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NFC North recap: Vikings alone in first as Packers blow it on international TV

Checking in on the rest of the division as Week 5 concludes.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Detroit Lions. This team is hurting and they’re coming off of one of their most embarrassing losses in a long time. Maybe we could all use a little break. It’s time to turn our focus elsewhere and see how the rest of the division is doing, instead.

Packers throw away lead in London, Giants win, 27-22

Sunday morning started off on a positive note. Everyone got to settle in with their pajamas and a hot cup of coffee to witness the Packers losing on international television. If only the day could have ended there.

Late in the first half of this contest, the Packers got out to a 17-3 lead after Aaron Rodgers connected for his second touchdown of the game with Marcedes Lewis. According to ESPN’s Win Probability metric, the Packers had a 94.9 percent win probability following that play. And then Daniel Jones happened.

Down several receivers and sporting an ankle injury, Jones was lights out against the Packers down the stretch. When the team needed him the most, he showed up big time, whether it was with his arm or with his legs. He also suffered a gash on his throwing hand, which the broadcast pointed out and showed him bleeding all over his center’s backside at the line of scrimmage. Riveting stuff.

This game also highlighted the return of Saquan Barkley, who looks as explosive and elusive as ever.

Barkley gave the Giants a 27-20 lead following a 2-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing Packers drive, Rodgers and friends had a chance to tie things up, marching down the field on a 14-play drive and getting all the way to the Giants’ 6-yard line, but a couple of batted-down passes at the line of scrimmage spoiled their hopes.

Next game: vs. Jets (3-2)

Vikings spoil Bears’ attempt at an upset, win 29-22 at home


Following the Packers’ loss on Sunday morning, the Vikings had a chance to win this game and take sole leadership of the NFC North. They were an 8.5 point favorite at home, but the Bears pulled out all the stops to try and escape with a big upset win on the road.

The Vikings offense got out to a perfect start, scoring a touchdown on each of their first three drives and held a 21-10 lead heading into halftime. Following that third drive, they struggled to put points on the board thanks to two missed field goals and an interception early in the fourth quarter. This allowed the Bears to make a run and take a 22-21 lead following the interception.

The Vikings bounced back with their own scoring drive, which took up 7 minutes of clock and lasted 17 plays, and allowed them to re-take the lead. The Bears had one last chance to tie things up, but a heroic effort from Cameron Dantzler to force and recover a fumble secured the win for the Vikings.

Next game: @ Dolphins (3-2)


The Bears got their star running back David Montgomery back from injury for this bout and while he had a modest day on the ground (12 carries, 20 yards), he was pretty effective in the passing game (4 receptions for 62 yards) and did manage to score a rushing touchdown late in the first half.

Justin Fields, who has been pretty bad so far this year, actually had himself a nice game, completing 15 of his 21 passing attempts and throwing for a season-high 208 passing yards, plus a touchdown. He also chipped in for 47 rushing yards, which led the team. The Bears may have lost this game, but they have to be pretty enthused about Fields’ performance.

The Bears are winless on the road so far and undefeated at home. They will head back home for a short week and face off against the Washington Commanders on “Thursday Night Football”.

Next game: vs. Commanders (1-4)

Standings after Week 5

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

The North might be the worst division in the NFC right now. It’s early, but it’s looking like it will probably be between the Vikings and Packers to win the division, while the Bears and Lions are still quite clearly not ready to compete yet. Maybe next year.

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