What a difference a few weeks made in the NFC North as entering Week 9 we are looking at the Green Bay Packers, still burdened with injuries on all sides of the football, riding a four-game winning streak which has catapulted Green Bay into first place. The Detroit Lions, who had been ranked on-top of the division now find themselves in second and the Chicago Bears, who at one point a few weeks back looked like the team to beat is now without their starting quarterback in Jay Cutler, linebacker in Lance Briggs and find themselves 1-1 in the division. As expected, the Minnesota Vikings are bringing up the rear, sitting with a 1-6 record, a quarterback carousel that won’t stop and misfortune everwhere. What does this week have in store for the division? Check out the NFC North Week 9 Game Previews brought to you by FFLockerRoom.
NFC North Bye Week: Detroit Lions
|NFC North Team||W||L||T||Pct||PF||PA||Net Pts||TD||Home||Road||Div||Pct||Conf||Pct||Non-Conf||Streak||Last 5|
|Green Bay Packers||5||2||0||.714||212||158||54||23||3-0||2-2||2-0||1.000||3-1||.750||2-1||4W||4-1|
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
In their first contest of the 2013 season, the Chicago Bears travel to Wisconsin to take on the Green Bay Packers in a game that could bring the division into a three-way tie, with the Packers having beaten the Lions, the Lions having beaten the Bears and what could be the Bears beating the Packers. In fact, if the Bears don’t get the division to a 5-3 tie across the top-3, the tie-breakers will all but guarantee a nearly impossible task of making the playoffs this year barring a collapse of either Detroit or Green Bay.
Both teams have key injuries heading into Monday nights match up. The Bears will be without Cutler and Briggs and wide receiver Joe Anderson is questionable to play as well. The Packers will be without tight end Jermichael Finley and line backer Clay Matthews, line backer Nick Perry is doubtful and wide receiver James Jones is listed as questionable.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Packers have averaged 30.3 points per game and 438.9 total all-purpose yards, good enough for third and second in the NFL respectively. The Bears on the other hand are averaging slightly more with 30.4 ppg, yet their all-purpose yardage is over 70 yards difference with 367.7. Defensively speaking the Packers have allowed 22.6 ppg and 331.1 all-purpose yards where the Bears have allowed 29.4 ppg and 391.0 all-purpose yards.
When it comes down to it, looking beyond the numbers which already favors the Packers to get the win, both teams are cold-weather machines so the conditions shouldn’t affect who excels Monday night. When it comes down to it, you are looking at a prime time game and only one team has their main gunslinger tossing the pigskin. And that is why I think Green Bay will make Chicago’s visit to Wisconsin one to forget. Look for the Packers to beat up on the Bears and quite possibly win by double-digit points.
The Bears will host the Packers in Week 17 at Soldier Field, bringing the regular season into a culmination.
Minnesota Vikings @ Dallas Cowboys
The bottom feeding Minnesota Vikings travel into Texas to take on the NFC East division leading Dallas Cowboys who sit at 4-4 on the season. Within the last few weeks there have been several story lines brewing for both franchises, with the Vikings playing quarterback roulette and the Cowboys most talented player, wide receiver Dez Bryant going on a rampage after having been held in check for the better part of the past year.
On the injury front the Vikings will be without running back Matt Asiata and teight end Rhett Ellison along with defensive tackle Fred Evans, cornerback Chris Cook and safety Jamarca Sanford. The Cowboys are without guard Brian Walters, cornerback Morris Claiborne, safety J.J. Wilcox, linebacker DeVonte Holloman while wide receiver Miles Austin is doubtful and safety Danny McCray is questionable.
This game has everything written to where the Vikings should suffer a loss today against Jerry Jones‘ franchise, yet with this being the NFL something tells me that this game will be a much more interesting watch than what it should be.
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