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Vikings bye week: Three things to watch in the NFC North

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Lions, Packers and Bears, oh my!

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have finally reached its well deserved, much needed bye week. While the Vikings are getting that R and R, the rest of the NFC North will be busy on Sunday.

The Chicago Bears (5-3) will host the Detroit Lions (3-5), while the Green Bay Packers (3-4-1) host the Miami Dolphins (5-4). Since I normally do a three things to watch for a Vikings game, I figured I’ll do a similar thing here, but pick one thing from each team to pay attention to.

‘Da Bears

Khalil Mack ripping apart Matthew Stafford

After last week’s vicious ten sacks Stafford endured by the Vikings’ defense, he’s about to be in for another nightmare with Mack pressuring him all Sunday afternoon. Danielle Hunter was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his man-handling of Stafford. Hunter and Tom Johnson combined for six of the ten sacks the defense recorded.

Mack is talented and will likely be up against Rickey Wagner. According to an article from the Detroit Free Press, Wagner has given up seven sacks this season. He’s not only had to face Hunter, but also Demarcus Lawrence who has 6.5 sacks and 10 QB hits on the year.

Mack is battling back from an injury, but fans are hoping he can get back to top form. Before he was held out of the last two games, Mack had already recorded five sacks, 20 tackles, one interception for a pick six and 20 tackles.

The Green Bay Cheese Packaging Company

Unfortunately, Rodgers may have a hay day against Miami

The Green Bay Packers host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The Packers offense is ranked sixth in the league for yards and 14th for points forced. The Dolphins’ defense ranks 26th for yards given up and 18th for points allowed.

Aaron Rodgers seems unstoppable. Regardless if you’re a fan of him or not, he can flat out play. Rodgers’ thrown for 2,542 yards, he’s thrown for 15 touchdowns and only one interception this season.

Miami’s played both the Lions and Bears already this season. The Dolphins defeated Chicago in overtime 31-28, but lost to the Lions 32-21 in Miami. The Dolphins are coming off a 13-6 win against the New York Jets, but had a big 42-23 loss to the Houston Texans two weeks ago.

Miami plays Minnesota on Dec. 16 at the Bank.

The Detroit Lions

Look for Kerryon Johnson to step up

Now, Chicago’s rush defense is quite solid. The defense has only allowed two games were a team rushed for over 100 yards. Five games the D held teams to under 75 yards rushing.

Johnson has only averaged about 63 yards a game. He’s broke loose for two 100 yard rushing games. After last week’s nightmare for Stafford, it’s possible to see Johnson pick up at least 15 carries. He’s due for another big game after only coming up with 59 yards off 20 carries over the past two weeks.

He could also be seen as an outlet option for Stafford if he’s pressured how he was last week. He’s been beneficial to the passing game where he’s caught 24 passes for 165 yards.

Predictions:

  • Packers beat the Dolphins 32-21
  • Chicago beats Detroit 21-13