What a turn of events in the NFC North. The Packers lost their leader in Aaron Rodgers for at least three weeks and backup quarterback Josh McCown looks better then incumbent starter Jay Cutler. Speaking of Cutler, it looks like he is indeed going to start Sunday,but is he really healthy? Do the Bears play better without the turnover prone Cutler under center? Did Minnesota really just beat the Redskins?
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings
Shack: Well, I predicted the Redskins to win this one so shows what I know. Christan Ponder had about as good of a game as you’re going to get from him, but couldn’t finish the game out due to a separated left throwing shoulder.
Prediction: Redskins win 28-17
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Shack: If you were going to pick this game based off of trends you’d be picking the Eagles in this one. Nick Foles just threw for an NFL record seven touchdown passes against Oakland last week and the Packers get more banged up with each passing week with Aaron Rodgers being the latest victim. But I’m not picking based off of trends. I know the Packers are without Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, and Aaron Rodgers, but it looks like they will probably get Clay Matthews back and this team is too good to lose to the Eagles at Lambeau Field. Also, I don’t think Nick Foles throws for seven touchdown passes again.
Prediction: Packers win 24-20
The Hack: Now we get to see just how good the Packers are without their quarterback Aaron Rogers, being sideline for a broken collarbone. This could be the big break the Lions were looking for, all puns intended. They host the Eagles this weekend and will need that home field advantage to overcome the newly minted Eagles scoring machine-quarterback, Nick Foles. It would be great to see the Pack lose two in a row at Lambeau Field, and that’s the way I’m seeing this one. The Pack gets Sacked.
Prediction: Eagles-34 Packers-28
Shack and The Hack’s Game of the Week
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Shack: This isn’t your typical NFC North rivalry match. The winner of this game takes command of first place in the NFC North and sets the loser a game back. Since 2009 the Lions have had as many demons in Soldier Field as they have at Lambeau. Matthew Stafford alone has had two significant injuries, three if you count his broken index finger, from 2009-2011. In 2010 Calvin Johnson had the epic “no catch” that would have sent the Lions to a one and zero start for the season and in 2011 Matthew Stafford suffered a broken index finger which lead to four interceptions and even a brawl on the field that resulted in a fine. In 2012 the Lions’ offense got beat up and Nate Burleson suffered a broken leg. Needless to say winning against the Bears would be huge for the Lions, but staying injury free for the first time in the last four seasons would be nice too.
The key to this match up will obviously be avoiding turnovers. The Bears are one of the worst defenses in the NFL, but they make up for it with their ridiculous rate of forced turnovers. Among other things, the Lions need to avoid giving up the big play, which has been the Achilles hill of the defense through eight games. That’s a tough task with nickel corner Bill Bentley and defensive end Ziggy Ansah likely out for the game.If rookie corner Darius Slay is on the outside and Rashean Mathis in the nickel, the Bears’ offense could have a field day in the passing game. The Bears should be favorites at home and given the last few seasons the Lions have played at Solider Field that’s to be expected. However, my gut says the Lions find a way to win a tough match up this week.
Prediction: Lions win 34-33
Shack and The Hack’s season record:
The Hack: 14-4