NFC North: Sad State Of Affairs October 7th, 2022 Edition

October 7, 2022
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The NFC North has been a top-heavy division for most of recent memory. Early on this season however, all four teams are at least feigning competitiveness. Let’s take a look at how these teams stack up through four weeks.

Very Close Race For Lead of Division

The NFC North’s Vikings and Packers would be in a tie for 1st place if the Packers single loss had not come at the hands of the Vikings during the first game of the 2022 season. They lead the division with 3-1 records, the Bears are 2-2, and the Lions are 1-3 despite scoring the most points of any team in the division.

The point differential between these teams and the teams they played against is close as well. The Vikings and Packers have the same score differential. The Vikings have 86 points scored for them and only 80 points scored against them, while the Packers have 75 points for them and 69 points against them.

The Bears have a -13 point differential with 64 points for them and 77 points against them, the Lions round up the division with a -1 point differential with 140 points scored for them and 141 points scored against them.

In other words, no one is pulling away from the pack at this early point of the season. All four of the teams have had fairly significant/embarrassing losses this season already. Along with some fairly impressive victories.

We will take a short look at all of the teams’ first four games with a recap of some of the more important details.

Table Of Contents

Vikings Early Season Recap
Divisional Victory
Return to Earth
No Production From Justin Jefferson, No Problem For the Vikings
Vikings’ Victory Across The Pond In London

Packers Early Season Recap
Divisional Loss
Justin Jefferson Shows Up
Back On Track
Ground Game Leads The Way
Brady/Rodgers Showdown Means High Scoring Shootout Or Not?
Packers Get The Victory Over 3rd String QB


Bears Early Season Recap
Victory In Significantly Less Than Ideal Situations
Pure Domination By The Packers
Bears Lean On Their Ground Game Against Houston
A Game Winning QB, Saquon Barkley?


Lions Early Season Recap
Eagles Are Too Powerful For The Lions
Strong Start, Good Enough Finish For a Lions Victory
Steady But Not Enough Against The Vikings
93 Points In A 3 Point Defeat

Vikings Early Season Recap

Divisional Victory

The Vikings looked truly dominant in the first game of the regular season that came against the Packers. They won 23-7 and the offensive looked about as close to unstoppable as it could. 

Return to Earth

The Vikings’ offense came back to earth the next week when they played the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. They looked inept and struggled to sustain any sort of rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. The defense did not look any better either, they gave up almost 500 yards of offense to the Eagles and made Jalen Hurts look like a genius for most of the game. 

Kirk Cousins looked out of sorts and finished with 1 TD and 3 INTS on the night. He seemingly had a stronger connection with Darius Slay of the Eagles than any of his teammates. Cousins was also the leading rusher for the Vikings with a total of 20 yards on the night.

No Production From Justin Jefferson, No Problem For the Vikings

The Viking’s second win of the season came against the Detroit Lions. Even though Justin Jefferson finished the night with 14 yards receiving, the Viking’s offense looked much more productive. Dalvin Cook was able to get 96 yards and 1 TD on the ground while K.J. Osborn had 5 catches for 73 yards and 1 TD and Adam Thielen had 6 catches for 61 yards and 1 TD. 

Vikings’ Victory Across The Pond In London

The Vikings were able to secure a victory over the Saints in London but it was not one for the faint of heart. Even though the Saints were missing nearly all of their offensive weapons which included Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas. Andy Dalton led the offense for the Saints which made the 236 yards passing and 111 yards rushing truly remarkable. He made the defense look bad all day long and they struggled to close out the game until the final drive of the game when they forced the Saints into a 61-yard field goal attempt. The kick bounced off of the left upright, off the crossbar, and out for a miss. 

The Vikings had the potential to make a statement win by defeating these shorthanded Saints handly but instead, they let them hang around the whole game, always within striking distance. A win is a win but this was not one to be particularly proud of.

The best thing to come out of this game was Justin Jefferson busting out of his slump to the tune of 10 receptions for 147 yards. The worst loss of this game came early on when Lewis Cine was blocking for a punt return and he planted his foot awkwardly and ended up breaking his leg in a pretty gruesome injury. We wish him all the best and hope that he can recover quickly and get back onto the field for the Vikings soon.

Packers Early Season Recap

Divisional Loss

The Packers’ one embarrassing loss came at the hands of the Vikings during the season’s very first game. The Packers did not play their starters much at all during the preseason and it showed in that game.

Justin Jefferson Shows Up

The Vikings won the game by a final score of 23-7 but it did not even feel that close for the majority of it.  Justin Jefferson had career highs with nine catches for 184 yards and two TDs.

Back On Track

Fortunately for the Packers, they were able to get some things figured out and have been able to get back on track and have won their past two games by scores of 27-10 and 14-12, over the Bears and Buccaneers respectively. 

Ground Game Leads The Way

In the game against the Bears, the Packers leaned heavily on their run game and were rewarded with 132 yards from Aaron Jones and another 61 yards from A.J. Dillon. The score was 10-7 just a few seconds into the second quarter but the Packers pulled away by scoring 17 points and the Bears countered with only 3 points of their own. 

Brady/Rodgers Showdown Means High Scoring Shootout Or Not?

In what most would have expected to be a high-scoring affair, the Packers edged the Buccaneers by a final score of 14-12. 

