We're only two weeks into the 2023 NFL season but already Minnesota and Chicago have put themselves behind the eight ball to start with 0-2 records. Detroit and Green Bay are leading the division with identical 1-1 records after all four teams in NFC North were defeated Week 2. Detroit and Green Bay will meet for the first time this season Week 4 in Green Bay on Thursday Night Football.
Let's check in with all four teams in the NFC North as they prepare for Week 3:
Win: at Chicago (38-20)
Loss: at Atlanta (25-24)
Week 3 opponent: vs. New Orleans (2-0)
Key stat: Quarterback Jordan Love is the new starter in Green Bay, and he's been pretty good to start the year. His 118.7 passer rating leads the NFL, as do his six touchdown passes. His 55.8 completion percentage ranks 29th, however.
Twentyman: The Packers have played seven pretty good quarters of football to start the year, but the fourth quarter Sunday was not their best effort. The Falcons gained 166 yards on 25 plays and scored a touchdown and two field goals to erase a 12-point deficit.
Green Bay possessed the ball twice in the fourth quarter with a lead and once while trailing. They gained 11 total yards on 10 plays – two three-and-outs and a four-and-out to end it. They were without some key pieces on offense.
Overall the Packers look to be Detroit's top competition in the North early on this season.
Win: at Kansas City (21-20)
Loss: vs. Seattle (37-31)
Week 3 opponent: vs. Atlanta (2-0)
Key stat: Finish. That's got to be a buzz word this week for the Lions' defense. Detroit's pass rush has generated 34 hurries in two games, per Pro Football Focus, but has just one sack to show for it. Detroit's also allowed the two quarterbacks they've faced Weeks 1 & 2 – Patrick Mahomes and Geno Smith – to rush nine times for 65 yards (7.2 avg.).
Twentyman: Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Sunday's overtime loss to Seattle was a little bit of humble pie for his team and could actually be something that helps them in the long run as he expects it to refocus everyone ahead of this week's matchup at Ford Field vs. Atlanta.
Quarterback Jared Goff is playing really good football right now as he's top five in the league in yards (576), touchdowns (4) and passer rating (109.0). The offense is playing pretty good ball.
Defensively, the Lions have held both Kansas City and Seattle to under 100 yards rushing. They've got to marry their pass rush and coverage a little better moving forward.
Losses: vs. Tampa Bay (20-17), at Philadelphia (34-28)
Week 3 opponent: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)
Key stat: The Vikings lead the NFL with seven turnovers in two games. They are last in turnover differential at minus-six. The percentage of Minnesota drives ending in a turnover is a league-leading 27.3 percent.
Twentyman: The turnovers have just been killers for the Vikings. They have a minus-six turnover differential in two games, and they've lost by a combined nine points to two teams that made the playoffs last year.
They have a top 10 offense in terms of total yards. Quarterback Kirk Cousins in second in passing yards (708), tied for first in touchdowns (6) and second in passer rating (114.2). His on-target percentage of 79.5 percent is second to only Jalen Hurts (86.5). Unfortunately, he also leads the NFL in fumbles lost with three.
The Vikings are 18th in total defense and have played good enough on that side of the ball to win games. Their offense and special teams have just put them in terrible spots with the turnovers. Sunday is a critical game for Minnesota as they face a Chargers team that is also 0-2 and also desperate for a win.
View photos from the Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions Week 2 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 17 in Detroit, MI.
Losses: vs. Green Bay (38-20), at Tampa Bay (27-17)
Week 3 opponent: at Kansas City (1-1)
Key stat: Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield had 317 passing yards and a 114.5 passer rating against the Bears in Week 2. The Bears' defense allowed Packers quarterback Jordan Love to throw for 245 yards with a 123.2 passer rating Week 1. The Bears have allowed a passer rating of 114 or higher in their last four games dating back to last season, per the Chicago Sun-Times.
Twentyman: It doesn't get any easier for Chicago as next up is a road game in Kansas City. The Chiefs are 11.5-point favorites early in the week.
Justin Fields was 16-of-29 passing for 211 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a passer rating of 61.1 in the loss to Tampa Bay Sunday. His three interceptions in two games are the second most in the NFL. He's been sacked 10 times, which is also the second most in the league. His 70.7 passer rating ranks 26th. Something tells me Bears fans were expecting a little more from Fields in his third season at the helm of Chicago's offense, especially after Chicago tried to get him more weapons this offseason.
The NFL is a passing league and Chicago is currently 0-2 because they haven't thrown it particularly well or defended the pass very well the first two weeks of the season.