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NFC North Week 8 recap: Vikings win the week, Packers still in first

The North is getting weird.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings shock the Packers in Lambeau, final score 28-22

Packers

Normally seeing the Packers lose would bring me a lot of joy, but coupling this with a Lions loss makes this that much more painful considering Detroit would be just one game back from first in the division had the Lions won.

The Packers actually did a nice job offensively for the most part, especially in the first half. Both of their first two offensive drives ended in a touchdown pass to Davante Adams.

Had the Packers defense shown more resistance to the Vikings’ efficient offensive attack, this game probably would have had a completely different outcome. We’ve seen the Vikings struggle offensively when they have to play from behind for most of the game, but when they manage to get out to a lead and control the clock, they’re extremely tough to beat.

Aaron Rodgers performed well statistically (291 passing yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) despite the outcome and even gave the Packers a slim chance in the final minute of the game. They got the ball to the Minnesota 41-yard line with 13 seconds left before the Vikings closed things out with a sack fumble from rookie defensive end D.J. Wonnum.

Next game: @ 49ers (4-4) TNF

Vikings

If you were to tell me this game would start with the offenses trading blows, I probably would have guessed the final outcome would be similar to their first meeting where the Packers won 40-32. However, it was the Vikings that didn’t let up on the gas in this contest, scoring a touchdown on each of their first four drives—all of them to Dalvin Cook (3 rushing, 1 passing).

Cook’s monstrous game on the ground opened up the passing game for Kirk Cousins. He only threw the ball 14 times, but completed 11 of his passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.

The difference in this game was clock control from the Vikings. Their long, meticulous drives gave them the possession advantage despite being outgained in total yards. After getting out to a 28-14 lead halfway through the third quarter, the Vikings defense did a nice job of limiting the damage from the Packers offense.

The final play was a big one for the defense to close things out and the soundbite makes it even better.

Next game: vs. Lions (3-4)

Bears lose in overtime to the Saints, 26-23

After losing a stinker to the Rams, the Bears kept things close with the Saints but lost their second straight to fall to 5-3 on the season. The game started off well for the Bears, taking the early lead and making it 13-3 with under two minutes to go in the first half. The Saints responded quickly as they marched down the field for a quick touchdown to make it 13-10 at the half.

The Saints took control of the game from that point on and it was the Bears playing from behind. Led by quarterback Nick Foles, the Bears offense constructed a late rally to push the game into overtime.

The Bears had a chance after the defense did a nice job of thwarting the Saints offense in overtime, but on their only possession they gave up a key sack on third down from their own side of the field. The Saints would go on to kick a field goal to win the game on their next possession despite some questionable game management from Sean Payton.

Offense continues to be a sore spot for the Bears, and they’re running out of time to fix things. The run game is well below average while the passing game isn’t going to get much better as long as Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky are the best two options available. The Bears will have to rely on their defense to carry them as far as they can go, but that can only get you so far.

Next game: @ Titans (5-2)

NFC North Standings after Week 8

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

Only the Vikings logged a win this week, gaining some ground on the rest of the division. The Packers remain in first place, however, and have a relatively easy remaining schedule. A win for the Lions would have meant being just a half-game out of second place and one game back from a share of the division lead. Instead, they look to get back to .500 as they head to Minnesota next week.