NFL Week 4: NFC North – Lessons of The NFL

Josh Robinson celebrating after his interception of Alex Smith in the 4th quarter of a 24-13 win.

One of the hardest things an NFL Head Coach has to do is get his team to take a supposed lessor team seriously. Especially when they get a target on their back. Well the Minnesota Vikings stepped up and showed they weren’t going to be pushed around by the San Francisco 49ers. They led the entire game and Chistian Ponder is growing up as a quarterback. So far on the young season he has thrown for 4 touchdowns without a single interception. How competitive has Minnesota been?? Do you realize the Vikings are an Adam Vinatieri overtime field goal away from a 3-0 start??

By the way, where is this explosive Packers offense?? Do you realize after 3 weeks Green Bay has yet to crack 24 points in a game and are ranked 25th in offense?? After throwing for 45 touchdowns a season before, Rodgers only has 3 this season. They are having an issue rushing the football. Twice this season they have failed to rush for more than 100 yards as Cedric Benson and the offensive line haven’t meshed. Nevermind the blown call in last night’s loss to Seattle, the fact is the Packers overlooked Seattle and woke up in a battle. Teams are really playing their receivers physically this season which throws off timing. People tend to forget that in 2010 Aaron Rodgers was 1 concussion away from sitting out the rest of the season. Last night with his being sacked 8 times in the first half they may get him knocked out. They have to right the ship quickly. Now they are behind Seattle (2-1) San Francisco (2-1)  when it comes down to wildcard and division tie breakers. Just remember the old axiom what happens one season doesn’t necessarily happen the next..

Speaking of which…

North Division













Minnesota Vikings Vikings 2 1 0 .667 70 59 2-0 0-1 0-0 1-0 W1 2-1
Chicago Bears Bears 2 1 0 .667 74 50 2-0 0-1 0-1 1-1 W1 2-1
Green Bay Packers Packers 1 2 0 .333 57 54 1-1 0-1 1-0 1-2 L1 1-2
Detroit Lions Lions 1 2 0 .333 87 94 1-0 0-2 0-0 1-1 L2 1-2

Will the Detroit Lions begin to play defense?? First, DE Cliff Avril sits out all summer and doesn’t want to sign his franchise player contract. Here we are with 7 tackles and 1 sack after three games?? He has to get on track and where is Nick Fairley?? Right now this team isn’t tackling and the defense just gave up 44 points to a team that could not score more than 13 in the previous 2 weeks. That’s embarrassing. The offense finally got RB Mikel Leshoure going (26 car. 100 yards 1TD) the special teams and defense let the team down. The Lions can look forward to having a more balanced offense and keep pressure off Matthew Stafford now. However they may need to make a trade before the week 6 deadline to fortify the defense. After 3 weeks they have only forced 1 turnover and have no interceptions.

Michael Bush was a good insurance policy pickup this offseason. It may pay off this Monday Night when they face Dallas.

Remember when the sky was falling just a week ago when Cutler and the Bears lost in Lambeau?? They are tied for the division lead after beating the Rams 23-6. Jay Cutler has thrown 6 interceptions this early season and is a work in progress. He has to improve on his 52.7% completion rate as he and Brandon Marshall work to find a rhythm.

It looks like the Chicago Bears will be without the services of RB Matt Forte on Monday Night when they face the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t be surprised if the Bears simplify their game plan and feed them Michael Bush 25-30 times. He actually leads the team with 151 yards and 3TDs anyway. This may be the best time for them to run the ball with his straight ahead running style. Allow that defense to rest.

Did we just say something about running the football?? Well Head Coach Leslie Frazier clearly got the memo. In their game with the 49ers, Minnesota ran the football 41 times with Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson. There is a culture war going on in the NFL between hard running teams like Minnesota and all these teams lining up in 4 receiver sets and empty backfields. The teams that are playing 7 man sled running, blocking, and tackling football are winning right now. The Packers have lost two to these types of teams already. If you look at the Packers situation in a nutshell, teams have figured out their offense and tendencies and what we have seen over 3 weeks is no fluke. They had better get it together on the ground or they could be watching this year’s playoffs. Both rushing the football and stopping the run. Didn’t Vince Lombardi once say that?? Lessons of the NFL

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