Week 3: NFC North Preview

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The NFL chugs along. There have some highs (Packers and Bears) and some lows (Lions and Vikings) so far. Week 3 will be key for determining just how high you can fly or if you can dig yourself out of your early grave.

Titans at Vikings 1 PM ET

Vikings have really struggled in 2 weeks on defense.  In Week 2, they were terrible on offense against the Colts with 3 Cousins interceptions and only a garbage time TD. Vikings just lost Anthony Barr to IR and Danielle Hunter still out. Mike Hughes and Cameron Dantzlier are out in the secondary too which makes things much harder. Veteran Todd Davis was signed to replace Barr. Enter the 2-0 Tennessee Titans led by Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. The Titans have beaten the Broncos in a low scoring ugly game in Week 1 and won a shootout at home against the Jaguars (33-30). They are still a good team that went to AFC Champ game last year. Cousins and Vikings defense will need to fix his issues quickly or it will be 0-3.

Derrick Henry should run wild and Tannehill has a 120 QB rating in 2 games. Corey Davis (137 yards) and Jonnu Smith (3 TDs) have been weapons so far. AJ Brown is a good WR dealing with an injury. The Titans defense should provide pressure with Jadeveon Clowney, Harold Landry and Justin Simmons. Malcolm Butler and Jonathan Joseph are veteran corners but will need good days to stop Thielen and rookie Justin Jeferson. The Vikings tight ends will need to pick it up Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro are formidable safeties.

Vikings have a shot if Dalvin Cook runs wild but their defense is having big problems. It will be close but the Titans pull this win out in the end.

Chicago at Atlanta 1 PM ET

The Bears have two ugly wins at 2-0 and the Falcons have two ugly losses at 0-2. Falcons blew another giant lead against the Cowboys and got smoked by Seattle.  The Bears were down 17 to the Lions and came back when the Lions CBs all died. Bears led 17-0 on the Giants and held on for 17-13 win despite a bad second half.

Trubisky has been up and down but hasn’t killed their winning chances yet. The Bears run game looks improved in 2 games but the defense isn’t back to 2018 level.

The Falcons have plenty of weapons but Julio Jones is banged up (hamstring). That will be a big factor in this game. Atlanta’s running game is improved with Todd Gurley but Kaleb McGary (RT) is injured for the Falcons as well.

Atlanta has the offense to win this game and stop Trubisky enough. However, it will come down to turnovers. If the Bears can force 2 or more, they should move to 3-0.

Lions at Cardinals 4:25 PM ET

Kyler Murray is having a great second year. The Cardinals beat the 49ers and Football Team so far. Murray is running wild and passing well enough. The Lions defense has given up some big yards in 2 games both rushing and passing. The Lions will need to figure out how to stop the hot Cardinals at the wrong time. Trufant may be like along with Golladay and Vaitai on offense which is a huge boost.

Matt Patricia is in do or die mode now. If the Lions have another bad defensive day. Can they blow a 5th double digit lead and lose 12 games in a row. Detroit needs a win badly but the Cardinals are playing too well right now. Nobody will be able to cover Hopkins. Detroit’s best bet is to stop the run and spy Murray like crazy.

Detroit will need Golladay and must score a ton of points to keep up with Arizona. The Lions have the firepower to do so but must avoid costly penalties and turnovers (especially pick 6). Look for a monster game from Hock similar to Week 1 in 2019. Stafford played well against Chicago but shaky in second half against Packers with the pick 6 and a few other misses. Stafford must lead this offense and take advantage of Cardinals talented yet beatable back 7-8. Patrick Peterson always dangerous and Budda Baker will bring the wood. Bryon Murphy and rookie Isiah Simmons will be key to how well the Cardinals defense performs.

Chandler Jones and former Lion Devon Kennard will lead the Cardinals rush. The Lions tackles (Decker/Vaitai) must have a good game to keep Stafford slinging the ball. Lions run game has a shot for a good game too with the committee of Peterson, Swift and Kerryon Johnson and improved run blocking. I expect a shootout, another double-digit lead blown lead and a Cardinals 34-31 win.

Packers at Saints 8:20 ET Sunday Night Football

Green Bay has looked great in two division wins over the Vikings and Lions dropped 40+ each game. The Packers defense tightened up in the second half against Detroit and got a huge pick 6 from Chandon Sullivan. Green Bay should keep rolling as the Super Dome will be nice and quiet on Sunday Night.

Saints have the offense but if Michael Thomas doesn’t play it’s a game changer. Saints beat the Bucs but missed Thomas dearly in the loss at the Raiders. Saints defense showed weaklinks against the Raiders which is bad news when you are about to face the Packers. Davante Adams is banged up though which could help the Saints.

This game will be another shootout. Packers win in a rout if they force 2 turnovers though.

Enjoy Week 3 everybody. Packers and Bears move to 3-0. Vikings and Lions fall to 0-3. Woof