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NFC North recap: Vikings extend their lead as the rest of the division loses

Scary sight in the NFC North.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Through eight weeks of the NFL season, the Detroit Lions are starting to distance themselves from the rest of the pack in their division—in a not-so-great way. So let’s take our focus away from the Lions and dip into the rest of the NFC North for our Week 8 recap.

Vikings defeat the Cardinals and extend winning streak to five games, 34-26

As everyone could have predicted, the opening points were a result of a 17-yard rushing touchdown from... checks notes... Kirk Cousins.

Running backs Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook would also cash in a rushing touchdown each, as the running game in general was pretty much unstoppable for Minnesota.

The Vikings offense was a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone. Combine that with their defense creating three turnovers and it was just too much for the Cardinals to overcome, though they did somehow keep it close.

Even while the Vikings were winning games early, many labeled this team as a fluke. They were merely scraping by against relatively weak opponents, and they were keeping games close when they shouldn’t have. At some point, you have to recognize that good teams win football games. It’s as simple as that. The Vikings are continuing to find ways to close out games and that’s something that a certain local team could really learn from.

Next game: @ Commanders (4-4)

Bears lose big in high scoring affair to the Cowboys, 49-29

After quite the impressive victory over the Patriots last week, the Bears were brought back down to Earth in a game that got out of hand quite quickly, until it didn’t, and then it did again.

The Cowboys offense went on a tear in the first half scoring a touchdown on each of their first four drives. On the first play of their fifth drive, Dak Prescott threw a deep interception caught by Eddie Jackson, which allowed the Bears to add another three points and keep it at a respectable 28-17 lead for the Cowboys.

In the second half, the Bears were able to force the Cowboys to punt for the first time and responded with a touchdown to bring it to within one score. Then, the Cowboys broke things wide open again after responding with their own touchdown, followed by the Bears coughing the ball up for a Micah Parsons fumble return touchdown.

The Bears relied heavily on the run game once again and for the second straight week it was working pretty well. They had four different players with 30 or more rushing yards, and the team as a whole rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns on 43 attempts.

Next game: vs. Dolphins (5-3)

Packers drop fourth straight, lose to the Bills on ‘Sunday Night Football,’ 27-17

The wheels are starting to fall off for the Packers, who will get a chance to end their losing streak against the Lions next week. They open up as 3.5-point favorites on the road.

On Sunday night, it was an ugly game for the Packers offense. They could only muster up 10 points in the first three quarters, and the only time that things were really clicking for Aaron Rodgers and pals was during the end of the game, when Green Bay had little chance of winning.

Rodgers had just 73 passing yards heading into the fourth quarter before he ended up finishing the game with 203 passing yards on 30 attempts.

Aaron Jones had a fantastic game on the ground, tallying 143 rushing yards on 20 carries. A.J. Dillon also chipped in with 10 carries for 54 yards.

The Bills were simply too good of a team for the Packers, and at no point in this game did it feel like Green Bay stood a chance.

Next game: @ Lions (1-6)

Standings after Week 8

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

The Vikings are now 3.5 games up on the rest of the division and remain comfortably in first place. The fight for second place is just about the least exciting its ever been, and then there’s the Lions. If not for the NFC and AFC South, this division would easily be the worst in the league. I think you can still make the case.