BACK ON TRACK
In 2015 Minnesota took over the NFC North with an effective running game and stout defense, which led to mistake free football. That same formula has the Vikings on the verge of another division title. Meanwhile it's the same old story in Detroit and Chicago, while the Packers are in disarray without Quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
2ND HALF PREVIEW
The Vikings have been able to re-establish their identity from 2015 when they made the Playoffs and should have advanced to the Divisional Round if it weren't for a missed field goal by former kicker Blair Walsh. Despite losing starting Quarterback Sam Bradford and starting Running Back Dalvin Cook, the offense has benefited from a balanced attack utilizing a solid group of play makers, while the defense is one of the top units in the league, which gives Minnesota a legitimate shot at making the Playoffs.
When evaluating the Lions performance during the first half of the season, I came away feeling confident that this is a Playoff team. Matt Stafford has established himself as a franchise Quarterback, while Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are one of the better 1-2 punches in the NFC at the Wide Receiver position. The defense has been much improved from a few seasons ago, with play makers on all levels. The question marks remain the Offensive line and lack of running game because it's those two things that stop Detroit from advancing in the Playoffs.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
With All Pro Quarterback Aaron Rodgers out for the season, the Packers will try to make a push for the division title but it's going to be tough considering the teams success was dependant on Rodgers arm. Backup Quarterback Brent Hundley appears to be limited in his ability, which leaves the Pack with an average offense and below average defense that isn't talented enough to compete at a high level weekly.
Chicago has managed to exceed expectations so far this season behind a physical running game and tough defense. With the exception of a few road losses to the Bucs and Saints, the Bears have been in every game including some big wins over Baltimore and Pittsburgh. They also had a chance to beat Atlanta if it weren't for a dropped Touchdown by Running Back Jordan Howard. Rookie Quarterback Mitchell Tribusky has now taken over the reigns and a new era has begun in Chi-Town