the divisional standings, as well as in the conference.

Behind the Vikings’ recent surge has been their signal caller Kirk Cousins, who has bounced back from early-season struggles to flip the script into a banner season. And against Denver, Cousins was especially instrumental in having what some believe is a dark-horse MVP type of season.

Cousins’ heroics are documented in today’s rundown in the midst of dysfunction around the rest of the NFC North.

Detroit Lions (3-6-1)

Lost 35-27 vs. Dallas; Next at Washington

Lions film review: Breaking down the defense in loss to Cowboys

The ground, pass rush, and coverage aspects of the Detroit defense were shaky in a 509-yard offensive performance by the Cowboys.

Bob Quinn fired Jim Caldwell because 9 wins wasn’t enough. Now the Detroit Lions are worse

Even without a healthy Matthew Stafford, is the Lions’ record under Matt Patricia good enough for the head coach to keep his job? After all, its “a results-oriented business.”

6 young Lions players worth watching for 2020 and beyond

A former Alabama running back that made his Lions debut last weekend finds his name on the short list of players to watch down the stretch for Detroit.

Chicago Bears (4-6)

Lost 17-7 at Los Angeles Rams; Next vs. New York Giants

Stock up, stock down: Bears-Rams

One noteworthy defender was all around the football while another was zeroed out in the box score.

Film study: How Bears QB Mitch Trubisky hurt his hip and what happened next

A curious option play was called following Trubisky’s hip injury and didn’t help the quarterback’s recovery.

The Bears Are Stumbling After a Playoff Run. Yes, Again.

Expectations haven’t been met by Chicago after a postseason appearance last season and that has been the norm for the Bears throughout periods of the 1990s and 2000s.

Minnesota Vikings (8-3)

Won 27-23 vs. Denver; Bye Next

Vikings’ comeback win exposes areas that need to be fixed

Minnesota came back from 20 down to get the win, but there are several things to clean up during the bye week, including the defense’s vulnerability against the deep pass.

Vikings hero Jayron Kearse told Twitter he’s leaving Minnesota

The Vikings’ safety made three crucial late-game plays to help the team escape with a win, but Kearse hinted that Minnesota would not be in his future after the season.

You like that? Vikings’ Kirk Cousins changing the narrative

After taking criticism the first few weeks of the season for a middling offense, Cousins has been a bright spot for the Vikings in the recent stretch.