It was an eventful week for the NFC North, as the Detroit Lions lost a heartbreaker while the rest of the division had big games on a national stage. Here’s a look at what happened to each team in Week 2.
Minnesota Vikings (2-0) - Beat Packers, 17-14
Many prognosticators didn’t believe the hype of the NFC North returning champ this year. “Teddy Bridgewater won’t do anything.” “Adrian Peterson is washed up.” Well, the doubters could be right about those two things, but it hasn’t mattered so far.
For the second week in a row, the Vikings had nothing resembling a running game, but managed to pull out a victory. Unsurprisingly, it has been the Vikings defense that has carried the team. Through two weeks, Minnesota has just allowed 15 points per game and they did it mostly with quarterback pressure on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times and fumbled the ball three times (lost once).
While the defense was keeping Rodgers in neutral, Sam Bradford was looking mighty fine in his debut. He hooked up with Stefon Diggs nine times for a whopping 182 yards and one touchdown. By the game’s end, Bradford was 22 of 31 for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Not bad for a guy who was acquired two weeks ago.
However, the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson late in the first half of the game. Peterson was in obvious pain and had to limp all the way to the locker room, putting zero weight on his injured knee. It appears Peterson escaped with a torn meniscus in his right knee, which is better than the alternative ACL tear. However, recovery from this injury can vary widely depending on the severity of the tear, and there is no current timetable for a return.
Next week: at Panthers (1-1) - 1 p.m. ET
Green Bay Packers (1-1) - Lost to Vikings, 14-17
On the other side of the coin, the Packers fell just short stealing a divisional road game from the Vikings.
The Pack jumped out to an early lead after holding strong defensively, then benefiting from a 40-yard pass interference penalty. But without starting cornerback Sam Shields, the Packers’ secondary was picked apart for majority of the game. Green Bay had no answer for Stefon Diggs, who burned them for plays of 44, 46 and 25 yards.
Offensively, the front five were abused all game by the Vikings defense line. In addition to the five sacks surrendered, the Packers couldn’t get much started on the ground game. Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 53 yards on 19 carries (2.8 YPC).
Despite all of their offensive troubles, the Packers still had a chance to win the game. Green Bay was just on the verge of crossing into Vikings territory when Rodgers tried to fit a tight ball to Davante Adams, but was picked off by Trae Waynes, who was having an awful night up until that moment.
Next week: vs. Lions (1-1) - 1 p.m. ET
Chicago Bears - Lost to Eagles, 14-29
It was a Monday night to forget for the Chicago Bears. Just about nothing went right for Chicago on a night they were embarrassed on their home turf on a national stage.
The Bears seem to miss their former offensive coordinator Adam Gase, because nothing is happening offensively for the team. Granted, Chicago’s offensive line is a mess—they allowed three sacks on Monday, while the team rushed for just 64 yards and 3.6 a carry—but the Bears just seem completely out of sorts.
Jay Cutler went 12 for 17 for 157 and one interception before an injury to his throwing hand knocked him out of the game. The injury appeared to have happened early in the third quarter, but after throwing a horrible interception late, Cutler took himself out of the game. In the post-game press conference, Cutler said he could not grip the ball fully and to stay in the game would only hurt his team more.
Chicago’s defense was actually good enough to keep the Bears in the game. The Bears even held a lead for most of the first half, despite only scoring seven points. However, as the offense remained in neutral and even started to turn it over in the second half, the defensive floodgates started to open up. After Cutler’s pick and a Jeremy Langford fumble, the Eagles put up a quick 14 points and essentially put the game out of reach.
Next week: at Cowboys (1-1) - Sunday Night Football - 8:30 p.m. ET
NFC North standings:
1. Minnesota Vikings - 2-0
t-2. Detroit Lions - 1-1
t-2. Green Bay Packers - 1-1
4. Chicago Bears - 0-2