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NFC North Week 3 recap: Is this the best division in football?

Everyone wins.

Chicago Bears v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Packers extend to 3-0, beat Broncos at home, 27-16

It sucks to see the Packers performing well again, and they look like a real threat. You can say the level of competition they’ve played so far is sub-par (I’ll disagree with you there), but regardless, this team looks a lot better on paper right now than they have the last couple of years.

The addition of edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith during the offseason have given the Packers a very early return on investment, and they are currently both in the top-15 of Pro Football Focus’ highest graded edge rushers through three weeks. The closest the Lions come is Romeo Okwara (29th) mostly because of his success as a run defender to start the year.

Also, former Michigan edge rusher Rashan Gary got his first sack of the year, so I guess that’s noteworthy.

Aaron Rodgers started off the year pretty rough against the Bears in Week 1, but has since rebounded pretty well, though the stat sheet does not completely reflect that. Still, he hasn’t thrown a single interception on the year and the offense has done a good job of getting out to early leads and having the defense hold onto the lead for them.

The Broncos actually had a decent shot to steal this game, but it was two costly fumbles on their own side of the field that led to 14 points for the Packers that ultimately sealed the deal.

On Thursday, the Packers will host the Philadelphia Eagles on a short week, which is very fortunate for them considering the amount of injuries the Eagles are dealing with.

Next game: vs. Eagles (1-2)

Vikings beat Raiders in a rout, 34-14

Just when the Raiders were starting to not look like a complete national embarrassment, they go and get trampled on by a struggling Minnesota offense. Kirk Cousins started the year with back-to-back nightmarish performances but was solid against the Raiders in an easy win. He didn’t really have to do much, but when he did, he got the job done.

The dynamic duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs has been pretty quite, mostly because of a struggling offensive line and a bad Cousins, but the talent is still there. It’s been the running game for the Vikings that has impressed each week and that didn’t change this past Sunday.

Dalvin Cook was phenomenal on the ground and finished with 110 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He also added four catches and 33 receiving yards to his totals. Cook also leads the NFL currently in rushing yards (318 yards).

The backup, Alexander Mattison, also added to the fun with 12 carries of his own for 58 yards and this touchdown.

We haven’t even brought up the Vikings defense, which continues to stump opposing offenses and has done a nice job of preventing many points from being scored on them.

Next game: @ Bears (2-1)

Bears hold off late surge from Washington, 31-15

The Bears’ offense had a much better start against an abysmal Washington defense, though they nearly threw the game away if it weren’t for the real Bears hero of the game, Case Keenum.

Though Mitch was up-and-down, he actually had some nice throws, which could help with his confidence level.

However, it was really the Bears’ defense that set the team up for success early in the game. Case Keenum look terrified early, and coughed the ball up three times in the first half—the first being a pick-six to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Washington’s offense looked better in the second half with the Bears’ defense looking gassed, but Keenum would go on to make a monumental mistake when trying to bring it back to a one-possession game.

The front-seven for the Bears was fearless and brought the heat early and often. It didn’t work out nearly as well for them in the second half, but they got out to such a big lead that their sloppiness late in the game didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

With a win, the Bears capped off a clean sweep for the NFC North in Week 3. All four teams are above .500 and you can make a strong case for it being the best division in the NFL.

Next game: vs. Vikings (2-1)

NFC North Week 4 Standings

1. Green Bay Packers (3-0)
2. Detroit Lions (2-0-1)
t-3. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
t-3. Chicago Bears (2-1)

With the Vikings and Bears colliding next week, that means that the Lions cannot possibly drop to the bottom of the division, but they could move down a spot. They could also move into first with a win and a Packers loss on “Thursday Night Football.”

It’s going to be extremely tough for the Lions to win the division with how stacked it currently is and with everyone playing relatively well, but now is the time to do it. The Lions are scraping by with wins over good teams and have yet to play their best football. We’ll see where that takes them.

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