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Week 3 NFC North recap: Are the Vikings for real?

The NFC North looked a lot better in Week 3, but no team looked more impressive than the Vikings.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The entire NFC North, sans the Detroit Lions, were winners in Week 3, but no team looked more impressive than the Minnesota Vikings. They just so happen to be the Lions’ next opponent, so their dismantling of the Buccaneers is particularly interesting.

Let’s take a closer look at their performance and that of the rest of the NFC North teams in this week’s Around the NFC North.

Minnesota Vikings defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17

  • I don’t want to knock Case Keenum after an outstanding statistical performance. 25/33 for 369 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs is undeniably amazing. But outside of one impressive deep ball, nothing Keenum did looked particularly impressive on Sunday. He honestly wasn’t all that accurate, and his deep ball has a dangerous amount of air to it.
  • That being said, the Vikings receivers looked absolutely dominant against the Bucs secondary. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs were consistently getting wide open on Sunday and making good adjustments to Keenum’s passes. Diggs and Thielen combined for 13 catches, 271 yards and two touchdowns. This is probably the most underrated duo of receivers in the league.
  • Also impressive was the Vikings secondary. Every single Jameis Winston pass was contested and Buccaneers receivers were often laid out by the hard-hitting defense. Winston threw three INTs on the day.
  • Dalvin Cook is such a good fit with the Vikings offense. His stats remain modest (27 rushes, 97 yards, 1 TD) due to a work-in-progress offensive line, but he will wear a defense out with his physicality.
  • Sam Bradford update: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Next week: vs. Lions (2-1)

Green Bay Packers defeat Cincinnati Bengals, 27-24 (OT)

  • The Packers may have come out victorious, but they did little to answer some serious doubts about the team. Just a week after getting abused by the Atlanta Falcons offense, the Packers made the Bengals, who hadn’t scored a single touchdown in two weeks, look like a competent offensive team.
  • Much of the Packers’ problems on defense is with their secondary. Andy Dalton completed 77.8 percent of his passes after completing just 55.5 percent through two weeks. The Packers’ two rookies, Kevin King and Josh Jones look promising, but there’s still a lot of work to do here.
  • Because we almost never get to see it, let’s enjoy this Aaron Rodgers pick-six:
  • Green Bay has serious issues on the offensive line. Rodgers was sacked six times on Sunday and the Packers only rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries (3.8 YPC). Admittedly, they were down their starting left tackle in David Bakhtiari, but this is still a problem.
  • All that being said, Aaron Rodgers is still very good and can cover up a lot of deficiencies.

Next week: vs. Bears (1-2) — Thursday Night Football

Chicago Bears defeat Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-17 (OT)

  • Before we get into the details of the game, you have to watch this boneheaded play from the Bears. It is amazing.
  • Chicago benefitted from a few special teams mistakes by the Steelers. In addition to the blocked field goal above (a six-point swing), Pittsburgh muffed a punt. The Bears quickly turned that into a touchdown.
  • But give the Bears credit, they have a pair of extremely talented running backs who punished the Steelers all day. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard combined for 216 yards on 35 carries (6.2 YPC). Both combined for 74 rushing yards on the game-winning drive in overtime.
  • The Bears defense also impressed, holding Le’Veon Bell to just 61 rushing yards on the day.
  • Mitch Trubisky watch is still on. Mike Glennon provided no spark in the passing game, completing just 15 of 22 passes for 101 yards.

This week: at Packers (2-1) — Thursday Night Football