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NFC NORTH: How the quarterbacks have fared so far this season

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and consistent play at that position usually gives teams the best chance to win on gameday.

For this week's NFC North update, we take a look at the quarterback play so far in the division for Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago.


Record: 5-1

Last week: Detroit 20, Tampa Bay 6

Quarterback: Jared Goff

Stat line: 141-of-203 (69.5), 1,618 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT, 105.1 rating

Key stat: Goff leads the NFL with 29 completions of 20-plus yards. He's also No. 1 with seven touchdown passes of 20-plus yards. Goff has a 149.3 rating through six games on passes that travel at least 21 yards in the air.

Quotable: "If (Goff) keeps playing the way he's playing the sky is the limit for us," Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said of his quarterback after Sunday's win in Tampa Bay.

Twentyman: It's not hyperbole to start talking about Goff in the MVP conversation, especially if he continues to play the way he's been playing and the Lions continue to win. Goff has a lot of moving parts in and out of the lineup and he still plays at an elite level and leads a top five offense.

He completed passes to 10 different players in the win over the Bucs and he makes everyone around him better. Like St. Brown said, if Goff continues playing the way he has through the first month and a half of the season, the Lions could do some real damage in the NFC.


Record: 2-3

Last week: Bye

Quarterback: Jordan Love

Stat line: 90-of-162 (55.6), 1,083 yards, 8 TD, 6 INT, 77.3 rating

Key stat: Love is just 26-of-47 passing for 281 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and two sacks on third down this season. His 69.5 passer rating on third down ranks 30th among qualified passers.

Quotable: "We've got five games that we can really look back at," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told ahead of their bye. "We've just got to take a good hard look at maybe how our opponents are seeing us and what teams are doing to us from a defensive perspective that is giving us some problems, and maybe we can get in front of some of these things so they don't re-occur."

Twentyman: Love got off to a hot start with six touchdowns and no interceptions in Green Bay's first two games but once the league's defensive coordinators get some film on a first-year starter things will start to get more difficult.

Love has a big arm and all the athletic traits to play the position at a high level but he has to improve his completion percentage and hit on the throws that are there that he's missing.


Record: 2-4

Last week: Minnesota 19, Chicago 13

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins

Stat line: 158-of-235 (67.2), 1,679 yards, 14 TD, 4 INT, 100.6 rating

Key stat: The passing numbers are good for Cousins, but the record doesn't correlate until you dig a little deeper and realize Cousins leads the NFL with seven total fumbles and four lost fumbles. Some of those have been game wreckers for the Vikings. Cousins' eight total giveaways is the second most in the NFL to only Patriots QB Mac Jones (9).

Quotable: "We need to be much better on offense," Cousins told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune after Sunday's win in Chicago. "It's probably a combination of things there, in the second half, especially. We want to get more going in the second half. But it does feel good to win on the road in the division. Happy to win. I'll sleep better tonight knowing that we won."

Twentyman: The Vikings' defense was the real catalyst in their win Sunday in Chicago as the offense struggled to find any consistency without All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who missed the first of what will be at least four games while he's on IR with a hamstring injury.

How Cousins and the Vikings' offense are able to navigate this stretch without their best player will be key to them staying in the North race. Great quarterbacks elevate the play of everyone else around them. Will Cousins be able to do that over their next three games vs. San Francisco (Monday Night Football), at Green Bay and at Atlanta?

View photos of the starters for the Baltimore Ravens.


Record: 1-5

Last week: Minnesota 19, Chicago 13

Quarterback: Justin Fields

Stat line: 100-of-162 (61.7), 1,201 yards, 11 TD, 6 INT, 91.6 rating

Key stat: Fields' strength through the early portion of the season has been his ability to connect on deep shots. His five touchdowns on passes that travel at least 21 yards in the air leads the NFL and he's thrown no interceptions on those throws. His 130.1 rating on those passes is the sixth best in the league. On throws under 21 yards in the air he's thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions.

Quotable: Chicago head coach Matt Eberflus said Monday that Fields is doubtful for this week's game vs. Las Vegas in Chicago after leaving Sunday's game with a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand. Eberflus said there was no timetable for Fields' return: "It's really going to come down to grip strength."

Twentyman: If Chicago is going to claw their way out of the NFC North basement, they are going to need Fields back on the field sooner rather than later. The hope in Chicago is that he didn't suffer any ligament damage.

Fields has found a reliable No. 1 weapon on the outside in D.J. Moore and Fields is still as dangerous as ever running the football. He's under a lot of pressure in Chicago but can still prove he's the guy moving forward if he gets cleared to return and plays the way he was the last couple weeks before the injury.

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