NGSC Sports

NFC North: Week 17

NFC North Standings:

1. Detroit Lions 11-4 (5-0)

2. Green Bay Packers 11-4 (4-1)

3. Minnesota Vikings 6-9 (0-5)

4. Chicago Bears 5-10 (1-4)

 

Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers (Packers are the favorite at -7.5; over/under 47)

The last time these two teams squared off, Detroit was at home and won 19-7 over the Green Bay Packers.   Aaron Rodgers was held to 162 passing yards, while running back Eddy Lacy lost a fumble resulting in a Lions defensive touchdown, and also accounted for a one yard loss which resulted in a safety.  Although Detroit came away with the win, they had their fair share of struggles as well.  Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions and also had a lost fumble – Detroit’s only offensive touchdown came via a Reggie Bush run for 26 yards.

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This time around, both teams are healthy and have worked out all the kinks that gave them trouble early in the season. . . or so they both would like to think.  Whoever wins this game wins the NFC North and with that receives a bye week entering the playoffs. Packers’ quarterback has been dealing with calf soreness all week and on the Lions side of things, the Detroit faithful must be uneasy after seeing Matthew Stafford throw two picks last week against a terrible Bears secondary unit.

Stafford will have to be extra careful going against a very opportunistic Packers secondary which has 18 interceptions on the season.  But when talking about defensive units, very few in the league can compare to Detroit’s who allows only 63.8 rushing yards a game, has 20 interceptions and has forced 10 fumbles.

It would be hard to believe that running back Eddy Lacy’s luck will change much against this Detroit defensive front, but expect coach Mike McCarthy to attack this over aggressive Lions team, with a lot of quick screens, hitch routes and slants to open up things.

Rodgers is almost perfect at home and Stafford just cannot be trusted in games that matter (or games late in the year.)

Game Prediction: Green Bay 24, Detroit 17       Better’s Pick: The Under

 

Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings (Vikings are the favorite at -6; over/under 44)

The season will mercifully end for the Chicago Bears this Sunday as they have undoubtedly shown the world they are just as dysfunctional as the Washington Redskins and just as abysmal as the Jacksonville Jaguars.  A season that started with such high hope will end in embarrassment and (for some) unemployment.  The Minnesota Vikings were dealt a tough hand losing running back Adrian Peterson, but new head coach Mike Zimmer has found some things to build on for next year.  If the Vikings can finish the season with seven wins, it would be considered a success.

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Chicago will have Jay Cutler start this game at quarterback and with his future in Chicago in question, it will be interesting to see how the gunslinger responds.  Cutler has been admirable in his media appearances but there is no doubt his confidence on the field has to be somewhat shaken.  Last week with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, the Bears could not hold on to the football for their lives, most notably wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey who had 4 drops.

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This Vikings offense has been coming together, ever so slowly – but still – coming together under offensive coordinator Norv Turner.  Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has displayed the poise and accuracy he displayed in college which made him a hyped rookie coming into this year.  Detroit has last by a field goal to Green Bay and lost by two points in visits to Detroit and Miami.  If not so inexperienced, those close losses might have turned into wins against three impressive teams.

The Bears have mentally checked out and Cutler is just trying to make it out of this game alive.

Game Prediction: Vikings 28, Bears 17      Better’s Pick: Vikings -6

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

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