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NFC NORTH: Where all four teams stand heading into Week 11

Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books and the Detroit Lions are still at the top of the division, but the red-hot Minnesota Vikings are right on their heels and currently in the playoff picture in the NFC after their fifth straight win Sunday. Green Bay and Chicago have to get going these final eight weeks of the season to get back into the mix.

Here's a look at where things stand in the NFC North heading into Week 11:


Record: 7-2

Last game: Detroit 41, Los Angeles Chargers 38

Up next: vs. Chicago (3-7)


1. Lions' offense is a juggernaut

Need to throw it? No problem. Want to ground and pound? No problem.

Detroit has the No. 2 offense in the NFL behind only Miami after 10 weeks of football. Miami and Detroit are currently the only two teams in the NFL averaging better than 400 yards of total offense per contest and they are also the only two teams in the NFL to rank in the top five in the league in both passing and rushing. Detroit is coming off a game Sunday in which they recorded 325 net passing yards and 200 rushing yards for the first time in franchise history. They are healthy on offense and very dangerous.

2. Campbell's boldness builds confidence

Head coach Dan Campbell's aggressive approach has instilled a ton of confidence in his players with his willingness to trust them in any situation and go for it on fourth down, as we saw in Sunday's win over the Chargers.

"With our guy, I kind of lean towards we're going until he tells us we're not," quarterback Jared Goff said after the game. "And that's not just in that situation (the 4th and 2 the end of the Chargers game), that's kind of in every fourth down that we get."

The Lions were 4-of-5 converting on fourth down against the Chargers. Detroit's 12 fourth-down conversions on the season are second only to Philadelphia's 13.

3. Pass defense needs patching up

For the second time in three games against two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL (Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and Los Angeles' Justin Herbert), the Lions' defense allowed 38 points. Jackson and Herbert combined to pass for 680 yards and seven touchdowns in those contests.

Detroit's pass defense currently ranks 20th in the NFL (231.6 yards per game). If the Lions hope to beat the likes of Philadelphia or San Francisco come playoff time they'll have to find ways to get better in that part of the game.


Record: 6-4

Last game: Minnesota 27, New Orleans 19

Up next: at Denver (3-5)


1. Dobbs does it again

Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs in his second game since coming over from Arizona at the trade deadline guided the Vikings to victory. He had a 100-plus passer rating for the second game in a row and has recorded five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) and no turnovers helping the Vikings secure wins in both contests.

2. Minnesota defense finding their groove

Make it five straight wins for the Vikings and again they leaned on their defense, especially in the first half, which held an opponent to under 20 points for the fourth time in the five-game streak.

3. Is Justin Jefferson close to returning?

Jefferson returned to practice last Wednesday for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury against the Chiefs in Week 5. That return activated the 21-day window in which Minnesota can elevate him from IR to the 53-man roster. Could his return come this week in Denver?

If so, that's a big addition to a team that's already the hottest in football at the moment. Jefferson, wide receiver Jordan Addison and tight end T.J. Hockenson will make a formidable pass-catching trio for the Vikings down the stretch.


Record: 3-6

Last game: Pittsburgh 23, Green Bay 19

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5)


1. Packers' offense again can't come through late

Two Green Bay drives in the final five minutes reached the Pittsburgh red zone, but both ended with Jordan Love interceptions. It's been a recurring theme for Green Bay's offense all season. Green Bay was just 1-for-5 in the red zone in Pittsburgh Sunday in a four-point loss.

"We had an opportunity to win the game, twice, and like we've seen many times on tape, their defense makes a play," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told after the game.

2. Green Bay's rushing defense continues to struggle

Pittsburgh running backs Jaylen Warren (15-101) and Najee Harris (16-82) combined for 183 of the Steelers' 205 total rushing yards. The Packers are allowing on average 133.0 yards per game on the ground to opponents, which ranks 27th in the NFL after 10 weeks.

3. Packers rookies finding their mojo

Rookies Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave and Dontayvion Wicks combined for 10 catches, 199 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Pittsburgh. Reed had a career-high 84 receiving yards and a touchdown. He has 28 receptions for 417 yards and four touchdowns in what's been a strong rookie campaign up to this point.

View photos of the starters for the Chicago Bears.


Record: 3-7

Last game: Chicago 16, Carolina 13

Up next: at Detroit (7-2)


1. QB Justin Fields close to return

Fields has missed Chicago's last four games with a dislocated thumb in his throwing hand but with the Bears afforded 10 days between games because of playing on Thursday night there's a good chance Fields returns to action Sunday in Detroit.

"Making really good progress," general manager Ryan Poles told ESPN 1000 before their Thursday night game vs. Carolina. "You can see the velocity starting to pick up. Where he started working with a glove, now he's using his bare hand and throwing like he did before. The next step is getting more team reps, reps from under center and getting his timing, confidence and accuracy back on track."

2. Chicago defense getting healthy

The Bears' defense could be as healthy as they've been this season for their Week 11 matchup in Detroit. Safety Eddie Jackson and cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Jaylon Johnson are back after missing games with injuries. Chicago hopes to get linebacker Tremaine Edmunds back from a knee injury that forced him to miss the last two games.

Plus, newly acquired defensive end Montez Sweat (who had eight pressures vs. Carolina) will get his first full week of practice since coming over from Washington at the trade deadline.

3. Chance to make a move in division is now

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has yet to win a game against an NFC North opponent in his Chicago tenure. He'll get a chance in the next three games: at Detroit, at Minnesota, a bye week, then home vs. the Lions.

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