Welcome back NFC North fans! If you’ve been following Shack’s NFC North Predictions the past two seasons, thank you, we appreciate your support. I’m always looking for ways to improve the series and we’ve found a way to kick it up a notch adding one of the best, Marty Medvedik, A.K.A The Hack, who’s going to team up with me for the rest of the season.
Week two should be an exciting week for NFC North fans. Each match up could shape the direction each team is headed this season. Will the Lions beat the Cardinals on the road and start changing the minds of their critics? Can the Packers slow down RG3 and his explosive offense enough to win what should be considered a game they should win, are the Vikings going to be able to bounce back from a tough loss against the Lions, and finally can the Bears keep continue their winning ways at home against a division rival?
Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Shack: Every game in the NFL is important, but this one to me could be a defining moment for the Lions season on whether they will compete for a division title or be a middle of the road team. Going into Arizona, a place the Lions haven’t won since 1993, the Lions will be playing a completely different team then they saw towards the end of last season. With the addition of Carson Palmer the Cardinals now have a legitimate offense that pairs well with their stout defense. The key for the Lions will be taking advantage of the one on one match ups that Calvin Johnson sees against Patrick Peterson. If they can do that it will open up lanes for Reggie Bush to have another explosive week. On the defensive side of the ball we should get a better idea of what this unit will look like against a more balanced offense. If the Lions can get the same kind of production out of their pass rushers as they did last week they should be able to win an important game on the road.
Prediction: Lions win 31-21
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers
Shack: This game, much like the Lions game, could shape the direction the Packers will go this season. The Redskins were a playoff team a year ago, but looked sluggish in their loss to the Eagles thanks to their best player, RG3 looking a little rusty and perhaps a little timid after coming off an ACL injury. RG3 finished strong against the Eagles, so the Packers may have their hands full if the Redskins implement their read option this week. If the Packers are going to win the division again this year they have to win the games they are “supposed” to win. This weeks match up is one of those games.
The Hack: The Pack are already pissed that they’re 0-1. They better get used to the feeling of being pissed off because they’re not going to run roughshod over the league like they have the past few years. RG3 still doesn’t look 100 percent yet and will be running away from Clay Matthews the entire game. The Redskins will fall to earth this year and the losses will start to pile high right out of the gate. I totally expect the Packers to soften up the Redskins for the Lions next week by pounding RG3 into submission. The Redskins will hang around awhile but not finish the job. Packers-28 Redskins-17.
Prediction: Packers win 38-35
Shack’s Game of The Week
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Shack: The Bears took care of business at home last week against the Bengals, who many consider a contender in the AFC. Expect the same results this week at home. The Vikings haven’t shown yet that they can pass effectively enough to compliment their all-star Adrian Peterson and until they can they will struggle in the competitive NFC North. Peterson will still get his numbers and maybe the passing game clicks a little more for the Vikings, but the Bears ability to force turnovers will be the difference in this game.
Prediction: Bears win 34-20
The Hack: It just goes to show you what the preseason means nothing. The Bengals were headed to the Super Bowl and got beat by a Bears team I don’t respect much last week. I expect these two teams to fight it out for the division cellar this year and whoever loses this game will probably be the winner, I mean loser. AD is not going to be shut down, after that first run, in two straight weeks. Da Bears are awfully tough to beat at home and while Brian Urlacher is gone, they still will cause a lot of turnovers. The Bears don’t start they’re annual swoon until November and the Peterson will not be enough by himself.
Prediction: Bears 24, Vikings 10