**Disclaimer: This article was written prior to the Vikings/Cowboys game on Sunday Night Football**
In the 2012 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins chose Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. “RG3” was a dual-threat QB out of Baylor and was pegged to be the team’s franchise leader for years to come. Then in the fourth round of the same draft, Washington made an interesting pick, taking Kirk Cousins, a quarterback out of Michigan State.
Cousins threw for over 9,000 yards with 66 touchdowns against 30 interceptions in his college career. Maybe the Redskins were just covering their bases in case RG3’s style didn’t work well in the NFL. The Cousins pick turned out to be a prudent one. In 2015 after RG3’s three injury-marred seasons, Jay Gruden made Cousins his starting quarterback. Up to that point Cousins was 2-7 in his limited starts. Once installed as the regular starter, Cousins put up solid passing numbers. He completed 67% of his throws amassing over 13,000 yards with 81 touchdowns against 36 interceptions. Despite his numbers, the Redskins managed just a 24-23-1 record and Cousins got the reputation for being unable to win the big games.
I know. You can’t win them all. But this past Sunday, the NFC North laid an egg. All 4 teams went on the road, and all 4 teams lost their games. Sometimes it’s hard to win on the road in the NFL.
But should we start to sound the alarm? And by alarm, I mean, should we start panicking that the team is heading for disaster and this season is totally shot? Well, lets head around the division and see what we find.
Week 5 brought a bye week to one team, a couple of challenges to two others, and a nice, easy trip overseas for the last team. The Vikings and the Packers passed their tests with flying colors. The Bears, on the other hand, stumbled. The Lions enjoyed the early bye and took some time to get healthy.
Let’s take a closer look at each team and how they faired week 5.
Detroit Lions: They had a bye, and that couldn’t come at a better time. Though early, some of their major players were a little banged up. Rookie tight end TJ Hockenson was in concussion protocol, quarterback Matthew Stafford has a hip/back injury that he’s been dealing with. There were also a couple of lingering hamstring issues for some of the players as well.
We’ll get to see how recovered they are from the bye as they take on the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. This ones gonna be great! How will Stafford handle Green Bay’s improved defense?
This reminds me of middle school and high school when I’d play defense and intercept my report card so I had an idea of what I was in for. Now, to be honest, I didn’t have to do it too much, but still, I did it.
I can’t believe we’re done with the first quarter of games. It went too fast, but it’s been fun. I’ll be giving a grade for overall performance. And like I’ve done in the past, curves have helped me, so I’m going to curve theirs as well.
Week 3 is just about here. Let’s take a tour around the NFC North and see what’s been going around the division going into play on Sunday.
Let’s start with the Chicago Bears. What in the name of wild finishes was that? While I understand Broncos fans frustrations, a win is a win. And the biggest news out of that win? Kicker Eddy Pineiro. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Which is great news for the Bears faithful, especially after last years disappointing playoff loss. The Bears have found their guy! The Bears are heading to Washington to take on the Redskins on Monday Night Football. Hopefully, they can put all phases of their game together to get the win.
The Packers face a tough schedule right off the bat. For the second week in a row, they’re facing a divisional opponent, and while we do love home-field advantage, the Vikings have shown us that doesn’t always help.
Going into Sunday’s game, both teams are 1-0, but while Green Bay was fighting a battle in Chicago, the Vikings had a much easier game in Atlanta. This is going to be another tough game for the Packers.
And while I always have all the confidence in my team, there are a few teams I still get nervous about facing. The Vikings are near the top of that list. If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you know how much I hate tense and close games. So, yup! I’m already stressing Sunday.
Alright, alright alright! (In my Matthew McConaughey voice)
Week 1 has come to a close and it’s time to hand out grades for the team’s performances! I’m a pretty easy grader, and I do grade on a curve. Mostly because a curve helped me out of some classes (Looking at you AP Chem.), so it’s only fair.
After coaching changes, key free agent signings, and some great defenses, it was time to get the show on the road. The oldest rival in the NFL came from the NFC North and it was only right that they kicked off the NFL’s 100th season.
Chicago Bears: C. Last years defense was back in full force. Linebacker Roquan Smith was letting his presence be known early on in the game. But in the end, the offense just stalled. In fact, the only offense that the Bears could muster was a 38-yard field goal from recently signed kicker Eddy Pineiro. Irony. Despite the struggles on offense, the defense was really the bright spot.