The Green Bay Packers annihilated the Seattle Seahawks last week, and dominated offensively and defensively. They are chasing the Detroit Lions, who barely beat Chicago on Sunday. Minnesota is on a cold streak, but got a win against the Jaguars last week. The Bears are officially eliminated from the playoff race, so will it be the Pack, the Lions, or the Vikes? We’ll compare these teams from top to bottom, and decide which team will win the NFC North.
Matthew Stafford is slinging the football pretty good this season, and he has led the Lions to a 9-4 record. Stafford has thrown for 3447 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions. That is good for a 97.8 passer rating. Stafford has been extremely accurate this season, and is limiting the turnovers. Stafford is in the MVP candidacy, and has filled the bill for Detroit.
Sam Bradford is meeting expectations for the Vikings this season. The Vikes are 7-6, and are in the hunt in the NFC. Bradford has thrown 2954 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Bradford has been mostly a game-manager for the Vikings, and is often scared to take a gamble on a throw down the field. This shows with Bradford’s 71.2% completion rate. Bradford has a 98.2 passer rating.
Aaron Rodgers has had a rollercoaster season, but it seems that Rodgers has finally returned to his MVP level after a two year drought. Ever since he predicted that the Packers would ‘run the table’, the Packers haven’t lost a game, and are in a comfortable position to make a run for the NFC North division title. Rodgers has thrown for 3529 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. That is good for a 101.1 passer rating. As long as Aaron Rodgers is on a hot streak, I believe that the 7-6 Packers will run the table.
This might seem obvious, but Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in not just the NFC North, but in the entire NFC.
Edge: Green Bay Packers
The Lions have not relied on running backs at all this season. Ameer Abdullah got injured in week one, and was immediately put on season-ending IR. Their leading rusher is Theo Riddick with 357 yards and a touchdown, and the Line rely completely on Matt Stafford. Riddick is best catching the ball out of the backfield. He has scored 5 reaching touchdowns, and has 371 receiving yards
The Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson is injured, and Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata have both been very poor. Combined, the two backs have 236 carries, for 742 yards, and 7 touchdowns. That’s right, the two starting running backs for the Minnesota Vikings are only averaging a combined 3.1 yards per carry. Yikes!
The Green Bay Packers have suffered the same fates as the Lions and Viking. Eddie Lacy got injured and was put on IR as well. The Packers two leading rushers are Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers. Lacy only played in 5 games, and Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback! But in recent weeks Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael have emerged as the Packers starting running backs, and they have been very solid in short yardage situations. Combined, Montgomery and Michael combine for 4.4 yards per carry.
Here, all of these teams have struggled at the halfback position. I believe that the Packers have been the better of the three, but I’m calling this a tie.
Wide Receiver Corps
The Lions wide receiving corps are deep, and are led by Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Anquan Boldin. Tate has been Matthew Stafford’s favorite target. He has caught 71 balls, for 820 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Anquan Boldin has been a red-zone threat, as he has caught 7 touchdowns. Marvin Jones is a solid deep threat, but he has dealt with inconsistencies and injury concerns.
The Minnesota Vikings receiving corps are led by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Diggs has been Bradford’s most explosive target, as he has caught 78 balls, for 861 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Thielen has caught 56 balls, for 758 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Thielen has been Bradford’s security blanket throughout the season. Kyle Rudolph serves as the Vikings red-zone threat. He has a knack for the end-zone, and has visited it 6 times!
The Green Bay Packers receiving corps are exceptionally deep. Jordy Nelson leads the Packers receiving corps. Nelson has come back strong from his ACL surgery, and his magnificent statistics prove it. Nelson has 913 receiving yards and an absolutely awesome 12 touchdowns receptions. This season, a new star has emerged for the Packers in Davante Adams. Adams has posted career highs in every category, and has 897 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Randall Cobb has been very quiet, but has but up respectable stats. He has 610 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.
For me, this is an easy selection. Aaron Rodgers has a tremendous amount of mouths to feed, and he is doing a fantastic job feeding them.
