NFC North: 2011 Week 2 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Lions 48, Chiefs 3

September, 18, 2011
A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions' 48-3 romp over the Kansas City Chiefs:

What it means: The Lions are 2-0 for the first time since 2007 and have won six consecutive regular season games, dating back to last season, for the first time since 1995. Say what you want about the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been outscored by 79 points in two games and lost running back Jamaal Charles in this game to a serious knee injury. But the Lions' 48-3 dismantling gave them the largest margin of victory in the regular-season history of the franchise. Lions Fever is catching!

Good for Schwartz: Lions coach Jim Schwartz benched right tackle Gosder Cherilus in favor of backup Corey Hilliard, adding some teeth to his Week 1 rebuke of a key Cherilus penalty. I'm not sure if that's a permanent move or whether it served merely to clarify how serious Schwartz is about cleaning up what he called "stupid" football. But it worked. The Lions weren't perfect, but they committed only one turnover and were penalized four times. The offense didn't appear to struggle with a backup right tackle in the game, piling up 411 total yards.

StaffordWatch: Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the NFL through two weeks. He's the first Lions quarterback since Gary Danielson in 1984 to post passer ratings of at least 100 in each of a season's first two weeks, and it's amazing how comfortable he appears in the Lions offense. Schwartz said after the game that Stafford "knows where to go" with the football, and that's something that only comes with consistent practice in the same scheme. So far this season, Stafford is completing 65.3 percent of his throws. He has seven touchdown passes and a passer rating of 112.0.

Pass defense: The Lions pummeled Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, sacking him twice, hitting him on three other occasions and intercepting him three times. Three of their four starting defensive backs -- safety Amari Spievey, cornerback Chris Houston and cornerback Eric Wright -- each had an interception. This game was a defensive player's dream. It was 14-3 midway through the second quarter and 20-3 at halftime. The Lions just pinned their proverbial ears back and sold out against the pass.

What's next: The Lions will open their NFC North schedule by traveling to play the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome, where they haven't won since 1997. Hmmmmmmm ...

Wrap-up: Packers 30, Panthers 23

September, 18, 2011
A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' second victory of the season:

What it means: The Packers never trailed by more than a touchdown during their run to Super Bowl XLV last season. Sunday, they fell behind 13-0 in the second quarter before getting their feet underneath them. Regardless of the quality of opponent, erasing a 13-point deficit on the road is a sign of a strong team. As Week 2 closes, the Packers are 2-0 and tied with the Detroit Lions for the top spot in a very early NFC North division race.

Injury update: The Packers reported that safety Nick Collins had "normal feeling and complete movement" in his extremities Sunday night following a scary moment in the fourth quarter. Collins left the field on a medical gurney after a collision with Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart. He'll remain hospitalized in North Carolina as a precaution and re-evaluated upon returning to Green Bay. The injury at least temporarily left the Packers without half of their Week 1 secondary. Cornerback Tramon Williams was inactive because of a bruised shoulder injury.

Pass defense: Say what you will about game situations and play-calling, but there is no getting around this fact: The Packers have given up more than 400 passing yards to each of their first two opponents. Sunday, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton totaled 432 yards. But you can erase big yardage totals by making enough plays, and the Packers forced four turnovers and had four sacks. Linebacker Clay Matthews stopped Newton on a fourth-down run late in the fourth quarter as well. Meanwhile, cornerback Charles Woodson had two of the interceptions and also recovered a fumble.

Spreading the ball: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished with 308 yards on only 19 completions, throwing long touchdown passes of 84 yards (Jordy Nelson) and 49 yards (Greg Jennings). Nine different players caught at least one pass, but tight end Jermichael Finley was the only pass-catcher with more than three catches.

What's next: The Packers will open their NFC North schedule next Sunday with their annual game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.