NFC NORTH

NFC NORTH: What do we know about the division heading into Week 6?

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Senior writer Tim Twentyman takes a closer look at the four teams in the NFC North

The sixth week of the NFL season is upon us and everyone in the NFC North is looking up at the Chicago Bears 4-2) after their victory Thursday night over the New York Giants.

The Detroit Lions have a chance to match the Bears’ record with a win in Cleveland on Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers can get themselves over .500 for the first time this season and right into the race win a win over Baltimore.

Bears, GiantsChicago Bears LB Lance Briggs and DE Corey Wootton sack Giants' QB Eli Manning (Photo: AP Images)

BEARS

Record: 4-2

Beat: Cincinnati (24-21), Minnesota (31-30), Pittsburgh (40-23) and the New York Giants (27-21)

Lost to: Detroit (40-32) and New Orleans (26-18)

Week 6 opponent: Defeated the New York Giants, 27-21, on Thursday night

Stat pack: The Bears have scored 62 points off turnovers this year. That ranks No. 1 in the NFL. The league average is 28.

Quotable: "We see things each and every week that tell us we cannot just be good, we can be very good," Bears coach Marc Trestman told ESPN.com after Thursday’s win. "But we also know there's a lot of work ahead."

Twentyman: The Bears are winning with a pretty good formula of taking care of the football and getting big plays from their defense. In their loss to Detroit, Jay Cutler turned the ball over four times and the defense didn’t get the big play. As long as Cutler continues to spread the ball around and not turn it over the Bears should be in the race to the end.

LIONS

Record: 3-2

Beat: Minnesota (34-24), Washington (27-20) and Chicago (40-32)

Lost to: Arizona (25-21) and Green Bay (22-9)

Week 6 opponent: at Cleveland (3-2)

Stat pack: The Browns are tied for third in the league with 18 sacks and are fourth with 301.8 yards allowed per game.

Quotable: "One of the big things that affected us last week was the negative plays," head coach Jim Schwartz said of the loss in Green Bay. "We had too many second-and-15’s and things like that. We need to avoid those. We need to protect the quarterback, but also be able to run the football."

Twentyman: Sunday will be the fourth road game in the Lions first six games. If they win in Cleveland, they’ll be 2-2 on the road this season and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Lions could have Calvin Johnson (knee) back against the Browns after he missed his first game in three seasons last week. Obviously, that would be a big boost to an offense that struggled without him. Whether the Lions have Johnson or not, the offensive line has to have a much better performance than they did in Green Bay. Detroit has been good on offense this year when they’ve won the battle upfront.

PACKERS

Record: 2-2

Beat: Washington (38-20) and Detroit (22-9)

Lost to: San Francisco (34-28) and Cincinnati (34-30)

Week 6 opponent: at Baltimore (3-2)

Stat pack: The Packers have dipped from No. 3 in the NFL last season in red-zone touchdown percentage (68.1) to tied for No. 13 this year (56.3).

Quotable: "We’re not going to change our approach, the way we train our red zone," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I’ve had to answer these questions before. It’s been four weeks. It’s not quite where we want it to be, but we have confidence it’s going to get there."

Twentyman: The Packers are going to be just fine offensively with Aaron Rodgers, that trio of receivers, and a much improved run game. Defensively, they have some issues, though, especially without All Pro linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb) for the next month or so. They'll win with their offense.

VIKINGS

Record: 1-3

Beat: Pittsburgh (34-27)

Lost to: Detroit (34-24), Chicago 31-30) and Cleveland (31-27)

Week 6 opponent: vs. Carolina (1-3)

Stat pack: The Vikings have scored a first-quarter touchdown in eight straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The Panthers' haven’t allowed a touchdown in the first 15 minutes in eight consecutive games, also the leagues longest streak. Which streak continues and which one is broken on Sunday?

Quotable: "I would be lying if I didn’t say it’s a little disappointing and frustrating," Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder told the Minneapolis Star Tribune about being benched for Matt Cassel on Sunday. "But I’m not going to get too discouraged about it. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what the next few weeks, few months hold. We’ll see how everything plays out."

Twentyman: The Vikings need better play out of the quarterback position, which is why they went out and signed free agent Josh Freeman last week and will start Matt Cassel again this week. The Vikings have the best run-game in the NFL and a much improved receiving corps. They could be an offensive juggernaut with more consistent play at quarterback.