The NFC North Round-Up: The Vikings Offense Must Be Smooth Vs. Bears

Questions Answered: Jefferson's Next Deal, Patrick Jones, What's the Bears Deal?
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

We’ve officially put a close to the first month of the NFL regular season, and we are yet to see anyone truly emerge as a leader in the NFC North. Heading into mid-October, that could change, and it all starts with getting a win in Week 5. Here’s what every NFC North team needs to do to win this weekend.

The Bears Must Establish the Run

So far, the Chicago Bears have ridden their production in the running game to a 2-2. This has been an absolute necessity as Justin Fields has been held to under 150 yards passing in three of Chicago’s first four games. Minnesota ranks 17th in yards per carry allowed, though they’ve progressively gotten better in each of the past three weeks.

Especially if David Montgomery returns to the lineup this weekend, the Bears must continue their season average of 5.2 yards per carry. Minnesota’s defense has not necessarily been spectacular this season, but the Bears passing offense is not that difficult to figure out as long as they continuously put pressure on Fields. The trenches will be crucial on Sunday.

Surely Detroit’s Defense Won’t Allow 40 Points to Bailey Zappe, right?

The Detroit Lions rank first on total yards and total points on offense, which would be great if they weren’t also 32nd in total yards allowed and total points allowed on defense. If there was ever a game for the Lions defense to step up, it’s this one against the Patriots and a rookie third string QB.

Even with this aforementioned status as a third stringer making his first career start, Zappe cannot be taken lightly at the QB position. He was one of the most explosive playmakers in college football history throughout his career at Western Kentucky, and there’s a reason he was the fourth QB selected in the 2022 Draft. We’ll see how Detroit handles the young QB this week.

Aaron Rodgers Must Establish Rhythm with Receivers

The New York Giants probably aren’t as good as their 3-1 record indicates. However, their defense has played extremely well under Brian Daboll this season. They’ve allowed just 71 total points through four games.

To this point, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have not given much reason to be confident in their offense in 2022. For that to change, Rodgers must get on the same page with his rookie receivers, Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. Watson scored a rushing touchdown on a jet sweep last week, and it may take more unique play calling from Matt LaFleur to continue getting the rookies involved on offense.

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We Need to See a Smoother Vikings Offense

The Minnesota Vikings have one of the more star-studded offenses in the NFL between their offensive tackles, running backs, and wide receivers. However, we have not seen the fluid Los Angeles Rams-esque offense under head coach Kevin O’Connell yet. The Vikings have been one of the worst teams at both converting third downs and scoring touchdowns in the red zone.

This week, Minnesota goes up against a Bears defense that a week ago allowed Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley get just about whatever they wanted. After facing three of the NFL’s best defenses over the first month of the season, this is the Vikings best chance at putting up a massive point total. The vikings offense needs to establish a rhythm before traveling down to Miami next week.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken