Over the past several NFL seasons, the NFC North has been considered the best division in football. All four teams have been in the playoffs the last three seasons, including the Green Bay Packers being in each of the last three. For the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions, it was the Bears in 2010, Lions in 2011, and the Vikings in 2012. Which of these four teams will make it to the Playoffs this season?
We got to see the first glimpse of action for all four of these teams Sunday afternoon, all of them playing on national televised games. First off, the Chicago Bears battled the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field in Chicago. Early in the game, it seemed like it was going to be a great defensive battle. In the first drive for Chicago, it was a quick three-and-out, punting the ball. When the Bengals got their chance, it only took two plays until the Bears got the ball back, when Charles Tillman swooped in and intercepted Andy Dalton right in front of AJ Green. That lead to a scoring drive for Chicago when Jay Cutler connected with his new weapon Martellus Bennett. Cutler finished the game 21-for-33, 242 yards, two touchdowns, one to Bennett in the first and one to favorite weapon Brandon Marshall, and one interception. Chicago went on to win 24-21.
For the other two playing at 1EST, the Vikings and the Lions, it was against each other. The NFC North rivalry was reignited at Ford Field in Detroit. The refaced Vikings lead by reigning league MVP Adrian Peterson wanted to prove they were a legitimate threat in the NFC North, but are they? The Lions wanted to show that they weren't a 4-12 caliber team, so they brought their A-game to their home field against their number-one rival. The game didn't start out good for the Lions defense, allowing Adrian Peterson's first run to be a 78-yard touchdown.
Over the offseason, the Vikings brought in a new target for Christian Ponder, who the Lions were very familiar with, former Packer Greg Jennings. Jennings finished with a very quiet day, with only 3 receptions and 33 yards. Ponder had a rough day, only having 236 yards, one touchdown, and an ugly three interceptions.
On the other side, new running back Reggie Bush showed he belonged in Detroit with 21 carries for 90 yards and a team-leading 101 yards receiving with a touchdown, bringing a solid 25 fantasy football points.
The Lions went on to defeat the Vikings 34-24, joining the Bears at the top of the NFC North standings.
For the final team in the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers, they traveled to San Francisco and battled with the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season, the 49ers. It didn't take long for the battle to get personal, when Clay Matthews put on a clothesline late hit on the sidelines on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Penalties were offset for that play, after Joe Staley got into a bit of a brawl with Matthews, and made the teams repeat third down and six. No, I'm not wrong, the referees were. That penalty should have made it fourth and two, but the referees call redo third and six, which lead to a 49ers touchdown. Although it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game, it changed the score.
Colin Kaepernick finished the day on a career performance, with 412 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 22 rushing yards. Anquan Boldin caught one of those three touchdowns, and that came along with his 208 yards, finishing with 26 fantasy points. The other two Kaepernick touchdowns went in the direction of tight end Vernon Davis, who finished with 98 yards and two touchdowns.
For the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished with 333 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were a big production, who combined for 14 receptions, 238 yards, and two touchdowns.
The Packers lost yet again to the 49ers, making them 0-3 against them in the last two seasons. The Packers join the Vikings at the bottom of the NFC North standings after week one, the complete opposite compared to the end of last season.
NFC NORTH STANDINGS:
Team Record Division Record
Detroit Lions 1-0 1-0
Chicago Bears 1-0 0-0
Green Bay Packers 0-1 0-0
Minnesota Vikings 0-1 0-1
NEXT WEEKS MATCH-UPS:
Washington @ GREEN BAY
MINNESOTA @ CHICAGO
DETROIT @ Arizona