It was probably too much to ask for of the Jets, but I did see this as a possible trap game for the Vikings. Instead, they handled New York with ease after leading just 10-7 at the half. With Dalvin Cook out, Latavius Murray continues to be solid as Minnesota’s lead back and rushed for a NICE 69 yards on 15 carries.
The Vikings also had some mild success through the air and Adam Thielen continues to dominate. Through seven games, Thielen leads the NFL with 67 receptions and 822 yards. He’s on pace for a ridiculous statistical year and has separated himself from the rest of the pack.
On the other side of the ball, Xavier Rhodes suffered another injury, this time his ankle, but head coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t seem to be too worried about it.
With this win, the Vikings now lead the NFC North at 4-2-1, and they have to be feeling pretty good after such a decisive win.
Next game: vs. Saints (5-1)
The Bears were in control of the division at 3-1 just a couple weeks ago, but two straight losses quickly put them back at the bottom of the division. The once dominant defense has had some struggles in their last two losses, which largely has to do with Khalil Mack dealing with a nagging ankle injury.
Chicago had a chance to tie the game late on a hail mary throw to Kevin White and well... see for yourself:
ALMOST round two of the Immaculate Extension pic.twitter.com/9gkig7JtaY— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 21, 2018
Oof. That’s gotta hurt. But it’s the Bears, so HA.
Mitchell Trubisky’s stats don’t look all that bad this year—they actually look really good—but despite what the box score says, he is struggling mightily this year as a passer. In the loss against the Patriots, Trubisky threw the ball 50 times for only 6.67 yards per attempt, with a completion percentage of 52 percent and two interceptions. However, he’s been extremely effective when scrambling and carrying the ball for himself this year. He’s averaging 40.8 rushing yards per game with 7.9 yards per carry. If throwing the ball doesn’t work out for him, I suppose he could always decide to become a running back instead (sarcasm, sort of).
Kyle Fuller notched himself his third interception in two games and continues to prove himself as a top corner. Tight end, Trey Burton, also had himself a day with nine receptions, 126 yards and a touchdown, while the other Bears TEs struggled. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the fact that Kyle Van Noy scored a touchdown on a punt block against the Bears, so in a way, we own them some more.
Following this loss, the Bears have a two-game stretch against the Jets at home and then on the road against Buffalo. I’m not going to say that any team is an easy win when we’ve seen what the Bills did to the Vikings, but this should be a favorable mini-stretch for the Bears as they look to rebound from a two-game losing streak.
Next game: vs. Jets (3-4)
Packers escape defeat against BYE
They did not play this week, but they have a tough road ahead of them.
Next game: at Rams (7-0)
NFC North Week 7 standings
1. Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1)
2. Green Bay Packers (3-2-1)
t-3. Detroit Lions (3-3)
t-3. Chicago Bears (3-3)
Hooray! They Lions are no longer in the basement of the North, technically. I’m feeling a lot better about their chances to win the division with how they’ve played recently, but Minnesota is now in the lead, and I believe that they will be the biggest threat to the Lions moving forward.
Looking ahead, if the Vikings lose to the Saints next week while the Lions win at home against the Seahawks, that sets up a crucial matchup between these two teams, possibly for the division lead.