After the first ten games of the NFL season, the North Division of the NFC is still up for grabs. Both the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings are tied for first place with identical 6-4 records while the Green Bay Packers sit two games behind at 4-6. The Chicago Bears bring up the rear in the division with a 2-8 record.
Detroit is the surprise team so far and have won five of their last six. Not many picked them to win the division in preseason rankings but here they are. The Lions will face off with the Vikings for sole possession of first place in a Thanksgiving Day matchup.
So let’s take a closer look at the NFC North teams and how each team and their schedules are looking through the rest of the season.
Detroit Lions (6-4)
The Lions have been the league’s comeback kids as they have entered every game this season losing going into the fourth quarter and managed to win six of those games. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been the main reason why as he has pulled off some amazing fourth quarter heroics.
Looking ahead, the Detroit Lions get to play all three divisional opponents on their home field where they are 4-1 on the season. They have road games at New Orleans, New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. If they can take care of business at home and steal a game on the road, the Lions should be in good shape in the NFC North.
Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
After starting the season by reeling off 5 straight wins, the Viking went on to lose the next four. But a bounce back victory at home against Arizona has put them in a tie for first place. Quarterback Sam Bradford has needed to adjust to his new team but also learn the names of all of his offensive lineman. The Minnesota Vikings have lost most of their starters and are playing with mostly backups.
Coach Mike Zimmer still has that strong defense and they will need to keep playing well if the team wants to get to the playoffs. After the big game against Detroit on Thanksgiving, Minnesota takes on Dallas, Indianapolis and Chicago at home and travel to Jacksonville and Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers (4-6)
The Green Bay Packers are really struggling right now having lost four straight games. But surprisingly they are not out of the NFC North race. It won’t be easy however. The team has been hurt by injuries at some key positions including linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive back Sam Shields.
But they still have quarterback Aaron Rodgers who is one of the league’s best clutch players. They also still have games against all three divisional opponents the last three weeks of the season. So if they can get a couple wins over the next three games, they should still have a chance if they can run the table against the Bears, Vikings and Lions.
Chicago Bears (2-8)
It has not been a good year for the Bears. They do have wins against the Lions and Vikings but those are their only two victories. This may be the last year we see Quarterback Jay Cutler in a Chicago Bears uniform. The veteran has talent but has proven that he is not a winner or leader.
They do have a chance to play the spoiler role with games left against all three division rivals.
I believe it comes down to the Lions and Vikings to win the division. The Bears are not a factor and the Packers are just not playing well at all right now.
I like what Detroit is doing but it’s not like they have a history of winning. But if Stafford continues playing like he has been and they can get just little from their defense, the division could be theirs for the taking.
It may come down to the Thanksgiving Day game with the Vikings. Make sure your watching.