Welcome to the tenth edition of News From The North! This is your destination for updates on the NFC North. This report includes Week 1 recaps, roster changes, injury reports, pregame analysis for Week 2, and more.
Week 1 Standings:
- Packers (1-0)*
- Vikings (1-0)
- Lions (0-0-1)
- Bears (0-1)
*Green Bay holds first since their win is a division win
It’s hard to picture a better opening week for the Vikings. The reigning NFC North champion Chicago Bears lost at home to Green Bay, and the Detroit Lions didn’t win…but they also didn’t lose. Still better than a win though! The Vikings themselves won in style, shutting out the Falcons for nearly 3.5 quarters and winning 28-12. Week 2 looks to be another slam dunk with Minnesota facing off against Green Bay, Chicago playing on the road and Detroit facing a Chargers team that went 12-4 last season.
The Minnesota Vikings:
Week 1 Recap: Almost everything went right for the purple and gold. Atlanta was unable to produce anything until midway through the fourth quarter, and ultimately only managed two touchdowns (with two failed 2-pt conversion attempts). Meanwhile, quarterback Kirk Cousins holstered his sidearm and let the running backs take care of business.
- Passing: QB Kirk Cousins 8/10 C/ATT, 98 YDS, 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 SACK – 1 YD, 140.8 RTG. Cousins also ran the ball for a 1-yard TD.
- Rushing: RB Dalvin Cook 21 CAR, 111 YDS, 2 TD. 3rd-round draft pick Alexander Mattison (Boise State) also ran the ball 9 times for 49 yards.
- Receiving: WR Adam Thielen 3 REC, 43 YDS, 1 TD. WR Stefon Diggs 2 REC, 37 YDS.
- Kicking: K Dan Bailey 4/4 PATs
The defense performed extremely well, but they weren’t without fault. The Purple People Eaters had four offsides penalties, three of which gave Atlanta a first down. But, they did keep the Falcons scoreless for the first 50 minutes of the game, broke up both 2-pt conversion attempts and forced as many turnovers as they did punts.
- S Anthony Harris: 2 INT, 5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
- LB Anthony Barr: 1 sack, 6 tackles, 2 QB hits
- S Harrison Smith: 9 tackles, 2 passes defended
Roster Moves/Coaching Changes: C Brett Jones was released earlier in order to sign WR Josh Doctson. TE Brandon Dillon has been released and signed to the practice squad and Jones has been re-signed to the active roster. K Chase McLaughlin has been released from the practice squad to accommodate Dillon. Following Doctson’s injury, CB Nate Meadors has been signed to the 53-man roster, and WR Alexander Hollins has been signed to the practice squad.
- CB Mike Hughes’ return (ACL tear last season) is still questionable.
- CB Mackensie Alexander is questionable and did not practice on 9/11 or 9/12. He dislocated his elbow during the game against Atlanta.
- LG Pat Elflein returned to limited practice on 9/12 and is nursing a knee injury and is questionable for Week 2.
- CB Mark Fields has been on limited practice for 9/11 and 9/12 with a groin injury and is questionable.
- WR Josh Doctson has a hamstring injury and has been placed on IR. CB Nate Meadors has been signed to the 53-man roster, and
Up Next: Minnesota travels to Green Bay for their first division game of the season. Unlike Week 1, this matchup will surely rely on Kirk Cousins’ arm. ESPN gives the Vikings a 44.7% chance of winning with a spread of +3. Kickoff is Sunday, Sept. 15th at 12pm CT.
The Detroit Lions:
Week 1 Recap: Good news, Lions fans! Your team didn’t lose to a rookie QB in his NFL debut! The bad news is you didn’t beat him either. Despite creating a 24-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, Arizona came back to tie the game with a Larry Fitzgerald TD and successful 2-pt conversion. Both teams kicked a field goal in overtime to again tie the score at 27 apiece before calling it a day.
- Passing: QB Matt Stafford 27/45 C/ATT, 385 YDS, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 SACKS – 24 YDS, 110.0 RTG
- Rushing: RB Kerryon Johnson 16 CAR, 49 YDS
- Receiving: TE T.J. Hockenson 6 REC, 131 YDS, 1 TD. Hockenson, the 8th overall pick in the 2019 draft, made NFL history, setting the record for receiving yards by a rookie tight end in their debut. WR Danny Amendola 7 REC, 104 YDS, 1 TD.
