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Week 1 Around the NFC North: Packers survive, Bears do not

A look around how the NFC North played in Week 1

Chicago Bears v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions weren’t the only team that escaped Week 1 with a narrow win on the road. The Green Bay Packers got by on the skin of their teeth in Jacksonville. The Chicago Bears weren’t as lucky, dropping a road game to the Texans, while the Minnesota Vikings rode pretty comfortable to an opening week win over the Titans.

Here’s a more detailed look at each team around the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers - Won 27-23 over Jaguars

It came down to the very end of the game, but the Packers held on for a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1. This game went back-and-forth for all four quarters.

The Packers cashed in quickly after picking off Blake Bortles on the Jaguars’ first possession of the game. However, after they were gifted good field position, the Jaguars equalized on a touchdown late in the first quarter.

The teams traded scores the rest of the way, with no team ever leading by more than seven points.

Rodgers had a modest day, throwing for just 199 yards and two touchdowns, but made a few incredible throws like this jaw-dropping touchdown pass:

Defensively, the Packers had some trouble stopping the Jaguars all day. Although they bottled up the run (48 yards on 26 carries), the Packers defense allowed Blake Bortles to throw for 8.2 yards per attempt, one touchdown and an interception. The Jaguars actually outgained the Packers 348-294 in the game, but it was the Packers who came away with the win thanks to one final defensive stop.

With only 23 seconds left on the clock, Jacksonville was just 14 yards away from scoring the game-winning touchdown. Facing a fourth-and-1, the Jaguars attempted a quick bubble screen to Allen Hurns, but he was quickly swallowed up behind the backfield and the Packers knelt their way to a 1-0 start.

Next week: at Vikings (1-0) for Sunday Night Football

Minnesota Vikings - Beat Titans 25-16

It was a very slow start for the Vikings, who failed to score a single point in the first half despite reaching field goal range twice. Blair Walsh, fresh off the nightmarish ending to the Vikings 2015 playoff run, proceeded to miss a 37 and 56-yarder in the first half.

But much like the entire team, Walsh rebounded in the second half and finished with makes of 50, 33, 45 and 30. However, the Vikings team was bolstered by their defense. Although they consistently gave up a lot of yardage, they tightened up in the red zone and forced three turnovers on the day, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

Offensively, the Vikings went with Shaun Hill over newly acquired Sam Bradford. Hill did okay in his 2016 debut, completing 18 of 33 for 236 yards. However, the Vikings running game was stuck in neutral. Adrian Peterson ran for just 31 yards at 1.6 a carry. The lone bright spot for Minnesota’s offense was Stefon Diggs, who hauled in seven passes for 103 yards. Diggs appears to be the Vikings’ go-to guy in his second year in the NFL.

Next week: vs. Packers (1-0) for Sunday Night Football

Chicago Bears

What started so promisingly for the Chicago Bears ultimately ended in disappointment. The Bears got hot after picking off Brock Osweiler in the first drive of the game and quickly drove 75 yards for a touchdown to open the game offensively. Alshon Jeffery looked unstoppable in that first drive, catching two passes for 35 yards and also drawing a 20-yard pass interference penalty.

Jeffery would later pull in a 54-yard pass to help the Bears go 75 yards for a touchdown in just 30 seconds to end the first half. Shockingly, however, that was pretty much it for Jeffery and the Bears offense the rest of the way. In the second half, the Bears punted five times, threw an interception once and turned it over on down on their final possession of the game. In all, they had just four first downs in the entire second half.

Defensively, the Bears did an okay job keeping the Texans in check. Although Lamar Miller rushed for 106 yards and rookie Will Fuller pulled in 107 receiving yards and a touchdown, the Bears managed to limit the damage by forcing three field goals on the day.

The lackluster offensive effort ultimately did the Bears in. Chicago lost offensive coordinator Adam Gase in the offseason and it looks like they’ll need some time to adjust to life without him.

Next week: vs. Eagles (1-0) for Monday Night Football

NFC North standings after Week 1:

t-1st: Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
t-1st: Detroit Lions (1-0)
t-1st: Green Bay Packers (1-0)
4th: Chicago Bears (0-1)

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