We’re at the middle of the season and the NFC North still doesn’t have a definitive front runner. All four teams are beat up. The Lions offensive line is in shambles, Green Bay is experiencing what the Lions have been all season with a patchwork wide receiver corps, the Bears are in the worst shape with month long injuries to Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs, and the Vikings’ starting quarterback Josh Freeman is out with a concussion, although that may be a good thing. How will the NFC North shape up after week eight?
Shack: What a mess the Vikings are. Each passing week they seem to get worse, but I guess it usually gets worse before it gets better. The question is, when will it get better? Well it couldn’t get any worse after Monday night’s debacle. Luckily Josh Freeman will be on the bench digesting the play book while Ponder displays his less than stellar quarterbacking as he leads the Vikings to a loss.
Prediction: Packers win 28-14
The Hack: The once proud Minnesota Viking franchise is in a shambles this year, and the fans ought to protest this week by wearing their horns down. Hard to believe they have such a mess at quarterback when they used the 12th pick, on Christian Ponder, in the draft to address that problem in 2011. Vikings hit a new low last week in letting the zero win Giants finally win a game. It looks like the Vikings are going to battle the Jacksonville Jags for the worst team in the league title. Aaron Rogers is still the best QB in the league, and unless the Vikings can kidnap him on his way to the stadium, I don’t see any way the Packers lose this one. I would love to see a division rival upset to benefit the Leo’s, but it ain’t happening . Packers-42 Vikings-10
Shack and The Hack’s NFC North Game of the Week
Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions
Shack: The Cowboys are starting to perform the way many thought they would the last few seasons. Tony Romo is more accurate and turning the ball over less. The offensive line is only giving up a sack on 6 percent of Romo’s throws and receivers are stepping up and making plays. The Cowboys defense gives up a lot of points, but they have also been good at creating turnovers. Does any of that sound like another team we know? The Lions are almost identical to the Cowboys in terms of style of play, though the Cowboys take a few less shots down the field than the Lions do. Perhaps the biggest differences between the two teams is that the Lions’ receiving core isn’t as good as the Cowboys and the Cowboys secondary is more reliable than the Lions’ secondary. With two teams so evenly matched you have to think this game comes down to execution. You could argue that the Lions have lost two games this year (Cardinals and Bengals), because they couldn’t execute on short field goals. You could also argue that three missed throws down the field by Matthew Stafford in a span of seven minutes lost the Lions the game against the Bengals. Can the Lions improve in those areas? Yes, but my theme all season with this team has been “believe it when I see it.” Until they improve their execution the Lions will continue to be a talented team that under achieves.
Prediction: Cowboys win 31-27
The Hack: I ALWAYS love it when we play America’s Team the Dallas Cowboys. It doesn’t matter how good their record is, I always feel like the Cowboys are the favorite because every time they sneeze it’s national news. This is a VERY important game for the Detroit Lions, who cares what it means to the Cowboys, both teams are 4-3 and the outcome of this game could have big time implications come Playoff time. Both teams have prolific offenses and bad secondary’s which should lead to a very high scoring game. Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo seemed to be lumped together in a lot of QB surveys, so it’ll be interesting to see who preforms better. Does Dez have enough bop to change people’s opinion of his game compared to Megatron’s? Lots of questions need to answered this Sunday. Lions-44 Plowboys-41.
Record so far this season
The Hack: 11-3