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Around the NFC North: Week 1

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With one week of the NFL season in the books, take a look at what happened to the other teams in the NFC North.

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 1 in the books, let’s get our overreactions out of the way for what went down in the rest of the NFC North.

Packers defeat the Bears, 31-23

The Packers opened the season with a division win on the road, though the Bears made it a little tougher than some may have expected.

The Bears were able to put together some long drives in the first half to limit the Packers to less than 12 minutes of possession. Costly penalties also set the Packers back repeatedly in the first half, including an offside by cornerback Sam Shields that gave the Bears a fourth-and-one which they converted and eventually led them to a touchdown.

Similar to the Lions game, the second half was a completely different story as the Packers scored touchdowns on three of their four possessions. Aaron Rodgers had no problems without Jordy Nelson against the Bears’ shaky secondary, with a pretty equal distribution of targets among his top three receivers.

The final clinching play I’m sure made sportswriters across the world happy, with favorite scapegoat Jay Cutler throwing his first interception of the year after Clay Matthews stepped in front of the pass over the middle intended for Martellus Bennett. Kyle Fuller was called for pass interference a few plays later which put the ball on the Bears’ two yard line, where Eddie Lacy punched it in for his first touchdown and effectively sealed the win for the defending division champs.

Notable Performances

James Jones: After he was released by the Giants, I don’t think anyone thought he was going anywhere other than Green Bay, and even at 31 years old, he looks like he will definitely have a role in this offense. His four receptions for 51 yards and two touchdowns featured multiple tough catches and he looked right at home after spending a year away in Oakland.

Matt Forte: At 29 years old, Forte is becoming almost ancient in running back years, but after a year where he averaged less than four yards a carry, he looked good and finished the day with 141 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Instant overreaction: None?

Strangely, I didn’t feel like anything happened that was very out of place. Rodgers was great and the Packers’ defense struggled at times, but forced a turnover when they really needed it. On the other side, the Bears were unsurprisingly poor on defense and not terrible on offense-especially on the ground-but a turnover by Cutler ended any hope at a win. All sounds about within reason.

Up next (Packers): The Seattle Seahawks will visit Green Bay next weekend, in a rematch of a game you may recall from last year.

Up next (Bears): The Bears host the Arizona Cardinals and the apparently unbeatable-by-human-foes Carson Palmer, who is 14-2 in his last 16 starts.

Vikings fall to 49ers, 20-3

Coming into the season, the Vikings were a popular sleeper pick for the playoffs while the 49ers were considered a team destined for a huge drop off after roughly 117 players decided to retire. For at least one night, these storylines did not hold true.

The Vikings were a mess on Monday, especially offensively, and hardly looked like a team ready to take the next step. After a sloppy first quarter by both teams that included a blocked field goal, missed field goal, and a muffed punt, San Francisco got on the board in the second with an impressive 93-yard drive, which started a streak of them scoring on four straight possessions.

The Vikings did nothing on offense all night, finishing with just 248 yards which was the fourth lowest amount of any team in week one. Adrian Peterson was basically unheard from in his return with just 31 yards rushing, while opposing back Carlos Hyde set a career high easily with 168 yards on the ground.

Notable Performances

Vikings’ offensive line: Notable doesn’t always mean good, and that certainly applies to the o-line. Just 71 yards on 17 carries is an unspectacular 4.2 YPC, but giving up five sacks really set them back.

Anthony Barr: After a solid rookie season, Barr kicked off his second year with a good performance, leading the team with ten tackles, and earning a solid +1.3 grade from PFF.

Instant overreaction: The Vikings are still a year away from being a playoff contender

As mentioned before, many people thought that the Vikings were a possible playoff contender this year. Teddy Bridgewater had a strong finish to his rookie season, Peterson was making his return, and the defense, while young, has quite a bit of talent. One game shouldn’t change your opinion if you believed them to be a playoff contender, but this offensive line needs to improve in order for them to have a chance. Of course, if you never bought into the idea that the Vikings were a potential playoff team, feel free to use this game as evidence.

Up next: As you may know, the Vikings will host the Lions next week in a battle to not spend the next week having to listen to everyone say "teams that are 0-2 only make the playoffs 10% of the time" or whatever it is.