NFC North Week 5 Recap: Packers surge continues

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers continued their dominant start to the season, winning their third in a row to take a two-game lead for first place in the NFC North.

Who didn’t expect this?

We are just five games into the 2017 NFL season, but the Green Bay Packers have already proved that they are the clear best team in the North.

Blowout wins, comeback wins, even an ugly win or two. It doesn’t matter: the Packers are a winning team. No matter how good the Lions or Vikings look, chances are no team will be able to stop the Packers this year.

On the flip-side, the Chicago Bears continue to distance themselves from the rest of the division in the wrong direction. The Packers, Lions and Vikings are all above .500 while the Bears are sitting in the cellar at 1-4. Not good.

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With the exception of Chicago, the North remains one of the most competitive divisions through the first five weeks. The Packers and Lions are yet to play, and although the Packers will almost definitely come out on top of the division, the Lions have looked really good early on.

The NFC North went a combined 2-2 in Week five, with every game decided by no more than 4 points. Here’s a recap of the action.

Detroit Lions

Final Score: Panthers 27, Lions 24

Despite the loss, the Detroit Lions again looked very good, putting up 14 fourth-quarter points in a near comeback. Matthew Stafford couldn’t quite finish off what would arguably have been the most impressive comeback of his career.

After allowing just seven points in Week 4, the Lions defense looked pretty bad. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ate the Lions secondary up for 355 yards through the air. Backup tight end Ed Dickson racked up 175 receiving yards on just 5 catches, as the Lions just couldn’t keep up with Newton and the Panthers.

The Lions now move into a tie with the Minnesota Vikings for second place with the loss. Both teams sit at 3-2, with Detroit owning the season series tiebreaker. There’s plenty of football left to be played, but early indications show that the Lions might just find themselves as a playoff team.

The Lions will take on the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans next Sunday. If we see the same defense that we did on Sunday, this could prove to be an incredibly high scoring game. If we see the Lions defense that we saw in Week four, this should be a relatively easy win for Detroit.

Green Bay Packers

Final Score: Packers 35, Cowboys 31


The Green Bay Packers pulled off one of the most unbelievable wins of the season on Sunday, putting up a whopping 20 points in a wild fourth-quarter comeback against the Dallas Cowboys.

Superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers was again at the center of the comeback for the Packers, leading the Packers on a 75-yard drive in just over a minute. Rodgers sealed the comeback with a touchdown strike to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining.

The contributions from unexpected players were key in the comeback effort. One major contributor was fifth-round pick and third-string running back Aaron Jones made a massive impact in his first career start. Jones totaled 125 yards on the ground as well as a touchdown in the win.

The Packers extended their first-place lead to two games over the Vikings and Lions, improving to 4-1 on the season. The Packers take on the Vikings on the road next Sunday and will look to continue their blazing hot start.

Chicago Bears

Final Score: Vikings 20, Bears 17

On a monumental night in team history, the Chicago Bears lost a nail-biter to the Minnesota Vikings. Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made his first career start, looking great at times but ultimately not good enough to pull out the win.

The loss is by no means on Trubisky. The Bears offensive line killed drive after drive with penalties, a crucial mistake against a great defense like the Vikings. The Bears defense showed promise but couldn’t avoid giving up big plays. Botton line: the Chicago Bears should have won this game.

Chicago now falls to 1-4, and are in need of some type of stability. An improved wide receiving core and fewer penalties would be nice, but for now, the Bears just need to do all the little things right.

The Chicago Bears take on the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday. The Ravens too have had their struggles on offense and are a beatable team if everything goes right. Next Sunday’s game against the Ravens is a must-win game for the Bears.

Minnesota Vikings

Final Score: Vikings 20, Bears 17

The Vikings ground out a much-needed win on Monday night, defeating the Chicago Bears on a late field goal. Clutch defensive plays and the emergence of Case Keenum and Jerrick McKinnon on offense led the Vikings to the win.

Starting quarterback Sam Bradford left early in the game with a pre-existing knee injury, giving Keenum an opportunity to avenge last weeks tough outing. Keenum was solid, throwing for 140 yards and a touchdown off the bench.

Next: Next: Chicago Bears Week 5 Offensive Grades

The Vikings fought through penalties on both offense and defense to pull out the sloppy win. A win is a win, but the Vikings certainly didn’t look great on Monday night. Once Bradford and receiver Stefon Diggs become healthy, the Vikings should look like they did in Week 1.

The Vikings take on the Packers on Sunday in a big game. A win would put Minnesota just one game out of first place and would be a big confidence boost for the team and its home fans. Let’s not call it a must win, but the Vikings would really benefit from a big win on Sunday.