Week five has come and gone, and all of the Bizzaro-Football that plagued the division in the first few weeks seemed to have disappeared. Defenses that were supposed to be pretty good finally looked pretty good. Offenses that were thought to be some of the best moved the ball like they were some of the best. Referees
didn’t make any didn’t make many made some really controversial calls. Kickers kicked the baaaaahhhh...nevermind. Same as it ever was.
NFC North Division kickers Mason Crosby, Matt Prater and Dan Bailey combined to make just five of twelve kicks this weekend. Five. Of. Twelve. In Detroit, where the Lions outlasted the Packers 31-23, the kicking game proved to be fatal for Green Bay, as kicker Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point in the game. With the loss, the Packers saw their record fall to 2-2-1, tied with the Vikings. Detroit improved to 2-3 with the win, but still hold last place in the division.
The 3-1 Chicago Bears held on to the top spot in the division through their bye week.
Before bringing up any of the usual type of nonsensical tidbits usually found in this column, I’m compelled to mention the name George Taliaferro, who passed away on Monday, October 8th. Taliaferro was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 13th Round of the 1949 NFL Draft - making him the first African-American player ever drafted into the league. Taliaferro never played a down for the Bears, but was a three time Pro-Bowler - for the New York Yanks, Dallas Texans, and Baltimore Colts. At the University of Indiana, he became the first African-American to lead the Big 10 Conference in rushing yards. Taliaferro was 91 years old.
The big news in Chicago continues to be centered - rightfully so - around star Linebacker Khalil Mack. Mack won Defensive Player of the Month honors, racking up five sacks, four forced fumbles, and one touchdown - hey look! He’s right there with Chucky’s entire defense in Oakland!
Apparently, the only other Bears news worth reporting is that Mitchell Trubisky wore an arm sleeve during his six touchdown performance versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is the only possible explanation as to how a quarterback like Trubisky could throw six touchdowns in a game. Mr. Biscuit explained the sleeve in a very Mitchel-y way, stating:
“We’ll see what the color is. But it feels comfortable, gives me a little more swag or whatever. Just go out there and do your thing with the arm sleeve. So we’ll see.”
Every kid in Chicago is right now begging mommy and daddy to run to DICK’s Sporting Goods to buy them an arm sleeve, so they can throw like a Biscuit, too. In fairness, I wrote this entire column while wearing an arm sleeve, and I believe the results are… swaggy.
.@Mtrubisky10 confirms... he WILL wear the arm sleeve this Sunday.— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 10, 2018
In an earlier NFCN Recap column, I pointed out the fact that the Chicago Bears kept only seven offensive linemen on their final 53-man roster. Well, they’ve added a couple, including Bryan Witzmann, recently cut by the Vikings. So far, though, the Bears’ line has been very solid, allowing the fewest QB pressures in 2018, according to PFF.
The Chicago Bears offensive line have allowed the fewest pressures in the league so far this season. pic.twitter.com/eu75oNoKLX— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 5, 2018
The Bears will travel down to Miami this Sunday to take on Ryan Tannehill and the 3-2 Miami Dolphins.
Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: Finally, a team that can give the Bears a run for their money. The Dolphins force Mr. Biscuit (no relation) back to earth, and Tannehill breaks through the Bears defense for the win.
The following game recap of the Lions’ 31-23 victory over Green Bay is so perfect that I won’t add a thing. It is most definitely must-see-tv.
Last week, I mentioned that Devon Kennard has been a quality find for the Lions defense. This week, he had yet another sack - his fifth sack in as many games - and a huge fumble recovery. Fans of his former team - the New York Giants - have begun to take notice.
True Ralph! What about Gettleman letting go ex Giants Devon Kennard & Romeo Okwara now starting LBs for the Lions 3-4 D have combined for more sacks ( 8 ) than the entire Giants defense? LOL! That's an embarrassing personnel blunder!— RAHMMAGICK (@rahmmagick) October 11, 2018
While the Minnesota Vikings can brag about having one of the best receiving duos in the league in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, the emergence of second year wideout Kenny Golladay (no relation) is giving Detroit some serious consideration for having the best trio in the game. Paired with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, he’s begun to put up some stats worth comparing:
But apparently, the Packers’ Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t a fan.
Today’s lesson: Rivalries begin early. Teach your children well.
Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: The Lions are on a bye this week, and will return in week seven to face the Dolphins, who may or may not be coming off a win versus the Bears. Matt Patricia will go pencil shopping and Kerryon Johnson will play a ton of video games.
Green Bay Packers
It’s been a rough week on the interwebz for Mason Crosby - misser of field goals, doinker of uprights, changer of shoes.
My personal favorite,
Mason Crosby meeting Daniel Carlson: pic.twitter.com/wOEwsllmBA— Minnesota Sports Section (@mnsportssection) October 7, 2018
Aaron Rodgers went over to Mason Crosby to say personally say goodbye to him. Classy as hell. pic.twitter.com/csgteIJrtL— Barry McCockiner (@SportsTalkJo3y) October 8, 2018
One of the biggest stories in Packerland is the perceived misuse of running back Aaron Jones. Jones has had some success running the ball this year since returning from a two game suspension, but his snap count continues to frustrate Packer fans. It almost seems like Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is trying to send a message to his young running back.
If he’s worried about pass protection, Jones has been doing a pretty good job with that, as well.
PFF’s pass blocking scores for Packers’ running backs:— Andy Herman (@SconnieSports) October 10, 2018
Aaron Jones - 82.5
Jamaal Williams - 76.7
Montgomery - 69.1
From the Department of Disgruntled Employees: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix is in the last year of his contract, and doesn’t see a future in Green Bay. Packer fans may or may not be heartbroken.
In a Paul Allen-esque moment, former Packer James Jones’ homerism came through fully on NFL Network, recently. If you don’t feel like watching the video, Jones predicts 4-0 for the Packers - including two on the road in L.A. and New England in back to back weeks.
Earlier in the season, Amazon Prime NFL Streaming became the first outlet to feature an all-female broadcast team. This weekend, Westwood One Radio will break ground with the first Father-Daughter duo. That’s right, former voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Harlan will be joined by his daughter Olivia (@OliviaDekker) on the air Monday night when the Packers take on the San Francisco 49’ers.
She’s... um, she’s quite fetching - as the kids today would say.
Also, Wednesday was Brett Favre’s birthday, and I found this gem. The farther removed he is from his days as a Packer, the more I like him. If you get a chance to hear his segments on Sirius/XM NFL Radio, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Happy Birthday, 4!
Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: The ol’ reverse psychology worked last week, so we’ll try ‘er again this week! OF COURSE THE PACKERS WILL WIN!! It’s Monday night, at Lambeau, against a beat up 49’ers team. Two touchdowns, easy.