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NFC North Week 3 recap: Detroit Lions all alone at the bottom

It’s early, but it’s a familiar feeling.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

As we conclude Week 3 of the NFL regular season, let’s take a look around the rest of the NFC North division to see where everyone stands.

Lions blow multiple 10+-point leads, Vikings win, 28-24

I figure we wouldn’t want to hear any more about this painful experience, but since it’s the Vikings and they’re in our division, we’ll make it brief.

The Vikings did not look very good to start this game, and in the first half, there were multiple times where a chorus of boos came raining down from the crowd. They had no answer for the Lions’ offense, but still managed to only give up 14 points in the first half thanks to a missed field goal and a drive that ended on downs. Credit to the Vikings for keeping their composure and tying the game up at the end of the half. If not for a sly play by Charles Harris knocking the ball out of a Vikings player’s hands, they might have carried a lead into halftime.

The second half started similar and the Lions gained a 24-14 advantage, but coaching decisions down the home stretch cost them the game. It was a game where the Vikings won, but didn’t look like the better team throughout. Good teams find a way to close out those games. The Lions are not a good team just yet.

The Vikings were carried by their run game, which has had its fair share of struggles so far this year. That was not the case against the Lions. Dalvin Cook had a huge game (17 carries, 96 yards, one touchdown) on the ground before suffering an injury that kept him out for the rest of the game. Star receiver Justin Jefferson had a pedestrian performance with Jeff Okudah draped over him (along with some help) for most of the game. Jefferson finished with only three receptions and 17 receiving yards on six targets.

Next game: @ Saints (1-2)

Bears hold off Texans at home thanks to running game, win 23-20

The Texans look like a very bad football team, but they’ve somehow kept each of their road games close and tied in their only home game. They had a chance late in this one, but their inability to stop the run cost them dearly.

Starting running back David Montgomery left the game early with a knee injury after just three rushes for 11 yards, and Khalil Herbert took full advantage of the situation.

Herbert’s 52-yard run opened up a drive in which he would also score his second rushing touchdown of the day, putting the Bears ahead of the Texans. As a team, the Bears ran the ball 40 times for 281 total rushing yards (7.0 yards per carry) plus the aforementioned two touchdowns from Herbert.

Justin Fields did not have a great day at the office, though. He threw for only 106 passing yards on 17 attempts (6.2 yards per attempt), zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Luckily for him, his team still won the game, so he’ll have a chance to right his own ship before the fanbase starts to turn on him. It has not been a great start to his career.

The Bears defense also deserves plenty of credit, especially for closing the game out with an interception on the Texans’ final offensive drive. Roquan Smith got the honors for the game-winning interception and also finished with an astounding 16 tackles and two TFLs.

Next game: @ Giants (2-0)

Packers survive low-scoring bout against Bucs on the road, 14-12

If you were looking for a high-scoring game from two quarterbacks known to put a lot of points on the board, then this game would have left you feeling severely disappointed. The Packers defense did a phenomenal job of holding Brady and company in check for nearly the entire game. Here’s how the first half looked for the Bucs offense:

Drive 1: 10 plays, 48 yards (field goal)
Drive 2: 3 plays, 4 yards (punt)
Drive 3: 3 plays, -8 yards (punt)
Drive 4: 6 plays, 54 yards (fumble)
Drive 5: 1 play, -1 yard (end of half)

The second half didn’t go much differently, as the Bucs mustered just six total points in the first three quarters. However, the Packers offense wasn’t exactly racking up the points either. Green Bay’s offense stalled one last time at the end of the game to give the Bucs a chance to tie the game up. Brady finally put together a nice touchdown drive to make it 14-12 pending a two-point conversion attempt to bring it into overtime.

All for naught.

Next game: vs. Patriots (1-2)

Standings after Week 3

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

Sitting in last place all alone are the Detroit Lions, which sounds very evergreen and depressing, but the season is still young and I wouldn’t count this team out just yet. Ahead of them are some very winnable games. If Detroit can find a way to actually close those games out, it could propel them back to the top of the division. The division may be a very close battle all the way up until the end of the season, as none of these teams look like they have the talent to run away with it.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.