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Ups and downs in the NFC North
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Ups and downs in the NFC North

by Steve SteinOctober 27, 2022

What’s the best storyline in the NFC North this week? Is it the fall of the Green Bay Packers, the rise of the Chicago Bears, or will the Detroit Lions continue to stumble and bumble their way through another season? Hopefully, Sunday’s games will provide more answers than questions. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings will have another chance Sunday to make it known that they’re the team to beat in the NFC North this season.

The NFC North Packers, with an angry Aaron Rodgers and an inexperienced and injured receiving corps to deal with, are in the midst of an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak. It’s the first time they’ve lost three in a row since 1999, a 370-game stretch. Brett Favre was Green Bay’s quarterback back then. Rodgers, a four-time NFL MVP, has been beaten the last three weeks by quarterbacking “luminaries” Daniel Jones (New York Giants), Zach Wilson (New York Jets) and Taylor Heinicke (Washington Commanders).

There’s no doubt Rodgers misses Davante Adams, who has caught 54 passes this season for the Las Vegas Raiders. Robert Tonyan (a tight end!) leads the Packers with 30 catches. Allen Lazard has 26 catches, but he hurt his shoulder against the Commanders and his left arm was in a sling earlier this week. Rookie Romeo Doubs, thought to be Green Bay’s latest receiving gem, was targeted just four times last week vs. the Commanders and didn’t catch any passes. Rodgers hasn’t had a 300-yard passing game this season. He had just 194 yards through the air against the Commanders, a big reason why the Packers were 0-for-6 on third-down conversions. With all that said, Rodgers’ road to redemption won’t get easier Sunday. His opponent under center will be none other than Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, arguably the NFL’s best QB.

Fields on the run

The NFC North Bears shocked the NFL world Monday with their dominating 33-14 win at New England. Taking full advantage of their bye week, the Bears revamped their offense and scored more than 30 points for the first time since Week 16 in the 2020 season. Quarterback Justin Fields, with more designed runs in his arsenal, led Chicago’s rushing attack against the Patriots with 82 yards. Next Gen Stats had Fields with 12 designed runs for 63 yards. The Bears piled up 243 yards on the ground against New England and converted 11-of-18 third-down plays for 61.1%, a far cry from their 35.6% success rate coming into the game. Chicago will be at Dallas on Sunday to face the Cowboys, who won’t be caught off-guard with Fields’ designated runs.

The NFC North Lions will be home Sunday against the Miami Dolphins after losing back-to-back road games against New England and Dallas, giving Dan Campbell an 0-11-1 record away from Ford Field in his two seasons as Detroit’s coach. He’s 4-18-1 overall. Lions quarterback Jared Goff lost two fumbles and was intercepted twice by the Cowboys last week, and he’ll be facing a sturdy Dolphins defense.

As for the Vikings, they’ll play host to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday after a bye week. They’ll probably be the only NFC North team to win Sunday.
This week’s picks, last week’s results

THIS WEEK’S NFC NORTH GAMES AND PICKS

— Miami (4-3) at Detroit (1-5), 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, CBS (Take Miami -3.5)
— Arizona (3-4) at Minnesota (5-1), 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, FOX (Take Minnesota -3.5)
— Chicago (3-4) at Dallas (5-2), 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, FOX (Take Dallas -9.5)
— Green Bay (3-4) at Buffalo (5-1), 8:20 p.m. EDT Sunday, NBC (Take Buffalo -11)

HOW I DID LAST WEEK (1-2)

— Washington 23, Green Bay 21 (I took Green Bay -4.5) LOST
— Dallas 24, Detroit 6 (I took Dallas -7) WON
— Chicago 33, New England 14 (I took New England -7.5) LOST
— Minnesota had a bye.

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About The Author
Steve Stein