- Kicking: K Matt Prater 2/2 FG, 3/3 PATs
Defensively the team had mixed results. The linebackers created 5 sacks, tied for second-most in the first week of the regular season. However, the backfield allowed a league-worst 54 pass attempts, BUT Arizona only completed 53.7% of them, second-lowest in the league. So overall, meh?
Roster Moves/Coaching Changes:
- Waived LB Tre Lamar
- Signed RB David Williams to the practice squad
- Released QB Chad Kanoff from the practice squad
- LB Jarrad Davis is questionable with an ankle injury.
- T Taylor Decker is questionable with a back injury.
- DE Da’Shawn Hand is questionable with an elbow injury.
- CB Rashaan Melvin is questionable with a knee injury.
Up Next: Detroit hosts the LA Chargers this Sunday. Their last meeting was on September 13th, 2015 when the then-called San Diego Chargers narrowly beat the Motor City Kitties, 33-28. For this matchup, ESPN gives Detroit a 49.7% chance of winning with a spread of +2.5. Kickoff is September 15th at 12pm CT.
The Chicago Bears & Green Bay Packers:
Week 1 Recap: The hype leading up to this game was absolutely crazy. This matchup would mark the beginning of not only the NFL’s 100th season but also the Bears’ 100th season and the Packers’ 99th in the league (101st overall). Their rivalry is almost unparalleled in pro football, both by age and competitiveness. The overall record between the two franchises (including postseason) is 98-95-6, in favor of the Packers. Needless to say, fans were rabid to watch this game, and they sure got a spectacle. It was incredible. Both teams decided to honor the history of the sport by playing it the way they did 100 years ago: abandoning the idea of a completed forward pass, running the ball for little to no gain, and ending the game with a gentlemanly score of 10-3. It was the lowest-scoring matchup between the two since 2011 when Green Bay again beat Chicago 10-3, and tied for the third-lowest combined score in their history.
Green Bay Offensive Leaders:
- Passing: QB Aaron Rodgers 18/30 C/ATT, 203 YDS, 1 TD, 0 INT, 5 SACKS – 37 YDS, 91.4 RTG.
- Rushing: RB Aaron Jones 13 CAR, 39 YDS
- Receiving: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4 REC, 52 YDS. TE Jimmy Graham 3 REC, 30 YDS, 1 TD.
- Kicking: K Mason Crosby 1/1 FG, 1/1 PAT.
Chicago Offensive Leaders:
- Passing: QB Mitch Trubisky 26/45 C/ATT, 228 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT, 5 SACKS – 20 YDS, 18.5 RTG
- Rushing: RB Mike Davis 5 CAR, 19 YDS
- Receiving: WR Allen Robinson 7 REC, 102 YDS
- Kicking: K Eddy Pineiro 1/1 FG
This game was a defensive bloodbath. Both teams racked up 5 sacks, with 18 total QB hits between the two. Together, the offenses successfully converted only 5 of the 27 Third Downs. It’s amazing there was only one turnover the entire a game, a pick by Packers’ safety Adrian Amos.
Green Bay Defensive Leaders:
- S Adrian Amos: 1 INT, 3 tackles
- DE Preston Smith: 1.5 sacks, 5 tackles
- LB Blake Martinez: 1 sack, 7 tackles
Chicago Defensive Leaders:
Roster Moves/Coaching Changes: No recent changes.
- CB Jaire Alexander is questionable with a knee injury
- LT David Bakhtiari is questionable with a back injury
- LB Oren Burks is questionable with a chest injury
- TE Jimmy Graham is questionable with a finger injury
- CB Ka’dar Hollman is questionable with a neck injury
- CB Kevin King is questionable with hamstring and chest injuries
- WR Darrius Shepherd is questionable with a hamstring injury
Roster Moves/Coaching Changes:
- TE Trey Burton is questionable with a groin injury
- NT Eddie Goldman is questionable with an oblique injury
Up Next: Da Bears head to the Mile High City to face the Broncos on Sunday. This is a relatively young pairing with only 15 prior matchups. Denver leads the series 8-7. ESPN gives Chicago a 50.8% chance of winning with a spread of -2.5. Kickoff is September 15 at 3:25pm CT.
As always, special thanks to ESPN and Pro-Football-Reference for all statistics. Please subscribe to our Patreon to get exclusive content and perks, and follow me on Twitter @AdamNelson22_ to stay up to date on all things Vikings! SKOL