Week 7 NFC North Preview

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Week 7 of the NFL season has arrived. The Lions have a fluke bye and they really need it due to many injuries (Decker, Quin, Tate, Robinson, Lang, Ansah, Stafford). Let’s take a look at the other three games for the NFC North Teams.

Saints (3-2) at Packers (4-2) 1PM FOX

The Brett Hundley era officially begins as he gets his first career start due to the injury of Aaron Rodgers (collarbone/vagina). Hundley can finally show his Matt Flynn-esque upside for the Packers this week with practice with the first team.

The Saints are coming off a nice fluke win over Detroit with three (3) defensive TDs and 12 tipped balls in a 52-38 win. New Orleans has won 3 in a row after starting 0-2. The Saints offense is flying high with Drew Brees (103.3 rating) and the run game of Ingram and Kamara. The Saints defense has improved and is forcing some turnovers. How many tipped balls will Hundley have this week is the question?

New Orleans is led by Ingram (4.2 YPC) and Kamara (6.3 YPC) on the ground. The Packers allow 4.2 YPC but did a good job on the Cook- less Vikings last week in run defense. The Saints running the ball will be the key to the game to open up the Saints offense.

Green Bay allows a 91.4 QB rating but Damarius Randall has two fluke pick sixes in the last two weeks. We shall see if Davon House and Kevin King heal in time to face the Saints passing attack. Quentin Rollins is on IR so it will be up to House and King on the outside facing Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Willie Snead, Coby Fleener and Brandon Coleman.

The Saints defense is improved and picked off Stafford three times due to fluke tipped balls. Marshon Lattimore is doing well in his rookie year but gets a tough test facing either Jordy Nelson or Davante Adams. Adams has 339 yards and 5 TDs and Nelson notched 290 yards and 6 TDs in 5 games. Cobb is still a good slot player and where the Saints can be attacked. Martellus Bennett has disappointed with 216 yards and 0 TDs for the Packers so far at tight end.

The Packers run game was stuffed last week but rookie Aaron Jones did well against Chicago and Dallas. Jones has 4.8 YPC and 2 TDs on 45 carries. Montgomery is back despite a rib injury (3.2 YPC) and Jamaal Williams has struggled (3.3 YPC). The Saints can be run on by allowing 4.3 YPC but shut down the Lions injured offensive line last week. Jones and Montgomery must have good days to help Hundley in his first true start. The Packers need Bryan Bulaga, Lane Taylor and David Bakthiari back for this game. Cam Jordan can wreck games and Sheldon Rankins has played well. The Saints improved defense and turnover forcing ability has helped improve their record.

The Packers have a chance at home but the Saints offense is too strong and balanced. The Packers score more than anticipated but a Hundley pick costs them in the end.

New Orleans 28 Green Bay 24

Carolina (4-2) at Chicago (2-4) 1 PM CBS

The Panthers are coming off a long week and tough loss to the Eagles. Carolina plays well on the road though (3-0) and will head to Soldier Field. Mitch Trubisky earned his first win last week despite Chicago allowing two special team TDS to the Ravens. The Bears ran well and must continue to run well to have a chance. The Panthers front 7 is very strong but Luke Kuechly is in question with a concussion. This would be a big blow to the Panther and help the Bears offense.

Newton has thrown for an 85.3 rating with 9 TDS but 8 interceptions on the year. The Bears pass defense has struggled (90.7 rating) and Kevin Benjamin and Devin Funchess will be a challenge for Fuller, Cooper, Callahan and Amukamara. Newton is a running threat but the Panthers have struggled to run the ball. Adrian Amos had a big pick 6 on Flacco and has played really well this season replacing Quentin Demps (IR).

The Bears allow 4.0 YPC which will be tough for Jonathan Stewart (2.9) and Christian McCaffery (2.7). If Chicago can stop the run, they can force more Newton turnovers and earn short fields for Trubisky. Mitch has a 73.3 rating in his two starts so far but the Panthers should harass him. Carolina allows a 100 rating so Trubisky could have success if given time to throw. If the Panthers get good pressure, they can force turnovers, rookie mistakes and incompletions.

Chicago has a good chance in game despite the reverse records. Newton makes plays with his legs and arm this week and continue to win on the road.

Carolina 27 Chicago 21

Ravens (3-3) at Vikings (4-2) 1 PM CBS

Minnesota earned a big win against the Rodgers-less Packers last week. They have another home game facing the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens lost at home to the Bears and have a terrible offense with Joe Flacco (66.1 rating). The Vikings have a very strong defense in both run defense and coverage. Minnesota should control this game through their defense. Flacco has 4 TDS and 8 interceptions and the Vikings should feast on him. Griffen and Hunter have tough matchups with Ronnie Stanley and Austin Howard but the Vikings should generate pressure.

The Ravens get Brandon Williams back which is huge for run defense. Baltimore allows 4.3 YPC but that changes with Williams at nose tackle. Jerrick McKinnon and Latavius Murray should continue to struggle though McKinnon has made some plays the last two weeks.

Case Keenum (93.1) has done pretty well despite being the Vikings last option at QB. Bradford is still hurt and Bridgewater just started practicing. One more week of Keenum will be on the table. Baltimore is a good coverage team allowing only a 71.1 QB rating. Keenum may have trouble in this game especially if Stefon Diggs is still out for the Vikings. Thielen and Rudolph are play makers and Treadwell showed something positive against Green Bay last week. The Vikings do just enough on offense but this will be a defensive game.

Baltimore has run the ball well but Minnesota is stout in run defense. Alex Collins may have some trouble in the run game and if that is shut down, the Ravens won’t score many points in this game.

Minnesota 20 Baltimore 16