Monday, September 17, 2012

Watching The NFC North: Vikings and Lions Played On Sunday

I'm guessing that the Packer players and coaches were doing the same thing as many of us on Sunday: watching the other games around the NFL.

The game I probably should have watched closely was the Cowboys at Seahawks, since the Packers will be traveling to Seattle next week Monday. From what I saw, it looked like the Cowboys never had their heads in the game. RB Felix Jones fumbled the opening kickoff, and then the Cowboys had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. They were down 10-0 five minutes into it and their offense never seemed to get on track. The Seahawks usually play better at home, and the last time the Packers played at Seattle, the Seahawks had the misfortune of starting QB Charlie Frye, which they won't have to do ever again. The Packers are going to have to play four quality quarters of football to avoid losing their first road game.

The Vikings were on the road at Indianapolis, and they tied the game late with a last minute touchdown, but QB Andrew Luck moved the Colts into position for the game winning field goal before the clock ran out. After two games, the Vikings are 1-1 and QB Christian Ponder has a QB rating over 100 for the season. But they've also done it against the dregs of the AFC South (Colts and Jaguars) and their defense looks porous. They host the 49ers next week, followed by a trip to Detroit, so we'll probably know a lot more about their team after those games.

I doubt the Lions are panicking, but it's been a pretty blah showing over their first two weeks. They barely survived their home opener against the Rams; thanks to a last second, game winning touchdown. Then they trailed the entire game against the 49ers on Sunday night. It was a bit like the Packers' loss to the 49ers; they were behind all game, the 49ers made few mistakes, and only a late rally made the score look respectable.

The only major concern for the Lions should be QB Matthew Stafford, who's had QB ratings of 69.4 and 78.9 in his first two games, after finishing the 2011 season with six straight games of ratings over 97. A similar concern could be raised about the Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers, but his QB rating over the first two games is actually better than it was during their playoff loss to the Giants. There doesn't appear to be anything obviously wrong, so maybe it's just a matter of getting into a rhythm.

In the NFC North, after two weeks, all four teams are tied with a record of 1-1 and no clear leader has emerged in the division. There's still a long way to go.

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