Week 2 of the preseason didn’t go so well for the Detroit Lions. They looked sluggish on defense and impotent on offense. That being said, the Lions left the game relatively healthy, which is typically one of the bigger goals in the preseason.
For other teams around the NFC North, it was the exact opposite. Pretty much every team looked much improved, but the Vikings and Packers are dealing with a few injuries that could be serious. Here’s a recap of preseason Week 2 around the NFC North.
Chicago Bears (lost 22-23 to Patriots)
The Bears rebounded in a big way after being shut out in Week 1 of the preseason. The offense looked re-energized, bolstered by the chemistry between Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, who connected for 41 yards on the first drive alone. The first-string offense would score 10 points in its two opening series, before going three-and-out to end the day.
Defensively, the Bears held up pretty well against a Tom Brady-less Patriots offense. New England started the game with a quick three-and-out, but then mounted a big 11-play, 83 yard drive. However, the Bears forced a fumble in the red zone, keeping Jimmy Garoppolo’s offense scoreless through the first quarter.
Jeremy Langford was one of the biggest positives from the Bears game, totaling 55 rushing yards and a touchdown on just eight carries. However, Langford sat out the next Bears practice with a walking boot on his left foot.
Additionally, Kyle Long missed the same practice with a shoulder injury that is considered minor.
Minnesota Vikings (beat Seahawks 18-11)
It’s hard to draw any conclusions from the Vikings offense based on Thursday’s matchup with Seattle; Minnesota was without both Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. Backup Shaun Hill failed to lead the offense to a scoring drive until his fifth drive of the game late in the second quarter.
On defense, the Vikings looked strong as ever. The Seahawks’ first drive was ended after an impressive fourth down stop by the Vikings defense. Additionally, the Vikings tallied four sacks on Russell Wilson in the first half alone. Seattle failed to score in the first half.
Bridgewater was a surprise scratch for the game, dealing with a previously unknown shoulder injury. According to Ben Goessling of ESPN, if Thursday’s game would have been a regular season game, Bridgewater would have played, but the Vikings quarterback was not throwing passes during Saturday’s practice either. In likely a coincidental move, Minnesota signed quarterback Brad Sorensen on Saturday.
Additionally, cornerback Xavier Rhodes suffered a hamstring injury in the first series against the Seahawks. He did not practice on Saturday.
Green Bay Packers (beat Raiders 20-12)
The Green Bay offense, once again without Aaron Rodgers for purely precautionary reasons, looked pretty impressive against the Raiders defense. In their first drive, Eddie Lacy took over, rushing for 45 yards on nine carries, including a goal-line leap for the opening score. Though nearly half of his yardage came on a 20-yard rush, Lacy looked impressive in his second preseason game. The rest of the first half was an offensive disaster for the Packers, as the team went three-and-out on four of the five remaining drives in the first half.
The Packers defense showed a marked improvement from last week, holding the Raiders to just three points in the first half. Second-year cornerback Damarious Randall led the way with an interception on a pass from Derek Carr intended for Amari Cooper.
The Packers’ primary backup quarterback Brett Hundley started the game, but had to leave in the middle of his third series after re-injuring his left ankle. This is the same ankle that caused Hundley to miss nearly two weeks of practice in training camp, as well as the preseason opener. While Rodgers is still healthy and clearly the No. 1 quarterback, Hundley is really the only capable backup in Green Bay. Head coach Mike McCarthy said he doesn’t believe this injury is as bad as the original ankle issue.
In better news for the Packers, Jordy Nelson was taken off the PUP list earlier in the week, but did not play in Friday’s game.