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NFC NORTH: Where teams stand after Week 2

The Detroit Lions have taken the early lead in the NFC North, but they have their toughest test of the season up next as they host the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on Sunday.

Green Bay gets a bit of a reprieve in Week 3 after starting the season with Seattle and Atlanta. They host the winless Bengals in Week 3.

Both Minnesota and Chicago have tough matchups at home in what should be an interesting Week 3 in the division.


Last game: Detroit 24, New York Giants 10

Next game: vs. Atlanta (2-0)

Week 3 look ahead: The Detroit Lions find themselves atop the NFC North after losses by Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago in Week 2.

Many consider this week a measuring stick game for the Lions after securing wins in their first two contests of the season.

Atlanta's three-headed monster of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman are as good as it gets in the NFL.

Detroit's been terrific on defense so far this season. They're eighth overall in points allowed (16.5) and fourth against the run (53.5). Sunday will be their toughest test to date, however.

The odds makers in Las Vegas are expecting a close contest, and Ford Field should be rocking on Sunday. A game against the defending NFC champions this early in the season should tell the Lions a lot about where they stand in the landscape of the NFC.

The Falcons are coming off an impressive, 34-23, win over Green Bay.

Stat that jumps out: Detroit leads the NFC with a plus-three turnover differential. Only Baltimore ( 7) is higher in the NFL.

Quotable: "Yeah, you know, doesn't guarantee you much," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said of his team's 2-0 start. "Only thing it guarantees you is that you won't be 1-15, that's about it, so still got a lot of work to do."


Last game: Atlanta 34, Green Bay 23

Next game: vs. Cincinnati (0-2)

View photos of the starters for the Atlanta Falcons.

Week 3 look ahead: Things are expected to get much easier for the Packers' defense in Week 3. After facing the high-flying Falcons offense in Week 2, Green Bay welcomes the Bengals to Lambeau Field on Sunday. The Bengals have yet to score a touchdown this season, and recently fired their offensive coordinator (Ken Zampeze) and replaced him with their quarterbacks coach (Bill Lazor).

The Packers are still trying to find the right mix in their secondary among a mix of young and veteran players. Bengals receiver A.J. Green is still one of the best in the business, but this is a dysfunctional Cincinnati offense right now that the Packers should feast on at home.

Stat that jumps out: No running back has played more snaps than Green Bay's Ty Montgomery through the first two weeks. He's been on the field for 139 of the offense's 158 snaps.

Quotable: "I think we can beat anybody at home," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told ESPN after Sunday's loss in Atlanta. "We don't look at it as closing the gap. Obviously, if it comes down to some sort of tiebreaker when we get down to December and January, this one could be a big one and we might have to come back here. I think we can beat anybody at home."


Last game: Pittsburgh 26, Minnesota 9

Next game: vs. Tampa Bay (1-0)

Week 3 look ahead: The lead story Wednesday morning on the website of the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Vikings page was a column about quarterback curses. That's how blue, or purple, fans in Minnesota are feeling about the current state of the quarterback position.

Sam Bradford was impressive Week 1 in a win over New Orleans, but he missed Week 2 with pain and swelling in the same knee he's had surgically repaired (ACL) twice. That has to be a little bit concerning.

Pittsburgh managed only 335 yards of offense, and was just 3 of 13 on third down against Minnesota last week, but still ran away with the win because Case Keenum couldn't get anything going in Bradford's absence.

As good as Minnesota's defense is, this team showed last week that without Bradford, it could be tough sledding moving forward.

Stat that jumps out: Keenum was pressured an NFL-high 51 percent of his pass plays in Week 2, per Pro Football Focus.

Quotable: "He feels better today," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told of Bradford. "I anticipate that when he's ready to practice and ready to play, he'll play. ... I don't have a crystal ball. I wish I did. I could call some games better."


Last game: Tampa Bay 29, Chicago 7

Next game: vs. Pittsburgh (2-0)

Week 3 look ahead: Bears quarterback Mike Glennon turned the football over three times in last week's loss to Tampa Bay. What complicates that statistic is backup Mitch Trubisky was the No. 2 pick in the draft this year.

The Bears have been ravaged by injuries on offense, so Chicago's poor offensive showing in two losses to begin the season isn't all his fault, but everyone knows that playing quarterback in the NFL means that position gets too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses.

Glennon remains the starter, but to say there's pressure on him to bounce back this week against a tough Steelers defense is a bit of an understatement.

Chicago's injury situation (three starters on IR and three more leaving last week's contest) is making things tough on head coach John Fox, and it doesn't get any easier with the undefeated Steelers coming to town Sunday. Pittsburgh is allowing just 13.5 points per game this season.

Chicago certainly doesn't want to throw Trubisky to the wolves for his first NFL start. Going with Glennon's experience is probably the right call for now.

Stat that jumps out: According to ESPN Stats and Information, Glennon has thrown 85 passes this season, and only one has traveled more than 20 yards in the air.

Quotable: "After two games, it's really hard to evaluate somebody," Fox told the Chicago Sun-Times of Glennon. "But the truth of the matter is that right now, that's the case.

"We're playing arguably one of the better teams we're going to play this year at home. We're going to do everything in our power to look a little bit like we did in Week 1 rather than Week 2."

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