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Black and Blue all over: A logjam up top

10/13/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Nobody does it like the NFC North. Yep, six weeks into the season, we black and bluers are the only division without at least one winning team. Instead, three of us are 3-3 and the other is 0-5.

Chicago has given up a late lead in each of its losses. The Vikings have won consecutive games in which the outcome, shall we say, was opponent-aided. And Green Bay has been forced to use preseason lineups in several games because of a rash of injuries.

What it means is that midway through October, there are few clues on who will emerge as the NFC North champion. You could make an argument that the Bears have played the best on a relative scale, but in the end they're no better in the win-loss column. The only variable is Green Bay's season-opening victory over Minnesota, which gives the Packers a division-best 2-0 record in the NFC North.

Just something to chew on while we travel home from Atlanta. That, and this jaunt around the division:

  • The Chicago Bears protected young cornerback Marcus Hamilton after Sunday's loss to Atlanta, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. Others took the blame, but Haugh suggests Hamilton should have stayed with Falcons receiver Michael Jenkins on one of the game's key plays.

  • Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Bears fans deserve more answers than they got after Sunday's game.

  • Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky was embarrassed after he ran out of the end zone for a safety Sunday at the Metrodome: "When they started blowing the whistle, I was like, 'Did we false start or were they offsides or something?' And I looked, and I was just like, 'You're an idiot.' "

  • Detroit cornerback Leigh Bodden, whose questionable pass interference penalty set up Minnesota's game-winning score, doesn't want an apology from the NFL: ""Don't bother calling us with an apology. I don't want to hear it. It won't change anything. If they can't call us and say that they're giving us back a win that was taken away, then they shouldn't even bother with it."

  • This qualifies as flat-out sympathy from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News:"[At] the risk of sounding soft, I don't mind saying this: The Lions deserved better."

  • The Lions will huddle Monday to discuss the future of quarterback Jon Kitna, according to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. The team hasn't specified the nature of Kitna's back injury, but it appears to be serious.

  • Lost in the shuffle of the game: Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams was credited with four sacks, the most by a Vikings player in nearly 20 years.

  • Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune suggests fans should be happy with a 3-3 record, regardless of how the Vikings got there. "Sunday, if you were employed by the Vikings, it was best to be oblivious to criticism and forgetful of details. After six tumultuous weeks, the Purple is tied for first. Leave it to forensic scientists to figure out how."

  • Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson was despondent after fumbling twice Sunday, Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes.

  • Coach Brad Childress struggled to explain why he didn't go for two points after the Vikings scored in the third quarter. The ensuing extra point left them trailing 10-9. Sean Jensen of the Pioneer Press lays out the situation.

  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press Gazette on the Packers' 27-17 victory at Seattle: "This was far from the kind of win that puts other NFL teams on notice."

  • Green Bay running back Ryan Grant carried 33 times because backup Brandon Jackson had flu-like symptoms and couldn't play, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • The Packers have their fingers crossed on defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, who will undergo an MRI on his triceps. Silverstein has details.