The NFC North had a very predictable Week 7. With the Minnesota Vikings on bye this week, it was a chance for the other three teams to make a statement. I think it’s fair to say all three teams did so, but in very different ways. Here’s a recap of Week 7 for the NFC North.
Packers win their sixth straight, defeat the Football Team, 24-10
These recaps are beginning to become repetitive, and that’s because the Packers just seem to take care of business with ease, while the other teams in the division struggle for wins. Despite outgaining the Packers in total yards (430-304) and winning the time of possession battle (32:54-27:06), there never felt like there was any real threat that Washington would actually win this game.
A big reason why the Packers are dominating this division is because Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers. He’s not on track to come close to matching his 48 touchdowns last year, but he’s taking care of the ball and making the big plays we’re accustomed to seeing him make in big situations. Against Washington, Rodgers accounted for all three of Green Bay’s touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over once. Another efficient performance for him.
While the passing game was firing on all cylinders, the run game failed to do much against Washington, as Aaron Jones failed to eclipse 20 rushing yards for only the third time in the past couple of years.
If not for the turnovers, Washington has a very good chance at winning this game. But the mistakes were pouring in. Take a look at this string of drives they put together:
Drive #2: Missed FG (9 plays, 39 yards)
Drive #3: Turnover on downs (5 plays, 45 yards)
Drive #4: End of half (1 play, -1 yard)
Drive #5: Fumble (2 plays, 4 yards)
Drive #6: Turnover on downs (7 plays, 56 yards)
Drive #7: Interception (13 plays, 65 yards)
Next game: @ Cardinals (7-0)
Oh yes, this one should be fun.
Bears get obliterated by the Bucs in Tampa, 38-3
If this was a litmus test for the Bears’ legitimacy as a football team, then they failed miserably. In recent weeks, the Bears looked decent enough to hang with some decent teams, but this was their toughest game yet, and they showed that they are nowhere ready to compete for the division and may not be ready for even a Wild Card race.
Justin Fields looked very much like the rookie he is and did not feel very comfortable in the pocket. He ended up turning the ball over five times (three interceptions and two fumbles), dropping his QBR down to 16.7 on the season (32nd in the NFL). Fields has showed signs that he can be a good NFL QB, but this was a day to forget for him, along with the rest of the team.
Actually, scratch that. There was still one bright spot for the Bears and that was Khalil Herbert, who continues to look great in place of David Montgomery. He came close in previous games, but this time against the Bucs, Herbert was able to hit the 100-yard rushing mark in a game, this time on just 18 carries.
While the offense looked abysmal, the defense looked just as bad for the Bears. The running game gashed the Bears’ front-seven (31 rushes, 182 yards, 5.9 YPC) and Brady was able to work with what the Bears were giving him. He dumped the ball off for just 5.9 yards per attempt, but was able to finish with an easy four touchdown performance, zero interception performance.
Next game: vs. 49ers (2-4)
NFC North Standings after Week 7
1. Green Bay Packers (6-1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (3-3)
3. Chicago Bears (3-4)
4. Detroit Lions (0-7)
We’re not even halfway into the season, but I’m calling it. The Packers will win this division and it won’t even be close. Bold, I know.
The Bears, despite having three more wins than the Lions, have the third worst point differential in the conference (-61)—ahead of only Washington (-64) and the Lions (-72). Next week, the Lions take on the Eagles, hoping to get their first win. Please, just win one for Dan Campbell.
Minnesota had the week off and will play the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football next week.