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Know the NFC North: Week 10

A roundup of how the old "Black and Blue Division" fared in Week 10 of the 2013 season.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

NFC North standings

Detroit Lions: 6-3

Chicago Bears: 5-4

Green Bay Packers: 5-4

Minnesota Vikings: 2-7

Chicago Bears

Last week: 21-19 loss at home against the Detroit Lions (6-3)

See the rest of POD's coverage for a recap of the Lions' triumph at Soldier Field.

Next week: At home against the Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Green Bay Packers

Last week: 27-13 loss at home against the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

If someone told you in August that the Packers' only touchdown in a game this year would be a throw from Scott Tolzien to Brandon Bostick, what would you have said? Yet, here we are in Week 10 as the Packers' injury troubles continue. Packers fill-in quarterback Seneca Wallace was forced out of Sunday's game early with a pulled groin, and former Wisconsin Badger Scott Tolzien took over the reins of the once-mighty Packers offense.

As I sat in Soldier Field on Sunday watching the Lions take their rightful place on top of the NFC North, there were brief moments of unity among Lions and Bears fans. Whenever the Packers' score was announced or a highlight was shown, everyone joined hands and sang Kumbaya. After the Lions win, I had countless Bears fans come up to me and say, "At least it wasn't the Packers; we hope you win the division."

The Eagles made that dream a little easier on Sunday by knocking off the banged-up Packers. Philly jumped out to an early lead thanks to a lucky bobbled catch by receiver DeSean Jackson and seemed content to let running back LeSean McCoy do the heavy lifting on the day. McCoy finished with 155 yards on 25 carries without much resistance from the Packers' defensive front.

Philly quarterback Nick Foles followed up his Week 9 7-touchdown game by going 12 for 18 for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns. If you are doing the math at home, that means that Foles averaged about 19 yards per completion. He didn't drop back often, but when he did, he was heaving the ball downfield with great success against a lackluster Packers defense.


Depth - The fact that the Packers are still competing in games is pretty impressive. Each week, I see the team rely on new players that I have never even heard of. Jarrett Boykin is a good example. Four weeks ago, I had never heard of Boykin, but now he is a key part of the offense, and he led the team in receiving this week.


Defense - The Packers limited the Eagles offense to only 4 conversions on 11 third downs but were otherwise dominated on Sunday. McCoy ran wild and Foles found wide open receivers on multiple throws that were more Hail Marys than designed plays.

Converting touchdowns - The Packers only scored 1 touchdown on the day, but they were very, very close several other times. In fact, the Packers were 0 for 4 in the red zone on Sunday, including a bad interception that was nearly returned for a touchdown.

Next week: At the New York Giants (3-6)

Minnesota Vikings

Last week: 34-27 win at home against the Washington Redskins (3-6)

The Vikings outlasted the Redskins on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 10 of the NFL season. Despite Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's best game of the year, the Vikings finished the game strong on both sides of the ball.

The Redskins dominated the game in the first half and took a 24-14 lead into halftime. RGIII was nearly unstoppable with 3 first half touchdowns, and running back Alfred Morris helped the Redskins build a huge time of possession advantage.

After the Redskins opened the second half with a 40-yard field goal, the pendulum swung back in the Vikings' favor. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder led the offense on 2 consecutive touchdown drives to give the Vikings the lead. Ponder set up the second touchdown by scrambling for a first down, but he was injured as he dove for the end zone.

Backup Matt Cassel entered the game for the Vikings' final two drives and obediently fed Adrian Peterson the ball. Both drives ended in field goals thanks to the Vikings defense stifling the Redskins offense and forcing favorable field position. The Redskins' final drive made it to the Vikings' 4-yard line, but the Vikings held tough and forced a turnover on downs to give them their first win on American soil this year.


Quarterback play - This is not a typo. Christian Ponder was very effective on Thursday by completing 17 of his 21 throws for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ponder also showed off his impressive scrambling skills once again by setting up the Vikings' final touchdown of the day. Matt Cassel was also effective in his limited action. The Vikings were just trying to run down the clock at that point, but Cassel guided the offense into field goal range on both of his drives.

Second half defense - After getting shredded in the first half, the Vikings defense stiffened up in the second half. Thanks in part to a 2.5-sack second half effort by tackle Kevin Williams, the Redskins went three-and-out on three of their five second half drives.


Coaching - Trailing by 7 points, the Redskins took over possession on their own 20 with 3:36 left in the game. As they drove the field and ran their two-minute offense, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier called two timeouts. While this was pretty shocking to everyone, receiver Greg Jennings was visibly upset on the sideline as he paced and ranted to his teammates since the Redskins were out of timeouts and couldn't stop the clock. It ended up working out since the Vikings stopped the Redskins on their own 4, but it was strange. After the game, Coach Frazier claimed that the timeouts were necessary because several Vikings defenders needed a breather. Weird.

Next week: At the Seattle Seahawks (9-1)

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