NFC North recap: Wild finishes end with wins for everyone—except the Lions

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Detroit fell another game behind every divisional rival.

It was another wild week in the NFC North with two games ending on a final field goal. Let’s get into it.

Packers defeat the Bengals despite late-game shenanigans, 25-22

The Bengals have been a surprise team this year that has played each of their opponents closely. Four of their five games have resulted in just a three-point margin and the other being 24-10 win over the Steelers. Sunday’s game against the Packers was no different as the Bengals gave them hell until the very end. It did get a little wacky for both teams near the end, though…

Send this right to Canton pic.twitter.com/1q6YnO0gEK

— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) October 10, 2021

It appeared for a while that neither team wanted to win this game until finally, after five straight missed field goals, Mason Crosby ended this misery, nailing a 49-yarder with 1:55 remaining in overtime.

The highlight of this one was the duel between Davante Adams and Ja’Marr Chase, both of whom accounted for over half of their respective team’s receiving yards. Chase, who had been linked to the Lions prior to last year’s draft and went two spot ahead of their pick, has been fantastic for the Bengals so far.

The Packers avoid quite the scare and win their fourth straight. Their season-opening blowout loss is feeling like a distant memory at this point.

Next game: @ Bears (3-2)

Bears cash in against the Raiders in Vegas, 20-9

The Bears got off to a comfortable lead over the Raiders heading into the half with a 14-3 lead. The Raiders managed to only score once more with a late-game touchdown, but failed to convert on their two-point conversion to try and make it a three-point game. The Bears’ defense simply shut things down, both against the run and pass.

For the second straight year, the Raiders starting off hot in their first few games, but their streakiness is their downfall. If Derek Carr and the offense can’t get things going early, then they struggle to play from behind, and the Bears’ defense did a nice job of capitalizing on key moments all game long.

The Bears continue to use their rookie QB sparingly, with Justin Fields only attempting 20 passes, but he keeps on making big plays in key situations. With no David Montgomery, the Bears rotated Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams in the backfield, both of whom averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry and had nice showings.

Next game: vs. Packers (4-1)

Vikings serve up heartbreak to the Lions on game-ending field goal, 19-17

You can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

Once again the Lions are breaking records, this time being the only team to suffer a game-losing field goal made by the opposing team as time expired in one season. But you already knew that and I don’t want to make you suffer for much longer, so let’s make it brief.

The Vikings came into this game at 1-3, but lost all of those games to some very good teams. This team is better than their record indicates, so we should at least feel somewhat good that Detroit gave them a tough game in their home stadium.

Justin Jefferson had a phenomenal game against the Lions’ secondary and Detroit had no answer for him. Not many teams do. Alexander Mattison also had a great performance if you ignore the horrible turnover that nearly won the Lions the game.

Next game: @ Panthers (3-2)

NFC North Standings after Week 5

1. Green Bay Packers (4-1)
2. Chicago Bears (3-2)
3. Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
4. Detroit Lions (0-5)

This division feels extra weird right now because I truly believe that the Lions are much better than their 0-5 record, and they probably should have at least two wins right now. The Vikings also seem better than their 2-3 record. The Bears are a complete mystery. They’ve looked solid in each of their wins, but looked horrendous against the Browns. Now they have to face the Packers and Buccaneers back-to-back, which could send them down into third place below Minnesota. The safe bet, of course, is still the Packers, who despite nearly losing to the Bengals, should still win this division comfortably unless something crazy happens.

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