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NFC North: Week Sixteen

NFC North Standings

1. Detroit Lions 10-4 (4-0)

2. Green Bay Packers 10-4 (4-1)

3. Minnesota Vikings 6-8 (0-5)

4. Chicago Bears 5-9 (1-3)


Minnesota Vikings vs Miami Dolphins (Vikings are the underdog at +6.5; over/under: 42.5)

Last week the Vikings had their chances to beat the NFC North leader, Lions, but just could not put Detroit away.  The Vikings defense proved to be up to the challenge for most of the game, but the offense lacks the big play ability needed, to put a dent in that confident Lions defense.  Mike Zimmer leads his team into Miami to play the Dolphins who were thoroughly embarrassed in the second half of their game against the Patriots.

The Miami Dolphins defense gives up 122 yards on the ground and the expectation from the Vikings defense would be to run up the gut of this Dolphins defense for most of the game. The last thing offenisve coordinator Norv Turner wants to do is put his rookie quarterback in too many long yardage situations facing a Cameron Wake pass rush and a pretty strong Miami secondary.

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This Vikings team is a competitive one and who knows how much wind was knocked out of this over-achieving Dolphins team last week?  This game won’t be fun to to watch, but the Vikings have a better chance of going 8-8 this year than the Dolphins do at making the playoffs.

Game Prediction: Vikings 22, Dolphins 17    Better’s Pick: Vikings +6.5 and the under


Green Bay Packers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Packers are the favorite at -10.5; over/under 48.5)

So now the talk about Green Bay is that they are NOT as good on the road as they are at home.  Big surprise.  This goes for most teams in any sport.  Truth is, the Buffalo defense was the best they’ve seen in weeks and with that, the Packers timing on offense was off and dare we even say – the Packers offense looked a little “shook” going against a physical Buffalo team?  Whatever it may be, the Packers once again hit the road and find themselves in Tampa Bay.

Green Bay had some lost opportunities last week, including uncharacteristic drops from wideout Jordy Nelson but this is far from a melt-down scenario.  This Packers offense is averaging 31 points a game and over 380 yards a game, meanwhile, the Tampa Bay defense pretty much gives up those numbers on average – and allow 250 yards a game through the air alone.

Bucs coach, Lovie Smith is familiar with the Green Bay Packers after coaching against them for all those years as head coach with the Bears but that doesn’t mean it will help him.  Lovie lost his last 6 games against the Mike McCarthy run Packers – this time expect more of the same as this will be a Packers team that is looking to make a point on the road this week.

Game Prediction: Packers 38, Buccaneers 14    Better’s Pick: Packers -10.5

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears (Bears are the underdog at +7; over/under 45.5)

With two weeks left in the season it’s fair to predict that the Bears will remain at five wins the rest of the way because the entire team does not care.  The Chicago Bears organization is as dysfunctional as the Washington Redskins’ and this Chicago Bears team plays as well as the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Bears were manhandled by  Detroit on Thanksgiving and the outcome should not be any different this time around.  Rookie corner Kyle Fuller has regressed since his fast start in September and was taken to school by Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson last time they matched up on the field (Johnson finished with 146 yards and 2 touchdowns).

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This Detroit offense hasn’t been the most consistent unit in the NFL despite all their talent, but as predicted last time on this site – it doesn’t matter when you play against this horrendous Chicago Bears defense.  The GM doesn’t like the coach, the coach can’t control his staff, his staff has no control of it’s players and the Chicago Bears fans are sick of all of it.  Expect a usually loyal fan base in Chicago to get ugly early when things spiral out of control in the first half for the Bears.

Game Prediction: Lions 35,  Bears 14      Better’s Pick: Lions -7


G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

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