Handing out first quarter grades for the NFC North

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

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.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) B+  There’s been a lot to like about the Packers, and some that will need work. It’s still early, but things are starting to click in the Packers favor.  So far, their defense (aside from the last game) has gotten better. The additions of defensive ends Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith have really added to the Packers pass rush.  So far, they have 7.5 sacks and 15 hits on quarterbacks.

Their offense has been good, but not great, but it is showing signs that it could be great. After some were concerned about how quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LeFleur would work together, they’re starting to gel. They’ve got a big test coming up to start the 2nd quarter, heading to Dallas to take on the Cowboys.

Chicago Bears (3-1) B   The Bears defense has been their shining spot. Linebacker Khalil Mack has been lights out this season so far.  He’s got 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles on the year.  Overall, they’ve got a very stingy defense, with the #3 rushing defense and the top 5 defensively overall. However, offensively, they leave some to be desired.

They end the first quarter being ranked 30th offensively. QB Mitchell Trubisky was starting to get going in the Washington game, however with an injured shoulder, he’s sidelined which gives backup QB Chase Daniel a chance to lead. It could still be tough sledding for the offense, but their defense is good enough to keep them in games. They’ll start their 2nd quarter welcoming the Raiders to Soldier Field.

Detroit Lions (2-1-1) B   After a disappointing tie to start the season after having an overall dominating game, the Lions have bounced back. They beat the Eagles and the Chargers, and came really close to beating the reigning MVP QB Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The good thing about the Chiefs game, and all of the games really,  is that the team didn’t give up, despite shooting themselves in the foot several times.

The offense under new coordinator Darrell Bevel is starting to click and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, is really living up to his billing. Thankfully the team has a bye in week 5. This will give them time to get healthy heading into quarter 2, with some divisional matchups.

Minnesota Vikings (2-2)  C  The thing about the Vikings, they either look really great, or really bad.  But the one who is coming up short is quarterback Kirk Cousins.  So far to start the season, he’s 64 for 99 with 735 yards and 2 INTs.  Not awful, but not what is expected of their very well compensated quarterback.

However, what has been a bright spot for the team has been running back Dalvin Cook.  He has over 400 yards rushing on 71 attempts and 5 touchdowns.  As long as he stays healthy, and the defense is serviceable, they’ll be in the mix. They will start quarter 2 in New Jersey as they take on the Giants, which will be a great test for both teams.

So, how did I do grading the teams you guys?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Talk NFC North with Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN

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