Both teams averaged right around 3 yards per carrying with their leading rushers. There were over 500 yards of passing between both teams but neither team was able to maintain their offensive drives throughout the game. Green Bay scored all 14 of their points by halfway through the second quarter and went the remainder of the game without any points. The Buccaneers only managed to get a total of 2 field goals and a TD. 

Packers Get The Victory Over 3rd String QB

The Packers were able to come out on top against the Patriots but I do not think that anybody could say it was a convincing win. The Patriots started the game with Brian Hoyer since Mac Jones was already out with a left ankle injury. Hoyer was able to lead the Patriots down the field for a field goal by Nick Folk but he got sacked on the next series and did not return to the field. With Mac Jones (ankle) and Brian Hoyer (head) both out with injuries, New England turned to Bailey Zappe. 

Zappe’s introduction to the league went well enough to force the Packers into overtime but the Packers won it in the end on a chip shot field goal by the ever-reliable Mason Crosby. Perhaps some cause for concern.

Bears Early Season Recap

Victory In Significantly Less Than Ideal Situations

The Bears were able to overcome wet conditions to come out on top of the 49ers 19-10 for their first game of the season. 

Justin Fields was able to throw for 2 TDs on the day but both teams looked sloppy all day long. 

Pure Domination By The Packers

The second game of the season did not go well for the Bears as they were defeated by the Packers with a final score of 10-27. The Packers were able to gain 193 yards on the ground with their RB duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. 

Justin Fields was able to score a TD with his legs but was unable to do much of anything positive through the air. He finished the game with 70 yards passing, and an INT. 

Bears Lean On Their Ground Game Against Houston

Justin Fields put up uninspiring totals of 106 yards passing, 0 TDS, and 2 INTs but the Bears still managed to get a win over the Houston Texans. 

This was largely due to the emergence of Khalil Herbert on the ground. He finished the game with 20 carries for 157 yards and 2 TDs. LB Roquan Smith was able to seal the game with an INT that set the Bears up for the game-winning field goal. 

A Game Winning QB, Saquon Barkley?

In a game that had both Daniel Jones (ankle) and Tyrod Taylor (concussion) leave the game early, Saquon Barkley led the Giants to a victory over the Bears. The Giants ran all over the Bears as Barkley led the way with 31 carries for 146 yards. Daniel Jones was able to run for two TDs before he left the game with an ankle injury. 

The Bears’ offense looked pitiful all day long as they were never able to get a TD. Newly signed kicker Michael Badgley was able to connect on all fpur of his field goal attempts but that was not nearly enough. Justin Fields was only able to complete 50% of his passes and got sacked a whopping six times. The Giants finished off the victory running a wildcat-style offense led by Saquon Barkley.

Lions Early Season Recap

Eagles Are Too Powerful For The Lions

In a game that only ended up as a 3-point defeat, the Lions never had much of a chance in this game against the Eagles.

The game was tied 7-7 until almost halfway through the 2nd quarter when the Eagles scored on a 1-yard scramble by Jalen Hurts to make it 14-7. Miles Sanders was able to rush for a TD and James Bradberry turned an INT into a pick-six to make it 21-7 Eagles. 

The Lions responded with a touchdown of their own by D’Andre Swift. The Eagles wrapped up the first half with a field goal to make it 24-14. 

The teams traded TD for TD at the beginning of the 3rd quarter and the score was 38-28 by just under a minute into the 4th quarter. The lions scored a TD towards the end of the game but came up short 35-38. 

Strong Start, Good Enough Finish For a Lions Victory

The Lions were able to accumulate a 22-0 lead by the end of the first half. The Commanders continued to claw their way back into this game until the score was 21-29 and the Lions pulled away. 

The final score was 36-27 and this game accounts for the Lions’ one victory of the season so far. 

Steady But Not Enough Against The Vikings

In their most recent regular season game, the lions came up just short of victory against the Vikings.

It was a back-and-forth game throughout that was eventually won with a couple of big catches by KJ Osborn on the Viking’s final offensive drive. 

The victory was sealed when Josh Metellus was able to pick off Jared Goff near the end zone and get the ball back to the Vikings offense. Kirk Cousins was able to kneel the ball and run out the clock to end the game. 

93 Points In A 3 Point Defeat

The Seahawks and Lions combined for a total of 93 points as the Seahawks managed to win 48-45. If anybody wanted to watch solid defensive schemes or units, this was not the game for those. Both offenses managed to gain over 500 yards of total offense. 

Geno Smith looked exceptional as he led the Seahawks to a game where there was no need to punt all day long. He was able to gain 320 yards through the air and 2 TDs with another 49 yards and a TD on the ground. Rashaad Penny ran the ball down the Lions’ throats with 17 carries for 151 yards and 2 TDs. 

Jared Goff was able to rack up 378 yards and 4 TDs through the air for his Lions’ team and Jamaal Williams added 108 yards and 2 TDs on the ground but it was not enough. 

Rashaad Penny had three carries on the final drive of the game that sealed the victory for the Seahawks as Geno Smith ended the game by kneeling the ball twice to run out the clock. This was truly a barn burner where no defense was anywhere to be found.

Current State Of Affairs: NFC North

This is the current state of affairs in the NFC North as we look forward to what the rest of this 2022 NFL season will hold. No team is out of it yet, but we can start to draw some conclusions from the first quarter of the season.

Here is a link to a recap from this past Sunday’s Vikings Victory in London. Please come back to thedailyskol.com for your Vikings’ news and updates!