Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekend Preview: NFC North Roundup

It's the Packers' bye week but the other three NFC North teams are playing on Sunday. It's still early so the Packers shouldn't yet be rooting for one team over another. Watching these NFC North games are useful for scouting purposes only.

Bears at Lions. The Lions are favored by three because they're playing at home, but otherwise the line is considered a draw. Both teams lost a key player this week (Henry Melton for the Bears, Nate "Pizza Guy" Burleson for the Lions) so that's a push. The Bears have a better record and have been playing better than the Lions. The Lions won their 2011 home meeting during the Lions' early 2011 hot streak, while the Bears had a two point win in Week 17 in Detroit last season. It should be a good, close game, and definitely the premier NFC North matchup this weekend compared to the other one.

Steelers "at" Vikings. It's a Vikings "home" game being played in London, England. Both teams are 0-3 and both teams stink, but both of them stink equally, entering Sunday ranked No. 23 and No. 24 overall according to Football Outsiders. Last year's game in London was a real stinker, so I'm not expecting to see the cleanest game ever played, and for added stink the Vikings will be forced to start QB Matt Cassel so they can see for themselves why every Chiefs fan wanted him gone. At the end of it, one of these teams will be 1-3 and can stake the claim that they've turned their season around, though in the Vikings' case their problems looked real at the beginning of the season. There's not much to see here for Packer fans except to watch how low the Vikings sink on Sunday.

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