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Week 7 Around the NFC North: The Minnesota Vikings are fallible

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The Detroit Lions gained some ground, while the Packers bounced back.

Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It’s always a good week when the Detroit Lions win. But that week is made even better when their toughest divisional opponent gets knocked off their undefeated pedestal in convincing fashion. The Lions are now 4-3 and a manageable one and a half games behind the division-leading 5-1 Minnesota Vikings. Let’s take a look at what happened in Week 7 and where things stand now.

Minnesota Vikings (5-1) - Lost to Eagles, 10-21

The Eagles beat the Vikings by 11 points, but the game wasn’t really even that close. Minnesota’s only touchdown of the game came with 37 seconds left on a fourth-and-goal from the 14. The Vikings offense was completely stripped down and dismantled by an above-average Eagles defense.

The biggest problem for the Vikings was their offensive line. Sam Bradford was sacked six times on the day and fumbled four times, losing it twice. The performance was so bad along the Vikings offensive line that head coach Mike Zimmer called them “soft,” “overpowered” and a “sieve.”

Minnesota’s struggles along the offensive line don’t really come as much of a surprise, considering the myriad of injuries they’ve had to deal with. They have already lost both starting tackles for the season and had to rely on spot duty from Jake Long. Long had not even been on a training camp roster all offseason and was teamless until the Vikings signed him two weeks ago.

The Vikings defense still looks nasty, forcing four turnovers and holding Carson Wentz and the Eagles to just 239 yards of offense.

Next game: at Bears (1-6) - Monday - 8:30 p.m. ET

Green Bay Packers (4-2) - Beat Bears, 26-10

The Bears and Packers were playing to stalemate for much of the first half. Neither offense could really get going, and the half ended with the Packers up just 6-3.

But Green Bay really turned it on in the second half. After starting the third quarter inauspiciously by giving up a fumble recovery touchdown to the Bears, the Packers responded with three straight touchdown drives of 70 yards or more. Aaron Rodgers spread the ball evenly among three receivers, who each finished the game with 10 catches or more. Strangely, however, Jordy Nelson was left out and caught just one pass for nine yards.

It’s hard to gauge the Packers’ defensive performance, as they played the majority of the game against third-string quarterback Matt Barkley.

Next game: at Falcons (4-3) - Sunday - 4:25 p.m. ET

Chicago Bears (1-6) - Loss to Packers, 10-16

Why summarize the Bears’ Week 7 game when Windy City Gridiron already did it perfectly:

Johnny Cash-isms aside, the Bears are sinking deeper and deeper into their pit of despair. Granted, they held with the Packers for over a half on “Thursday Night Football.” In fact, they took the lead early and seemed in control of the Packers offense, holding them to just six points in the first half.

However, that was revealed as fool’s gold. In truth, Green Bay had no problem moving the ball against Chicago. They punted just once in the game and put up 406 yards of offense to the Bears’ 189 yards.

Chicago lost any real hope of an upset when Brian Hoyer left the game in the middle of the second quarter with a broken arm. Matt Barkley was forced into the fray and subsequently threw two interceptions while completing well under 50 percent of his passes.

The good news for Chicago is it appears Jay Cutler will be ready this week. The bad news is it’s far too late for the Bears, and they have to face the Vikings this week. Can someone remind me why this team has four primetime games in the first eight weeks?

Next game: vs. Vikings (5-1) - Monday - 8:30 p.m.

NFC North standings:

  1. Minnesota Vikings (5-1)

2. Green Bay Packers (4-2)

3. Detroit Lions (4-3)

4. Chicago Bears (1-5)