We take a look around the NFC North to see what the Vikings closest competition has going on…
Last Week: 24-21 win over the Bengals
The Marc Trestman era got off to a great start in Chicago thanks to a come-from-behind win over the Bengals, a team many think could be one of the AFC’s best.
Chicago took an early lead thanks to a Charles Tillman interception that ended a Bengals drive prematurely. That gave Chicago’s offense the ball with great field position, and Jay Cutler connected with tight end Martellus Bennett to put the Bears in front.
A pair of A.J. Green touchdowns flipped the script, however, and Cincinnati grabbed the lead for much of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, though, the game’s other star wide receiver – Brandon Marshall – hauled in a 19-yard Jay Cutler pass for a touchdown to put the Bears back in front. The Bengals went three-and-out on their next drive and Chicago was able to run the clock out to end the game.
Cutler had one interception on the day but overall played a very solid game against arguably a Top Five defense in the League. As expected, Marshall was far and away his top target, hauling in eight catches for 104 yards and the score. On the ground, Matt Forte was largely held in check, carrying it 19 times for 50 yards, though he also found the end zone.
On defense, Green torched the Bears for 162 yards and the two scores but he’s likely going to do that to most teams this year. The Bengals ran for just 63 yards, averaging three yards per carry, and Chicago, as they always do, forced turnovers – three of them – to put their offense on short fields.
This Week: Bears vs. Vikings, Noon
Chicago against finds itself at home this week, this time against the 0-1 Vikings. As fans of the Purple know, the Bears typically have their way with the Vikings at Soldier Field, having won five in a row against the Vikings in the Windy City, with many of those games being blowouts. The Vikings should be the more motivated team though coming on the heels of last weekend’s sloppy loss at Detroit.
Last Week: 34-24 win over the Vikings
In one of the more eventful Opening Day games you’ll see, the Lions tripped over themselves a handful of times but were still able to emerge with a double-digit victory over the Vikings, winning 34-24 at Ford Field last Sunday.
The main story from this game for the Lions was Reggie Bush, who came over via free agency from Miami in the offseason and looked like the USC version of Bush, rushing for 90 yards and also totaling 101 yards through the air, including an electrifying 77-yard touchdown catch from Matthew Stafford late in the 3rd quarter that put the Lions up by 10 points.
Calvin Johnson had just four catches for 37 yards, but those around him were able to do sufficient damage with the Vikings locking down on Megatron. Stafford finished the day with 28 completions for 357 yards and a pair of scores. Bush and backup Joique Bell combined for nine catches out of the backfield for 168 yards. Bell also had a pair of short touchdown runs to cap drives.
Defensively, it looked like it would be another long day for the Lions against
The Lions won the turnover battle as well, forcing
This Week: Lions at Cardinals, 3:05 PM
The Lions now enter a pretty tough stretch of their schedule in having to play four of their next five games away from home, starting this Sunday in Glendale against the Cardinals, who led most of the way against the Rams in St. Louis last Sunday before losing in the final minutes. The Cardinals beat the Lions 38-10 last December.
Last Week: 34-28 loss to the 49ers
The 2013 season started the same way the 2012 season ended for the Packers: a loss in San Francisco with budding superstar Colin Kaepernick doing a number on the Green Bay defense.
Overshadowed by Kaepernick’s day was another strong showing by Aaron Rodgers, who was his usually stellar self. He completed 21 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception, and 22 of his 36 targets went to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, who each had over 100 yards receiving, seven catches, and once touchdown.
The much talked about Packers running game, which figured to be addressed via the drafting of Alabama’s Eddy Lacy early in the draft, was again stagnant, though running against the 49ers is never easy. Lacy averaged 2.9 yards per carry on 14 touches.
On defense, unlike last year’s playoff loss, the Packers did a great job defending Kaepernick on the ground. He carried it seven times for just 22 yards, compared to the playoff game last year where he racked up 181 yards on the ground. Outside of Kendall Hunter’s 23-yard run the Packers gave up just 67 yards on 33 carries, so the defense held strong from that perspective.
However, as previously mentioned, Kaepernick went nuts through the air: 27 of 39 for 412 yards and three touchdowns. Clay Matthews had a solid day: eight tackles, one sack and three tackles for losses, though his personal foul for a late hit on Kaepernick in the first half gave the 49ers a touchdown instead of a field goal.
This Week: Packers vs. Redskins, Noon
This week pits a pair of playoff teams from last season that are both looking at potentially starting 0-2 as the Packers welcome RGIII and the Redskins to Lambeau Field. The Redskins looked sloppy for most of their game on Monday night vs. the Eagles and have to travel on a short week to a very tough place to play, so Green Bay should be in a good spot to even up their record at 1-1.