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NFC NORTH: Headlines for each team

The Detroit Lions are the first team in the NFC North to hit their bye week. Detroit has Week 7 off, which means they get to sit back and watch what transpires in the division this weekend.

With six weeks now in the books, let's take a look at the biggest headline for each team heading into Week 7.


Record: 4-2

Wins: Seattle, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas

Losses: Atlanta, Minnesota

Up next: vs. Saints (3-2)

Headline: Can the Packers withstand the loss of Aaron Rodgers?

There might not be a player outside of maybe Tom Brady that means as much to his football team than Aaron Rodgers means to the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately for the Packers, they'll be without their MVP quarterback for the foreseeable future after he broke the collarbone on his throwing arm in Sunday's loss in Minnesota.

The Packers No. 1 priority now is getting third-year quarterback Brett Hundley ready to take over the reins of the Packers' offense.  

Hundley, a former fifth-round pick out of UCLA, has never started a game in the NFL, and had never played a meaningful snap in the regular season until Sunday.  

Key stat: Hundley threw three interceptions Sunday on 34 pass attempts. That's the same amount of interceptions Rodgers had thrown this season in 193 attempts.

Quotable: "I've got three years invested in Brett Hundley, two years invested in Joe Callahan," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "The quarterback room is exactly where it needs to be, OK?

"We're fortunate to have a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. We're committed to the path that we're on. We need to play better as a football team. Brett Hundley, he'll be starting this week and Joe Callahan will be the backup."


Record: 4-2

Wins: New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Green Bay

Losses: Pittsburgh, Detroit

Up next: vs. Baltimore (3-3)

Headline: Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater cleared for practice

Just over 13 and a half months since suffering a devastating knee injury in the final practice of the 2016 preseason, the Vikings quarterback will make his return to the practice field this week after getting clearance from doctors.

The 25-year-old dislocated his left knee and tore multiple ligaments, including his ACL, on a non-contact play on Aug. 30, 2016

Bridgewater will likely be brought back slowly, but there's certainly a chance he could eventually take back the starting job from Sam Bradford or Case Keenum. The former first-round pick very well could be their best option at the position as soon as he's ready to play.

Key stat: The Vikings have a passer rating of 99.3 as a team this season, which is the sixth-best in the league.

Quotable: "It's great," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of getting Bridgewater back at practice. "He's worked extremely hard — obviously not only him, the training staff, the doctors, (strength and conditioning coach) Mark Uyeyama, all those guys have done a great job with him, trying to rehab him and get him ready to practice.

"It's a great deal for Teddy, and we'll take it one day at a time, just like we have the last 14 months."


Record: 3-3

Wins: Arizona, New York Giants, Minnesota

Losses: Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans

Next up: Bye week

Headline: What's wrong with Detroit's offense?

The easy answer is a lot of different things, which unfortunately, might not be a quick fix. The two most pressing problems are that Detroit can't protect their quarterback or run the football with any level of reliable consistency. Together, those are a terrible combination.

No quarterback in the NFL has been sacked as many times as Stafford has (23). He's endured 17 of them in just the last three weeks.

Ameer Abdullah's 342 rushing yards rank 15th in the NFL, but his average of 3.8 yards per attempt is 30th. Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who was a former quarterbacks coach before taking over Detroit's offense, has admitted that he's still learning how to effectively set up and call a run game. His inexperience in that department has shown a bit early on.

The bye week came at a good time for the Lions both on the injury front and that it gives Cooter and Co. an opportunity to evaluate their issues on offense and try and fix them.

Key stat: The Lions finished the last three seasons 19th (340.8), 20th (346.7) and 21st (338.8) in total offense per game. They currently rank 28th (298.0) this season.

Quotable: "We've had some good moments and some bad moments," quarterback Matthew Stafford of the team's 3-3 start. "I think we've been up and down which we got to work that out. We got to be trending in the right direction at all times and playing at a higher level.

"It's myself included. I think we're banged up. We got to have guys find a way to get back healthy as soon as possible and come and help us, and go from there. There's a lot to learn, not only from this game, but the other first five and we'll learn from that and go from there."


Record: 2-4

Wins: Pittsburgh, Baltimore

Losses: Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Minnesota

Up next: vs Carolina (4-2)

Headline: Trubisky goes on the road to record first career victory

The numbers weren't eye-popping for Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday (8-of-16 for 113 yards and one touchdown), but he played winning football on the road in a tough environment in Baltimore.

In the end, winning is all that matters.

Trubisky showed mobility, accuracy and poise in leading Chicago to an overtime victory in Baltimore. The Bears relied heavily on the road with Trubisky making his first road start, but their rookie signal caller did a nice job managing the game and guiding them to a win. He's only going to keep getting better the more he plays.

Key stat: The Bears' defense recorded three takeaways against Baltimore, which is just the second time in 38 games under head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio they've accomplished that feat, per the Chicago Sun-Times.

Quotable: "He's a different kind of guy," Bears receiver Kendall Wright told of Trubisky. "Mitch is a baller. He gets better every week, and nothing bothers him."

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