NFC North Week 9 Review

After nine weeks of football in the NFC North seem to be tightening up at the top while there’s now clear separation between the bottom team and the rest of the division. On Sunday the Green Bay Packers lost a great game in Carolina to the lone undefeated team in the conference. Meanwhile up in Minneapolis the Vikings won their fourth game in a row to pull into a tie with the Packers at 6-2, both of these teams are just one game away from meeting each other up in Minneapolis in an epic divisional clash, a clash that’ll go along way to cementing playoff berths for both teams. The Vikings keep finding ways to win even when Teddy Bridgewater was sidelined for the end of the game to a concussion laid out by Rams S Lamarcus Joyner that was deemed a cheap shot by Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. Bridgewater was running for a first down and went into a feet first slide, Lamarcus Joyner continued into his tackle and clearly lowered his shoulder into the head of Bridgewater on the play. In any event Shaun Hill came on in relief and Blair Walsh nailed a 40-yard field goal to secure the Vikings sixth victory of the year.

The Detroit Lions didn’t play mercifully as they were on their bye after cleaning house but somehow keeping Jim Caldwell. Going back to the Panthers and Packers which was what everyone in Chicago and the surrounding areas watched for the noon time game on Sunday, the Panthers got to Rodgers early with their pass rush, but nearly gave it all away as their defense started to crack in the second half being outscored 22-10. The Panthers went into the locker room with what was a seemingly insurmountable 27-7 lead at home. Aaron Rodgers went to work in the second half throwing three touchdowns to just one interception, that interception was costly however because the Packers were inside the ten yard line and looking like they were about to score and go for the two point conversion to tie the game. Randall Cobb was wide open in the back corner of the end zone but Rodgers never saw him because he has pressure in his face causing him to throw a weak ball that was easily intercepted by Thomas Davis. A close call for the Panthers to escape at home but with the win they now have all the tiebreakers in the conference with not only the best record by now 2.5 games over Green Bay and not having to face either the Cardinals or Vikings this year.

Last night the Bears pulled off a little magic of their own with a comeback win on the left coast to get their third win of the year. Jay Cutler played very well and scored the final eight points of the game to give the Bears the three point victory. It wouldn’t even had been that close had reliable Robbie Gould been able to nail two easy field goals that would’ve given the Bears a comfortable margin at the end of the game. On the night Cutler had 345 yards of passing while throwing for two touchdowns and a pick six. In looking at the one mistake by Cutler and the two misses by Gould the Bears could’ve won this one in a laugher. Cutler is now 8-2 in his career on Monday Night. Alshon Jeffery was his usual self positing a monster game on the stat sheet hauling in 10 balls for 151 yards. Jeremy Langford ran the ball exceptionally well in Matt Forte’s absence gaining 72 yards on 18 carries to go along with a rushing touchdown. Langford proved to be reliable catching the ball out of the backfield as well gaining 70 yards on three catches bringing his total of yards gained from the line of scrimmage on par with Jeffery. Those two accounted for nearly 300 of the Bears 446 total yards of offense on the night.

On the defensive side of the ball the Bears bottled up Philip Rivers all night, and the passing game of the Chargers took a big blow when Malcolm Floyd went down with a shoulder injury. The Bears kept the Chargers to 339 yards of total offense while Cutler alone passed for more. All in all it was great night for the Bears but they’ve got a big test when they continue this road trip in St. Louis a team they got crushed by in the exact same spot two years ago 42-21. In that game the Bears got gashed for 258 yards on the ground. This time around they’ll have to not only contend with Tavon Austin running the reverse, but Todd Gurley as well. Kellen Clemens was the quarterback for the Rams, while Josh McCown was the signal for Chicago caller the last time these two teams met up.