After Sunday’s debacle it almost seems silly to be talking about the overall division picture. The Vikings couldn’t even muster a competent effort against a 1-3 team at home coming off a bye week and we’re talking division picture? Hello? Jim Mora voice? Division picture?
At 1-4 the Vikings are more in contention for a top 5 draft pick than they are the playoffs. Not so the other three teams in the NFC North. The Lions, Bears and Packers all have realistic playoff aspirations right now and, as it so happens, all three improved their standing this week with victories.
The Bears got it kicked off Thursday night by defeating the hapless Giants 27-21. The defense picked on Eli Manning, who has thrown about 200 interceptions so far this year, and the offense seemed to get on-track as well. The Bears may still have some defensive issues but their O seems to be picking up Marc Trestman’s system. Jay Cutler is a legit QB as long as he doesn’t suffer too many brainfarts and he has some decent weapons around him. And their O-line is playing much better.
Sunday, the Lions and Packers both held up their end of the deal by getting victories. The Green Bay win over Baltimore was a costly one, with receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb both suffering injuries, but a win is a win. Packer fans may be stressing over the loss of those two receiving weapons but trust me, as long as Aaron Rodgers is in town, the passing game will remain effective. It all depends on the defense which did a decent job against the Ravens even without Clay Matthews.
As for the Lions…we saw last week against the Packers what a mess their offense is without Calvin Johnson. Megatron didn’t get much going against the Browns on Sunday, catching only three balls, but he obviously had a huge effect on the defense, which showed up in the receiving numbers for other guys like Reggie Bush, Kris Durham and especially Joseph Fauria who had 3 TD catches. As long as Johnson takes the field, Detroit will have a legit offense. Their defense seems to be getting stronger as well and that’s why the Lions now have to be taken seriously as contenders.