Edge: Green Bay Packers
The Detroit Lions offensive line has been average. The Lions offensive line has allowed 30 sacks, which ranks 19th in the NFL. Lions ball carriers only average 3.8 yards per carry, which ranks 25th in the NFL. The Lions offensive line hasn’t been too terrible, but they certainly haven’t been very good either.
The Minnesota Vikings offensive line has been putrid! The Vikes have allowed 29 sacks, which is 15th in the NFL, but their ball carriers average an absolutely ATROCIOUS 3 yards per carry, which is last in the NFL.
The Green bay Packers offensive line has been good. They have only allowed 26 sacks, which is 12th in the NFL, and Packers ball carriers average 4.2 yards per carry, which is 15th in the NFL.
The offensive lines of the NFC North have been very average, but the Packers offensive line is the best. Aaron Rodgers seems to have all day to throw, and that helps him find open receivers.
Edge: Green Bay Packers
The Detroit Lions defensive line is lousy! They only have 22 sacks, which is 28th in the NFL, and they allow 4.3 yards per carry, which is 20th in the NFL. Their poor defensive line has not affected their record, but it would definitely help in close games to have a consistent pass rush. Hoever, Kerry Hyder has been a bright spot for the Lions defensive line. He has 8 sacks, which leads the team, and ranks 13th in the NFL. The 25 year old has been a pleasant surprise for the Lions. The youngster out of Texas Tech is an explosive threat to opposing quarterbacks.
The Minnesota Vikings defensive line has been very good. They have 35 sacks, which is 4th in the NFL, and they allow 4.3 yards per carry, which ranks 20th in the NFL. The Vikings great pass rush is a huge reason why the Vikings have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. The Vikings defensive line is led by Danielle Hunter, who has burst onto the scene. He has 10.5 sacks, which ranks 6th in the NFL. The sophomore out of LSU has really blossomed into a great NFL talent.
The Green Bay Packers defensive line is fantastic. They rank 6th in the NFL with 33 sacks, and they only allow 4 yards per carry, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers pass rush can be inconsistent at times, but when that defensive line gets hot, quarterbacks start to get a little scared in the pocket. The Packers defensive line is full of superstars, including Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Mike Daniels, and Dean Lowry.
The Packers have the best defensive line in the NFL. They are filled with talent, and come to play every game!
Edge: Green Bay Packers
The Detroit Lions secondary ranks 19th in the NFL at defending the pass. The Lions secondary has allowed 22 touchdown passes, which ranks 19th in the NFL, and they have intercepted 8 passes, which ranks 24th in the NFL. Glover Quin leads the Lions secondary with his exceptional ball skills and play-recognition.
The Minnesota Vikings secondary ranks 9th at defending the pass. They have allowed 14 touchdown passes, which ranks 6th in the NFL, and they have picked off only 3 passes, which is second worst in the NFL. Xavier Rhodes leads the Vikings secondary, with 4 interceptions, and he has really turned out to be a great NFL talent.
The Green Bay Packers secondary has been very inconsistent. It feels like they’re either allowing 400 yards to Kirk Cousins, or intercepting 5 balls from Russell Wilson. What is the difference between good Packers secondary and a bad one. Damarious Randall. Take a look at the Packers schedule. When he was out with injury, the Packers secondary was clueless, and looked absolutely dreadful. Once he returned, the Packers secondary was back on track. He is the Packers X-factor in the secondary. Don’t let the stats fool you, the Packers secondary is back on track.
The Packers and Vikings secondaries are both fantastic, but the difference-maker is that the Vikings are consistently the best. The Packers secondary has been very much comparable to a rollercoaster!
Edge: Minnesota Vikings
Coaching and Conclusion
Detroit Lions: Jim Caldwell
Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer
Green Bay Packers: Mike McCarthy
I know that Mike McCarthy has led the Packers to all of the postseasons and all of the wins, and that he should’ve gotten the edge, but he has made some questionable decisions that have derailed the Packers franchise, and that’s why I couldn’t give him the edge. I predict that the Packers will go 10-6 and win the NFC North. The Lions will finish 9-7 and finish 2nd in the NFC North. The Vikings will finish 9-7 and 3rd in the NFC North. Mark my words, the Packers will run the table, the Lions will lose the rest of their games, and the Packers will appear in the Super Bowl 51.