By Nick Grays
With a dramatic 20-17 win over the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears join the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers as the only 3-0 teams in the NFL.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who predicted those three
teams to have a perfect start to the season. Nonetheless, the Bears have
shown vast improvement from their 7-9 record in 2009. In fact, the team
from Chi-Town last started 3-0 in 2006; a year in which the Bears
started 7-0 and eventually played in the Super Bowl.
It all starts with the defense as the acquisition of Julius Peppers
seems to be a great one. Anyone who watched the Monday Night game could
see how big of a match-up problem Peppers was for the entire Packers' offensive line. Half of the Packers'
franchise record-tying 17 penalties were directly or indirectly related
to keeping Peppers away from Aaron Rodgers. Additionally, Brian
Urlacher looks like he has returned to form with a game-high nine
tackles (Lance Briggs also had nine) and the clutch strip of wideout
James Jones late in the fourth quarter.
Before we jump to any conclusions, let's take a quick look at the status of each team in the NFC North:
1.) Chicago Bears 3-0 (Week 4: @New York Giants)
It will be interesting to see how the Bears play on the road after an
emotional win at home. On paper, I see no reason why the Bears should
have any problem in New York. They have the league's best rush defense
while New York is struggling to find an offensive identity behind a bad
offensive line. On the other side, Jay Cutler
is the quarterback the Bears have always wanted and fits into the Mike
Martz system perfectly. If the Bears do go on and win on Sunday night, I
think it's safe to declare Chicago as a legitimate threat to the Green
Bay Packers for the NFC North Division Title.
2.) Green Bay Packers 2-1 (Week 4: Detroit Lions)
No need to panic here; losing at Soldier Field in Week 3 is not really a
big deal. The Packers should be more worried about the numerous
mistakes they made on Monday Night rather than the Chicago Bears.
Committing 17 penalties in one game is unthinkable. Moreover, the team
should be looking at adding a running back because Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn
are not the answer. With Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Jacobs possibly on
the market, the Packers have to attempt to make a deal if they want to
be in the mix for a Super Bowl run by the end of the year. Now, if the
Packers turn around and lose to the Lions on Sunday, it may be time to
3.) Minnesota Vikings 1-2 (Week 4: Bye)
What's that sound? Oh, it's the sound of all those Vikings fans sighing
in relief for finally tallying a win on the season. From a positive
aspect, they have the best player in the league or at least in the
division in Adrian Peterson who made sure to assert his self in a 24-10
win over the Lions. However, the Vikings are completely one-dimensional while ranking 24th in total passing yards (185 per game). Favre
looks like he hasn't played in years and the attempted resurrection of
old wide receivers seems to be failing in Minneapolis. The defense
continues to play with swagger, but it's hard when your offense cannot
stay on the field. Expect the Vikings to put a lot of work into the
passing game during their bye week. A trip to play the New York Jets in
week five will be a daunting task to say the least.
4.) Detroit Lions 0-3 (Week 4: @ Green Bay Packers)
Not really sure what to say here. I'm still trying to grasp how Calvin Johnson's
game-winning catch was not ruled complete in week one. Just think, if
that call was changed and ruled a catch, our entire perspective of the
NFC North would be changed right now. A day in the life of a Detroit
Lions football player must be like the movie "Groundhog Day" starring
Bill Murray. Everyday, they wake up and take the field to find every
game ends in a loss. My analogy would be so much better if long-time
Lions' kicker Eddie Murray (1980-1991) was still on the Detroit Lions,
but I'll still stick with it anyways.
Let me know what you think about the NFC North by commenting below!