NFC North: 2013 NFL Midseason Report

Midseason Report: Green Bay Packers

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
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How many other NFL teams could survive for any length of time without three of their top four targets in the passing game and minus their best defensive player?

Probably not many.

But the Green Bay Packers managed -- even after injuries to receivers Randall Cobb (fractured fibula), James Jones (knee) and tight end Jermichael Finley (neck) on offense and to outside linebacker Clay Matthews (broken thumb) on defense.

That was until they lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone in Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

When Rodgers went down, so did their four-game winning streak.

Before Rodgers’ injury, the Packers looked every bit like one of the top teams in the NFC thanks to stellar play, as usual, from the quarterback and a rejuvenated running game with rookie Eddie Lacy.

Now, even at 5-3 and in a three-way tie with the Bears and Detroit Lions atop the NFC, the Packers’ prospects for the second half are in jeopardy.

Midseason Report: Detroit Lions

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
AM ET

The Detroit Lions are in a good position after the first half of the season, having already won more games this season (five) than last (four) and have seen improved play from a lot of their units.

So, for the most part, the Lions had a fairly even grading process. If they don’t make the playoffs, though, they could end up with a harsher final 2013 evaluation.

Midseason Report: Chicago Bears

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
AM ET

Interestingly, it took years for the Chicago Bears to finally put together what appears to be a prolific offense, only to have the team’s perennially strong defense start to show signs of decline, in part because of injuries and a lack of depth.

So, while the offense finally checks in with high grades because of better protection, a bevy of weapons and a reinvented quarterback in Jay Cutler, Chicago’s loss of two starters for the season on the defensive line and one at linebacker, as well as nagging injuries that have forced other starters to miss time, have sucked the life out of what has traditionally been one of the league’s better defenses. What is concerning is the Bears haven’t shown any indication that things will improve on defense.

In fact, it appears the Bears will have to wait until free agency and the draft to address a suddenly porous defense.

Midseason Report: Minnesota Vikings

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
AM ET

Coming off a 10-6 season and a playoff berth, the Vikings didn't expect to be one of the three worst teams in the NFL at the halfway point. They certainly didn't expect to arrive here this way, with three different starting quarterbacks, three last-minute defensive collapses and exactly one win, which came when the team faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. With injuries rampant on defense, uncertainty at the quarterback position and an embattled coaching staff, the Vikings simply need to get their house in order in the second half of the season.

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