It was an 0-for-4 weekend for the NFC North, as all four teams in the division lost on the road in Week 9. For teams like Detroit and Chicago, who are looking up at Green Bay and Minnesota in the standings, it was a missed opportunity to gain some ground.
Here’s a look at the headlines around the division heading into Week 10:
Last week: Los Angeles Chargers 26, Green Bay 11
Up next: vs. Carolina (5-3)
1. Rodgers questions routine and schedule leading into west-coast Los Angeles trip
Green Bay put together their worst offensive performance of the season in a 26-11 loss to the Chargers. The Packers left Green Bay a day earlier than usual to get acclimated to California, and Rogers suggested that perhaps that could have played a part in Green Bay’s sloppy performance. Rodgers implied that some players didn’t take care of themselves the right way over the two days leading up to the game.
Green Bay travels out west again in three weeks to take on the 49ers in San Francisco. Will they change things up for that trip?
2. Sunday's loss brings Packers “back to earth”
Green Bay was rolling along at 7-1 heading before putting up a complete dud of a performance against Los Angeles. The Chargers dominated every phase of the game. They out-gained Green Bay 159-45 on the ground and 442 to 184 in total offense.
“This is a good slice of humble pie for us,” Rodgers said after throwing for a season-low 161 yards and one touchdown.
3. Adams fits back into lineup
Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams returned to the lineup after missing three games with turf toe. He was targeted 11 times and caught seven passes for 41 yards. The targets and receptions led the team. He played 45 of the team’s 54 offensive snaps.
Quotable: “I just think you can never get comfortable in this league. Ever. The moment you start feeling yourself or you get comfortable, that happens,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told ESPN.com of Sunday’s loss. “Hopefully, we learn from this, we use it as motivation to have the sense of urgency in our preparation.”
Last week: Kansas City 26, Minnesota 23
Up next: at Dallas (5-3)
1. Rough day for Vikings cornerbacks
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill hit the Vikings twice for 40-plus-yard receptions that helped tilt the game in Kansas City’s favor. Minnesota’s cornerbacks gave up key catches at crucial moments throughout the game that allowed backup quarterback Matt Moore to complete 25-of-35 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown.
2. Mike Zimmer critical of offensive line play
Talking about the Kansas City game on Monday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters his offensive line needs to “finish better” after Minnesota’s offense failed to rush for 100 yards for just the second time this season against a Kansas City team ranked 29th against the run coming into the game. Only five of Dalvin Cook’s 21 runs went for more than three yards.
3. Thielen leaves game
Wide receiver Adam Thielen re-aggravated a hamstring injury that forced him to miss a couple games leading up to Sunday. He first injured the hamstring in Detroit Oct. 20 and left Sunday’s game after just seven snaps. The Vikings are unsure how much time he’ll miss due to the setback.
Quotable: “There’s some parts of the game we played really well. The deep ball on (Trae) Waynes, he’s got the guy covered and he lets the guy catch the ball,” Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The double move he got beat on wasn’t good. It’s things like that. When we’re in position, we have to make those plays.”
Last week: Oakland 31, Detroit 24
Up next: at Chicago (3-5)
1. Stafford continues hot streak
Make it three games in a row for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing for at least 300 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.0 after he tallied 406 passing yards and three scores for Detroit in their loss to Oakland. Stafford’s current 106.0 passer rating is fifth highest in the league and his 2,499 passing yards are the fourth most. He’s playing some of the best ball of his career right now.
2. No changes to defensive play calling
Detroit’s defense has been the biggest disappointment so far this season as that unit doesn’t rank better than 27th in any major statistical category. Asked Tuesday if he planned to have a bigger role in the defensive play calling moving forward, head coach Matt Patricia said he has confidence in coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. Patricia will continue to focus on all three phases of the team and not take over defensive play calling.
3. Lions sign linebacker Christian Jones to contract extension
“I think obviously we’re very excited to have Christian around and be able to continue to coach him,” Patricia said of the extension.
Jones was Detroit’s leading tackler in Oakland (11).Patricia likes the size and skill set he brings to his defense. Jones is second on the team behind Tracy Walker (54) with 40 tackles. He’s also added a couple sacks.
Quotable: “I think as you could see during the game felt like we, from the one (-yard line), we’re running the ball well enough during the game to be able to go with a little bit of a play-action,” Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Tuesday on Detroit’s last 4th and goal play at the end of the game that fell incomplete. “Thought we had good matchups, we had good size. Unfortunately we weren’t able to execute it exactly the way we wanted to.”
Last week: Philadelphia 22, Chicago 14
Up next: vs. Detroit (3-4-1)
1. Nagy’s offense fluttering in second season
The Bears had five first-half possessions in Philadelphia Sunday and recorded five three and outs for a total of minus-20 yards. They didn’t gain a first down until the final minutes of the first half.
Chicago is 29th in total offense, 30th in passing and 27th running the football. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has just five touchdown passes on the year, though Bears head coach Matt Nagy pointed out Monday that the issues on that side of the ball extend way beyond just the quarterback position.
2. No change at quarterback announced
The Lions are preparing to face Trubisky Sunday in Chicago. The Bears have not made any announcements that they plan to start backup Chase Daniel this weekend.
“Well, we’re preparing for the starter with Trubisky. We know (Chase) Daniel. We played against him last year, he started a game for (them) ... beat us,” Pasqualoni said.
“So, we have good memories. We don’t forget that stuff. So, we kind of know both. We played against both last year, so we kind of know both. But we’re going to prepare for Trubisky to be the starter and play in this game.”
3. Bears try to get right against struggling Lions' defense
Week 10 last year vs. Detroit was probably peak performance for Nagy and the Bears' offense. They scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and jumped all over the Lions, 26-0, in an eventual 34-22 victory. The Bears' offense and Lions' defense are statistically two of the worst units on their side of ball in the NFL. Neither unit ranks better than 27th in any major statistic category. Both units have to think this is an opportunity for a “get right” game this weekend.
Quotable: “The score felt a lot worse than it was,” Nagy told ESPN after Sunday’s 22-14 loss. “We just couldn’t get going and it snowballed. One thing after the next.”
Meet this week's opponents, the Chicago Bears.