We're Black and Blue All Over:
CHICAGO -- Good morning as we quickly close the door on Week 7 and motor full-speed into Week 8. The virtual ink is hardly dry on the Chicago Bears' 13-7 victory over the Detroit Lions, and already the first installment of Week 8 is 48 hours away.
The Minnesota Vikings will have their only real practice of the week Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Thursday night's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears, meanwhile, won't even practice again until Thursday to help recover from a physical game that left their quarterback with bruised ribs and their star receiver with sharpened loyalty.
Me? Glad you asked. I'm working my way back to NFC North headquarters and hope to be back by mid-afternoon. We'll have to squeeze some of our usual features this week, including the Tuesday chat, to accommodate the fact that there aren't 48 hours in one day.
For now, you have two options. Either follow along with me on Instagram -- photographs are updated at Kevinseifert_espn! -- or take our morning tour around the division. Or both.
Michael Wilbon of ESPNChicago.com asks: "Why not the Bears?"
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune on quarterback Jay Cutler's response to his injury: "His numbers were ordinary; his impact was not. All he really needed to do after the hit was come back. And not give the ball away."
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "It made him someone you can count on, no small thing in the NFL, especially at quarterback."
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "On a night [Ndamukong] Suh went for the knockout, the Bears nearly pitched a shutout."
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press on the Lions' season: "You can’t continually count on fourth quarter miracles. Eventually, that reservoir of good luck runs dry."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News on the Lions' offensive woes: "The Lions are trying to be something they're not. They are so worried about trying to establish a run game, they have yet to establish what made them great last season — the up-tempo passing game. Why is this team using so many jumbo formations with three tackles? Establish the pass first, like they did last season. And work the run game off of that."
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com grades the Lions' work.
The Green Bay Packers will give receiver Greg Jennings a running test this week to determine if he's close to returning from a strained groin, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A leadership void will be the biggest impact of Charles Woodson's collarbone injury, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers receiver James Jones was the victim of a prank, documents Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com breaks down tape of the Vikings' victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has a short week to forget last Sunday's performance, writes Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings aren't expecting tight end John Carlson (concussion) to play Thursday night, writes Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.