Week one of the 2020 NFL season is in the books and football fans are surveying the scores and looking for the leading teams. This is the time when we get to really see what these teams have been working on in the offseason and if changes in their lineups helped or hurt their chances. For the NFC North, week one was all divisional games so we are fortunate enough to get a detailed glimpse of what we can expect from the Bears’ main rivals.
Let’s take a look at the picture in the NFC North and see how the Bears can emerge as the leaders in the division.
Green Bay Packers
The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry is legendary in the NFL world. Naturally, Bears fans look to the Packers every year to see how they’re performing and what weaknesses may be showing. The problem for the Bears is that while the Packers have had glaring issues with their team for years, the force of Aaron Rodgers alone has carried the squad through numerous seasons and this year looks like more of the same.
In their season opener, the Packers triumphed 43-34 over division adversaries the Vikings in what was an exciting game and a very revealing afternoon. What we can clearly see is that Aaron Rodgers is still in top form as he threw for 4 touchdowns. Wide receiver Davante Adams had 14 receptions, tying the franchise record. Offensively, it’s already clear that the Packers still have enough power to rival any team.
Defensively speaking, they seem to be more of the usual. The defensive line did their job for the first three quarters but fell apart in the fourth, allowing the Vikings to rally and score three touchdowns with three consecutive 2-point conversions. It certainly gives mixed feelings, but if the offense keeps up the Packers will get by like they normally do.
The rivalry between the Packers and the Bears runs deep. Yet again, the Packers have reliably strong NFL odds for their upcoming matchups but this doesn’t tell the whole story. The Packers have been getting by on the strength of Aaron Rodgers and their luck is due to run out if they don’t add in some new talent in a few crucial positions. Overall good start for Green Bay but we will have to see how they play through the rest of the season.
The Lions were at the bottom of the division last season finishing 3-12, so expectations are not high. However, In this sport, you can never take divisional wins for granted. The Bears and the Lions faced off in week one and overall it was a dramatic day to say the least. While the Bears had trouble getting their offense going, they eventually found some momentum and finished with a 27-24 win. Great start for the Bears, but what did we learn about the Lions that we can save for the rematch in December?
While the Lions were looking strong at first, they blew a huge 23-6 lead demonstrating that they are not as far removed from their previous season failures. With no other way to put it, this was a strange game in many ways for the Lions and it doesn’t bode well for the season. Linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected from the game for doing a mock headbutt to the referee. Regardless of whatever point he was getting across, you can’t touch a referee. Running back D’Andre Swift dropped a game-winning pass that was directly to his hands. Everyone can point at something to blame but the fact is he choked. Matt Stafford is a solid and talented quarterback but he needs a better squad around him to succeed. The Lions defense failed in the fourth quarter when they were needed the most. All of this amounts to another hopeful division win in the future for the Bears.
In what appears to be the story of week one, the Vikings showed some promising moments on offense but their defense was lackluster and did not contribute in what was a high scoring 43-34 game versus the Packers. In the past the Vikings have been able to lean on their defense, but some big changes in the offseason may eventually prove to be for the worse.
On offense, the Vikings showed tenacity at times but ultimately don’t look like a huge threat in the NFC North. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had some decent passes throughout, notably several touchdown passes to Adam Thielen. However, he threw an interception to Packers’ cornerback Jaire Alexander, and was also tackled in the endzone for a safety by the same player because Cousins refused to swivel his head towards the impending doom. On a positive note, running back Dalvin Cook was very productive today with two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions that helped make up the deficit from the safety. Overall, the Vikings are looking somewhat weaker than last year but it may be too early to tell. By the time they face the Bears on November 16th, we’ll have a better idea of what they bring to the table.