The division has a collective .590 winning percentage, which is second only to the .625 of the NFC West. The division had its rough patch from 2005-2008 when it produced no wild card winners, but this season it could realistically send three teams. That has not happened since 2007 when the NFC East sent the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins.
The NFC West will obviously have a lot to say about that, but regardless, the North has become one of the toughest divisions in football.
Having said that, the Bears woke up Monday morning with first place to themselves without playing a game this week due to the Vikings getting RGIII’D on Sunday.
Minnesota had a share of the division lead, but Robert Griffin III ran for 138 yards as Washington rolled to a victory. The Redskins forced Christian Ponder to beat them and for the first time this season, the second-year quarterback wasn’t up to the challenge. He may have thrown for 350 yards, but he turned over the ball three times and was sacked four times.
The Vikings may not have been exposed, but questions now remain if they can win a game where they need to rely on the shoulder of Ponder. The 38-26 loss dropped them to 4-2 and a half game out of first. They will travel to Arizona this week.
The Packers decided they needed to make a statement as they traveled to Houston this past weekend. Apparently, Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers and rumors of their passing game’s demise may have been slightly premature. The reigning MVP threw for six touchdowns and the Packers manhandled the undefeated Texans for four straight quarters.
The defense did it’s job as well, sacking Matt Schaub three times, forcing three turnovers and holding Arian Foster to 29 yards of rushing. The Vikings may have jumped out to a lead, but it still looks like the Packers now at 3-3 will be the Bears biggest obstacle.
For three quarters it looked like the Detroit Lions season had come to and end. They were on the brink of going 1-4 and falling three games behind the Bears. Then they flipped a switch in the fourth quarter and shocked the Eagles in overtime. The Lions had been so bad, the Eagles decided to fire their defensive coordinator for that fourth quarter performance.
Matthew Stafford still hasn’t connected with Calvin Johnson for a touchdown. Megatron’s one trip to pay dirt came with the back up in the game. Their defense still looks suspect despite turning Michael Vick over twice. But let’s be honest, everyone is taking the ball away from Vick. The Lions came up with a victory to keep their season alive.
When Detroit comes to town on Monday night, the Bears have a chance to do what the Eagles could not and step on their necks. A win in primetime will keep the Bears atop the NFC North and almost assuredly knock the Lions out of the hunt.
Don’t be fooled by the Eagles implosion, the Lions still are a poorly coached, undisciplined, bad football team. The Bears open as five point favorites and should cover that easily against one of the worst defenses in the league.
Follow me @MidwayPat as we get ready all week for Bears Lions on Monday night.