GREEN BAY, Wis. – For the Green Bay Packers, the bad news last week was their terrible performance in a 38-3 loss to New Orleans. The good news is everyone else in the NFC North lost, too.
With the Packers hosting the Detroit Lions on Monday, they could be all alone in first place in the division when the clock hits triple-zeroes at the end of the night. None of the North’s four teams played well, making it the only division to get swept in Week 1.
At noon Sunday, the Chicago Bears (0-1) will host the Cincinnati Bengals (1-0). Chicago is a two-point favorite at SI Sportsbook.
Chicago was crunched 34-14 at the Los Angeles Rams in the opener. The pressure is on coach Matt Nagy to get the offense going, whether it’s with rookie quarterback Justin Fields or veteran Andy Dalton. Chicago had just one completion of more than 11 yards against the Rams.
“I feel like it’s early right now,” Nagy said this week. “At the same time, the week is a lot different when you come to work after a win. … We want to make sure we get back to that ‘W’ side.”
At 3:05 p.m. Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings (0-1) will play at the Arizona Cardinals (1-0). The Vikings are four-point underdogs at SI Sportsbook.
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While the Vikings lost 27-24 in overtime to Cincinnati, it was 21-7 in the third quarter when Bengals coach Zac Taylor inexplicably went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 30. Joe Mixon was stuffed and the tide turned. The pressure also is on longtime Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who reportedly is on the hot seat.
“I feel pressure every year, so I don't look at it like I'm coaching for my job,” he said. “I'm going to put my resume out there on the field just like the players. And if people don't think I'm good enough to do it, so be it. Somebody else does.”
And at 7:15 Monday, the Packers (0-1) will host the Lions (0-1). Green Bay is an 11.5-point favorite, the second-biggest spread of the week behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at -12.5 vs. the Atlanta Falcons.
While the Lions lost only 41-33 to San Francisco, they trailed 31-10 at halftime.
“They’ve been kind of the gold standard in this division for a long time, rightfully so,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “We know they’re going to be ready to go and we have to be ready to go. This will be a good challenge.”
The early outlook is it will be a challenging season for the NFC North. In this year’s schedule rotation, the NFC North will face the NFC West and AFC North. The NFC West started 4-0 while the AFC North started 2-2. The losses? Cleveland succumbing to the Chiefs’ late rally in Kansas City and the Baltimore Ravens losing in overtime at Las Vegas.
Green Bay’s remaining 16 games will come against seven teams that won (San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Arizona, Kansas City, Settle, L.A. Rams) and nine teams that lost (Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago twice, and Washington, Baltimore and Cleveland). The out-of-division games will come against teams that went 7-3.