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NFC North Week 7 recap: Is the division becoming a 2-team race?

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Will the Lions climb themselves out of a hole?

New Orleans Saints v Chicago Bears Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Packers blow out Raiders at home, 42-24

After a controversial Monday night win over the Lions, the Packers responded by obliterating the Raiders to hold onto the division lead. There was a point in which the Raiders actually held a lead nearing the half, but Green Bay managed to score two quick touchdowns in the final 3:30 of the second quarter to give them an 11-point lead heading into halftime.

Aaron Rodgers was the star of the show in Green Bay’s win and finished with a perfect passer rating (158.3) on 31 attempts. He ended the game with 429 passing yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yikes, Oakland.

Prior to the game, the Raiders ranked 26th in pass defense DVOA and sixth in run defense. With the Lions heading to Oakland in two weeks, you’d expect a pretty good game from Matthew Stafford, especially when the Raiders just traded away one of their most talented cornerbacks in Gareon Conley.

The Packers look like the team to beat in the division and will likely catch a bit of a break when heading to Arrowhead Stadium to face off against a Patrick Mahomes-less Chiefs squad.

Next game: @ Chiefs (5-2)

Bears suffer embarrassing defeat to Saints, 36-25

The confidence level has shrunk dramatically when it comes to Bears fans, and maybe even their franchise quarterback.

Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense did their best to pad the stats late in the game and hope for a miraculous comeback, but anyone who watched the game will tell you that the offense was as dreadful as can be.

The issue at quarterback persists for the Bears, but it goes deeper than that. Chicago’s rushing attack has been extremely ineffective for them and they somehow managed to only run the ball seven times for 17 yards on Sunday. The defense, though still scary, has clearly regressed from last year’s historical performance and was fifth in DVOA before facing a beatdown from the Saints.

The panic is real and it isn’t going to get much easier for the Bears.

Next game: vs. Chargers (2-5)

Vikings take care of business on the road, beat Lions, 42-30

We don’t have to get too detailed with this one since you already know what happened.

After struggling to start the year with a very suspect offense, the Vikings had their way with the Lions’ defense. All of the credit goes to Kevin Stefanski—Minnesota’s offensive coordinator—for righting the ship and getting the offense to play a near perfect game against a hyped up Lions defense.

Kirk Cousins looked phenomenal against a very good Lions secondary, but it helped that he was essentially untouched all game. The Lions’ defensive game plan was a bad one, but the Vikings took full advantage of it and made some impressive plays down the stretch.

At 5-2, they could challenge Green Bay for the division title.

Next game: vs. Redskins (1-6)

NFC North Week 8 standings

1. Green Bay Packers (6-1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
3. Chicago Bears (3-3)
4. Detroit Lions (2-3-1)

Not great, Bob!

The Lions aren’t exactly out yet, but they’re making it harder and harder for themselves to win the division. They’d have to go on a big winning streak and hope that both the Packers and Vikings lose to some inferior opponents.

However, there is still a decent chance that the Lions can win enough games for a wild card berth. The NFC, as a whole, is proving to be a very tough conference, though, so it may take them nine or 10 wins to do so. Luckily for them, they have a fairly easy schedule on paper. They just need to close out games.