NFC NORTH: 3 observations from each team's debut

It's full steam ahead into Week 2 of the NFL season for the four teams in the NFC North after Week 1 saw a division matchup between Green Bay and Chicago, an impressive win by Minnesota, and a disappointing tie for Detroit.

Here are a few observations from Week 1 for all four teams in the NFC North:


Last game: Green Bay 10, Chicago 3

Next game: vs. Minnesota (1-0)

Three Week 1 observations:

1. Green Bay's new and improved defense looks legit

The revamped unit held Chicago to 254 total yards of offense and just 46 rushing yards. The biggest additions this offseason were Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith on the edges. Preston Smith had 1.5 sacks, Za'Darius Smith had a sack, and Green Bay had five sacks total in the game.

2. Matt LaFleur's offense is still a work in progress

Chicago has one of the best defenses in the league, but watching Green Bay last Thursday there certainly looks to be some kinks that need to be worked out offensively. The Packers had just 213 total yards and punted nine times.

3. Third down was not kind to Green Bay

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is usually so dangerous on third down with his accuracy and athleticism. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Green Bay was just 2-of-12 on third down. That 17 percent conversion rate ranks 31st in the league after one week.

Stat that jumps out: The Packers and Bears combined to reach the red zone just three times total in the game. Green Bay was 1-for-2 and Chicago 0-for-1.

Quotable: "That's a really good defense, and they're going to give a lot of people fits," Rodgers told "But I think from my standpoint, I can do a better job getting us out of the huddle, and obviously, I missed a couple throws."

View photos of Detroit Lions players building rockets with students from Detroit Lions Academy as part of Season Launch Week presented by Rocket Mortgage Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Allen Park, Mich.


Last game: Minnesota 28, Atlanta 12

Next game: at Green Bay (1-0)

Three Week 1 observations:

1. The run game is back

Dalvin Cook carried the ball 21 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Cook didn't carry the ball 20 times in a single game last year. It's a new offense in Minnesota under coordinator Kevin Stefanski, and they came out and ran the ball 38 times for a total of 172 yards (4.5 average).

2. The big three upfront are off to a good start

Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph, Minnesota's Pro-Bowl trio upfront, all recorded a sack Week 1 vs. Atlanta. They combined for nine tackles, five tackles for loss and four quarterback hits as well.

3. Old school victory

In today's high-flying, pass-first NFL, Minnesota beat Atlanta Sunday pounding the ball and playing good defense. It was a throwback performance that saw quarterback Kirk Cousins attempt just 10 passes. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, NFL teams had attempted 10 or fewer passes in a game exactly twice over the last decade. Denver attempted eight passes in a win over Kansas City in 2011 and Chicago threw seven in a win over Carolina in 2017.

Stat that jumps out: Minnesota put a lot of resources into revamping their offensive line this offseason. That unit plowed the way for 172 rushing yards and allowed just a single sack. So far so good for Minnesota.

Quotable: "Throwing it 10 times is really unique. I probably haven't had a game with that few attempts since literally, Pop Warner. It was what the game called for," Cousins told FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul. "I have no problem with being conservative as long as we win the football game. That's all that matters to me. We found a way to get the win, so the approach was a great approach."

DETROIT (0-0-1)

Last game: Detroit 27, Arizona 27 (OT)

Next game: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)

Three Week 1 observations:

1. T.J. Hockenson is going to be good

It was only one game, but those who have attended every practice since the Lions started training camp in late July weren't surprised by Sunday's six-catch, 131-yard, one touchdown performance. That's what we've seen from Hockenson in practice since the first day he stepped on the field. He won't always be as productive as he was Sunday, but he's going to be a good player.

2. The timeout wasn't the issue

People have focused on the late timeout being the difference in the game, but let's not forget the Lions had another crack at 3rd and 5 coming out of the timeout and didn't get it done. The timeout didn't lose the game for the Lions, poor execution in all three phases down the stretch did.

3. O-line still a question mark

The offensive line and the shuffling the Lions did up there this offseason was one of the bigger question marks for this team heading into the season. The three players shuffled around in the interior – Joe Dahl, Frank Ragnow and Graham Glasgow – played pretty well. It was tackles Taylor Decker and Rick Wagner (four hurries allowed each) that Arizona exploited. The Lions allowed 22 total pressures vs. the Cardinals, per Pro Football Focus statistics, the most of any team Week 1.

Stat that jumps out: Detroit completed seven passes of 21-plus yards against Arizona, tied with Dallas for the most in the NFL Week 1.

Quotable: "We've talked a lot about Arizona, we're kind of full steam ahead here on the Chargers," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. "We're working through a lot of issues here that we have to deal with this weekend. (Chargers Head Coach, Anthony) Lynn has done a great job with this team getting them ready to go and really just the improvement they've made over the last two years has been outstanding. It'll be a big challenge for us, but we're excited to get home. We're excited to be in front of our fans. We're excited to get in our stadium and get the noise going and see what happens."

Meet this week's opponents, the Los Angeles Chargers.


Last game: Green Bay 10, Chicago 3

Next game: at Denver (0-1)

Three Week 1 observations:

1. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has to be better

It wasn't a great start to the 2019 campaign for the third-year signal caller. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes, had no touchdowns and threw a bad interception in the end zone late. He finished the game with a 62.1 passer rating.

2. No Fangio, no problem

One of the big question marks coming into the year for Chicago was how that defense would perform under Chuck Pagano vs. Vic Fangio, who left as Chicago's defensive coordinator to be the head coach in Denver. The Bears held the Packers to just 10 points and don't rank worse than sixth in any major statistical category on defense after the first week of football.

3. Leonard Floyd off to good start

The fourth-year linebacker had two sacks, four tackles and two tackles for loss in the game. He hasn't been able to replicate his seven-sack rookie season the last two years (8.5 sacks combined in 2017-18). That's a good start for him, and if he plays well, that Bears' defense is that much better.

Stat that jumps out: The Bears were the only team in the NFL Week 1 who didn't run a single successful play in the red zone. They were 0-for-3.

Quotable: "There were things we were looking to have happen from him — and things he accomplished and things we need to improve on," Bears quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone told the Chicago Sun-Times when asked about Trubisky's slow start.

"Regardless of that being a win or a loss, we always strive to get better at fundamentals, get better with our eyes. There is no perfect game. When you have a loss, you self-evaluate just like after a win, and that's something we're doing this week."

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