The back half of the 2013 NFL schedule is officially underway. In the NFC North, there is currently a three-way tie for first place with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers all knotted up at 5-3. The Minnesota Vikings still have only one win to seven losses.
The big news out of the division was the Bears’ 27-20 win over the Packers on Monday night. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was hurt early in that game and did not return. On Monday, it was confirmed that Rodgers has a broken collarbone, but will not require surgery. He will miss some time and that exact timetable is unknown. Normally one player’s injury isn’t as noteworthy, but this is one that could very well shift power within the division.
Green Bay appeared to be in the driver’s seat to win the North with upcoming games against the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Detroit Lions. Now, they just need to find a way to survive and hope that Rodgers misses minimal time. The Packers aren’t the same team without Rodgers, regardless of who is backing him up. With Seneca Wallace, their offense didn’t even resemble a shell of itself on Monday night.
Let’s take a look at this week’s games, which features another good divisional matchup between the Lions and Bears.
Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (1-7)
This is a tale of two playoff teams from a year ago who are disappointing this year. The Vikings have managed just one win all season and that was a “home” game in London. Their own fans still have not enjoyed a win in what will be the last season at Mall of America Field (Metrodome). This one is the Thursday night matchup and will be Minnesota’s second primetime game in their last three.
During Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings lost tight end Kyle Rudolph, who will miss time with a broken foot. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was already struggling and will now be without one of his favorite targets. John Carlson will assume the tight end duties, but expect some drop-off there.