Final Word: NFC North

October, 16, 2009
10/16/09
4:00
PM ET

NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 6:

George Rose/Getty Images
Dieter Brock is the last quarterback to lead a new team to a 6-0 start (and eventually, 7-0).
Atlanta has won nine of 10 home games since the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era started in 2008. The lone loss? Then-Denver quarterback Jay Cutler led the Broncos to 10 fourth-quarter points to leave with a 24-20 victory. Cutler’s 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Graham was the game-winner. The Georgia Dome isn’t usually considered among the NFL’s most hostile indoor environments, but to this point Cutler has been the only quarterback in the past 10 games there to be triumphant. Overall in his career, Cutler is 1-2 in three indoor starts. In those games, he’s completed 35 of 52 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

Here’s the final installment in this week’s discussion about Chicago’s defense. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked only twice this season, tied for the fewest in the NFL. Matchups like this are why the Bears revamped their defensive coaching staff and rededicated themselves to aggressive play from their defensive line. It almost goes without saying that they won’t win Sunday night if they let Ryan stand protected in the pocket. If they do, he’ll carve them up like he did last season in a 301-yard performance.

Talk about instant impact: If he can defeat Baltimore Sunday, Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre will have produced the second-best early-season win total for a new quarterback in NFL history. A victory would make Favre 6-0 in his first six starts with the Vikings. Dating to the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, only one quarterback has won more consecutive games in his first year with a new team. Dieter Brock started 7-0 for the Los Angeles Rams in 1985. Surely you remember the Dieter Brock era.

Two weeks of talk about the timing of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ throws likely will be moot at Lambeau Field. Detroit enters the game with one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses, including a pass rush that hasn’t scared too many people. The Lions have 10 sacks this season, but that hasn’t been enough to prevent quarterbacks from completing an NFL-high 73.3 percent of their passes. Detroit has also given up 15 touchdown passes and has only three interceptions. If Rodgers doesn’t have a sparkling performance, then you can legitimately say he needs to address his timing.

It’s time to update an annual statistic: Detroit has now gone 18 consecutive games without a victory in Wisconsin, a span that has featured seven Lions head coaches and includes a 1994 wild-card playoff loss. The Lions’ last road victory over the Packers came on Dec. 15, 1991. In regular-season terms, it’s the second-longest active losing streak in the NFL. Stranger things have happened, but with a sprained knee expected to keep receiver Calvin Johnson on the sidelines, it’s hard to imagine the Lions not extending this streak to 19 games.

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