NFC North: Lions Get a Confidence Boost with Win over Chiefs

The Detroit Lions closed last season with an extended string of success. It had to be a significant relief to Dan Campbell and the rest of Detroit coaching staff that they may have figured some things out. The Lions were able to go into Kansas City and open the season with a win over the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

Results were mixed for the rest of the division. The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings both took disappointing losses. The Bears looked overmatched, while the Vikings seemed out of sync. Green Bay was able to keep up its continued dominance of the NFC North Division rivalry with Chicago.

Team Result
Chicago Bears L, 38-20 vs. Green Bay
Detroit Lions W, 21-20 at Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers W, 38-20 at Chicago
Minnesota Vikings L, 20-17 vs. Tampa Bay

Lions Need to Deliver on Early Promise

 

Detroit was one of several teams in Week 1 that made a statement with its victory. The Lions will likely need to wait and see how good their rebuilt defense is. Detroit was matched up with a Kansas City offense that couldn’t get out of its way to open the season.

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Brian Branch

The Chiefs were playing without tight end Travis Kelce. Kansas City also dropped eight passes. Detroit only allowed the Chiefs to gain 316 yards of offense and didn’t sack Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Lions safety Brian Branch provided the highlight for Detroit’s defense by intercepting a deflected pass and returning it 50 yards for a touchdown.

 

Packers Hope to See Aaron Jones Make Quick Return

 

There wasn’t much for Green Bay Packers fans to complain about following Week 1. The Packers beat up Chicago 38-20 and looked good despite having traded star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Green Bay running back Aaron Jones recorded 127 yards of total offense.

During the third quarter, Jones scored on a 43-yard touchdown catch. With around 6 minutes 30 seconds left in the third quarter, Jones pulled up and appeared to have injured his hamstring during the long touchdown catch. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said they kept Jones out of the game as a precaution.

The Packers believe that Jones could have kept playing if they needed him. However, with Green Bay ahead on the scoreboard, Jones was able to rest up.

 

Fields Still Doesn’t Look to Play at NFL Level

 

Things have been rough for third-year Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. The 24-year-old quarterback has needed help adjusting to the NFL defenses. Fields passed for 216 yards in the loss to Green Bay, but many of those came in garbage time when the game was way out of hand.

Fields has a 5-17-1 record as a starting quarterback in Chicago. Last season, Fields only passed for 2,242 yards and threw 11 interceptions. Unless things change quickly for Fields, he is on a similar trajectory for this season. 

 

Vikings See String of Close Victories Come to End

 

It was always likely that Minnesota would be less successful in one-score games than a season ago. The Vikings were 11-0 last season in one-score games and made a surprise run at the NFC North championship. Minnesota’s season-opening loss to Tampa Bay was a difficult pill to swallow.

The Vikings lost to Tampa Bay 20-17 at home. Minnesota was going up against a Buccaneers team that was giving Baker Mayfield a chance to be the starting quarterback. The Vikings lost because of their issues with turnovers. This loss will be challenging to bounce back from and dents their hopes of challenging for the NFC North title.

Minnesota has to take on Philadelphia in a short week before taking on the AFC playoff-hopeful Los Angeles Chargers. Starting 0-3 will be hard to rally back from for Minnesota. 

 

Love Finds a Way

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Jordan Love

It’s impossible for Green Bay not to be happy with quarterback Jordan Love’s performance. After seeing Rodgers go out for the season with an injury during his New York Jets’ debut, the Packers are now in a better position to win. Love was efficient in the red zone during their win over Chicago.

Love finished with 245 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Bears. Love was only sacked once. Because Love was playing behind Rodgers when he entered the league, he only appeared in 10 games during his first two seasons. 

Love has 851 career passing yards and has thrown six touchdowns and three interceptions. During the 2022 season, Love only passed for 195 yards total in four appearances. 

 

Detroit’s New Running Attack Shows Effectiveness

 

The Lions blew up a successful rushing attack for them from last season. Detroit brought in former Bears running back David Montgomery into the fold. The Lions also drafted Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round. The Gibbs’ pick caught people off guard, mainly after Detroit traded D’Andre Swift in the offseason.

Montgomery was a practical workhorse, taking the ball 21 times for 74 yards and scoring a touchdown. Gibbs hit some big plays, rushing the ball seven times for 42 yards. Detroit hopes to use that one-two tandem to keep the pressure off quarterback Jared Goff as the season goes along. If they can continue in this form they will undoubtedly be challenging for NFC North honors come the end of the season.

 

Jefferson Takes Out Offseason Frustration on the Buccaneers

 

Justin Jefferson was unhappy with the lack of a contract extension in the offseason. The Minnesota Vikings aren’t eager to extend him yet just because of the years remaining on his contract. The star receiver showed why he will be earning a hefty paycheck in the future.

Jefferson caught nine passes for 150 yards. While Jefferson didn’t score a touchdown, he did haul in a long pass of 42 yards. During Jefferson’s first three seasons in the league, Jefferson has been one of the league’s top receivers. He has finished with at least 1,400 yards in every season. He has also caught 25 touchdown passes, including a career-high 10 in 2021.