The NFC North had itself an action-packed Sunday with some of the craziest football you’ll ever see. If you had just finished watching the Detroit Lions game on FOX, then you may have caught the spectacular ending to the Minnesota Vikings game. The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys also put on a heck of a show, where one fraudulent team showed their ability to choke away a gigantic lead, and the other is not quite ready to phone it in just yet.
Let’s take a closer look at the NFC North division for our Week 10 recap.
Bears blow 14-point fourth quarter lead, Lions win 31-30
All eyes were on Justin Fields who has really started to prove some people wrong this year. He’s now had a few good performances in a row and is truly finding his stride as a runner and, at times, as a passer. He has essentially been the Bears entire offense, and it was obvious that the Lions’ main focus was to limit the damage from Fields in the run game.
That’s a lot easier said than done, though. On the very first play of the game, the Bears offense kept the ball in Fields’ hands, and he ran for 28 yards down the sideline after Julian Okwara bit hard on the fake handoff. The Bears would move down the field easily before stalling and settling for a field goal.
Fields was magical on their 15-play, 75 yard touchdown drive to end the first half as well. On multiple occasions, the Lions looked like they had him dead to rights in the backfield, but then Fields would do his best Houdini act and pick up the first down (or touchdown) anyway.
In the third quarter, Fields threw a couple more haymakers at the Lions, this time through the air. Tight end Cole Kmet was on the receiving end for both touchdown passes. The second touchdown came on the third play of the drive, where the Bears brilliantly moved the entire offensive line toward the right side of the field while Fields rolled out to the weak side. Meanwhile, as the play developed, Kmet slipped through to the opposite side of Fields and was left wide open after a miscommunication between Kerby Joseph and Mike Hughes.
This gave the Bears a 24-10 lead heading into the fourth. But once the Lions defense stayed disciplined and forced Fields into obvious throwing situations, they were able to close that gap and eventually take the lead.
Fields’ pick-six to Jeff Okudah was a panic play that was easy to forgive considering how well he had been playing, but it was extremely costly nonetheless. And when the Lions forced the Bears to throw on four straight downs, it resulted in three incomplete passes and a sack.
Next game: @ Falcons (4-6)
The Vikings look like a team of destiny after another close victory, 33-30 (OT) over the Bills
If you watched the Lions game until the very end, then the FOX broadcast might have sent you directly to the Vikings-Bills game, and if it did, then this was likely the first play you saw.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON CATCH OF THE CENTURY. pic.twitter.com/Cos6v0yPIC— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 13, 2022
The Vikings are a miracle team this year. And this entire drive is an encapsulation of that. Even when the outlook is rough and they don’t seem to have any chance, they still find a way.
The Bills would go on to tie this game and bring it to overtime. With the Vikings winning the toss, they got the ball first, but only added a field goal and gave the Bills a chance to tie or win it. Josh Allen led his team into Vikings territory, but threw the game-ending interception to Patrick Peterson in the endzone.
Next game: vs. Cowboys (6-3)
The Packers pull off miraculous comeback over the Cowboys, 31-28 (OT)
For a moment there, it looked like the Lions were going to take sole possession of second place in the division. But the Packers want everyone to know that they’re not quite dead yet.
According to ESPN Analytics, the Cowboys had a 96 percent win probability up 28-14 with 13 minutes remaining in the game and the Packers facing a fourth-and-7 at the Dallas 39-yard line. On the very next play, Aaron Rodgers would find Christian Watson for his second of three receiving touchdowns on the day.
The Cowboys did their best disappearing act in the fourth quarter and allowed the Packers to tie the game and head into overtime. The Cowboys won the toss and made it all the way to the Packers 35-yard line, but instead of kicking the field goal, they decided to go for it on fourth-and-three and failed to convert. The Packers took over and scored three minutes later after making their way into the red zone.
The Packers finally snap their losing streak at five games. Had they lost this one, it could have easily spiraled from there, as they are set to play the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles in their next two games.
The key for the Packers here is to build off of an impressive performance from their run game. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 203 yards on 37 carries for the day. If they can stay hot running the ball, the Packers are an entirely different team.
Next game: vs. Titans (6-3) — on Thursday
Standings after Week 10
1. Minnesota Vikings (8-1)
2. Green Bay Packers (4-6)
3. Detroit Lions (3-6)
4. Chicago Bears (3-7)
The Vikings are 4.5 games up on the rest of the division now and will likely be the first team in the NFL to clinch their division title, whenever that ends up being. The rest of the division is a race for second place, and it’s anyone’s game.