It's a testament to how good the NFC North has been early on this season, and a little wacky at the same time. The Packers are only the third-best team in the division, based on the standings and would be the No. 6 seed. The Bears lead the division at 5-1 after beating the Lions (2-4) on Monday night, while the surprising Vikings are in second place at 5-2.
Given the NFC North flare at the top of the NFC standings, let’s take a look at where I have those four ranked among the 32 teams in the NFL.
No. 5: Bears (5-1)
I have a pair of 5-2 teams (Giants and 49ers) ranked higher than the Bears because of the simple fact that the Bears have still to beat a team with a winning record. That’s not really their fault, the schedule is the schedule and the Bears have taken care of their business, but they lost handedly to the Packers in their one matchup with a winning team this season.
No. 6: Packers (4-3)The Packers seem to be back on track after two impressive victories over the Texans and Rams the last two weeks. The loss to the Colts put them right behind the Bears in my book. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has no touchdowns and no interceptions over his last two games, is back to playing like an MVP again. We’ll have to wait and see what the impact of losing Charles Woodson on defense will be, but the Pack are back at 4-3.
No. 8. Vikings (5-2)
You just keep waiting for the bottom to fall out and it never does. The Vikings were even able to win with a poor performance from quarterback Christian Ponder this past week in a victory over the Cardinals. Running back Adrian Peterson is in beast mode this season and that defense continues to play well. I know it’s early, but there should be some rumblings for Leslie Frazier as coach of the year if this keeps up.
No. 16 Lions (2-4)
Some might think this is a little high of a ranking for the Lions, but I see a team that’s ranked No. 4 on offense and No. 8 on defense and wonder how they can be 2-4. How about giving up four return touchdowns in a two-game span? Or maybe turning the ball over three times in the red zone Monday night against the Bears? This looks correctable based on the talent available, but can the coaches get it turned around?
Around the NFC North
Lions' Suh professes respect for Cutler
Vaughn McClure – Tribune
Cutler 'good to go' vs. Panthers after 'clean' hit on ribs
Fred Mitchell – Tribune
Biggs: 10 thoughts after Bears' win over Lions
Brad Biggs – Tribune
Grading the Bears
Mark Potash – Sun-Times
Bears remain in first place in NFC North with 13-7 win over Lions
Sean Jensen – Sun-Times
Bears defense dominates
Larry Mayer – chicagobears.com
Short week forces Ponder to forget about awful week
Dan Wiederer – Star Tribune
Vikings win but have much to improve on
Adrian Peterson's big game a sign of things to come
Brian Murphy – Pioneer Press
Vikings hold out Adrian Peterson, limit others in only practice of week
Tom Pelissero – 1500ESPN
Packers' Woodson out with broken collarbone
Tom Silverstein – Journal Sentinel
Who will replace Woodson as leader
Vic Ketchman – packers.com
Packers No. 6 seed in NFC North, but only third in NFC North
Mike Vandermause – Press Gazette