NFC North Weeks 3 and 4 Report Cards

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Welcome to another edition of NFC North Report Cards here at Pigskinnut, your #1 source for divisional report cards around the NFL. It has been a memorable start to the 2020 NFL season, good and bad, for all of these teams. Aaron Rodgers is playing as good as he has at any point in his career, Nick Foles takes over as QB for the Bears, The Vikings are off to an uncharacteristically bad start, while Matt Patricia’s Lions are struggling for yet another season.

Green Bay Packers (4-0 NFC North)

Graded by Timaira Butler

QB- Aaron Rodgers A+

Our NFC North Report Card continues with the division’s top QB, Aaron Rodgers, who has led the Packers to a 4-0 start. By no means was Rodgers comfortable during their meeting with the Saints. Rodgers had to put his dancing shoes on and avoid a couple of close calls. Rodgers passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Playing the Falcons at home, Rodgers threw for four touchdowns.

Running Backs- A

During the Falcons game Running back, Jamaal Williams set a career-high with eight receptions for 95 yards, while Aaron Jones rushed 15 times for 71 yards. Jones had five receptions for 40 yards and a TD.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends- A

A name we haven’t mentioned this season stepped up big in week 4. Robert Tonyan, the tie-dye hat-wearing Packer, who caught six passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns, became just the third tight end in team history with three TD receptions in one game. TE Josiah Deguara ended his night early with a knee injury.

Offensive Line- B

I’ll use this to talk about the Packers offense overall. You don’t go 4-0 without hard work. Aaron Rodgers has only been sacked three times, once in each of the last three games. The Packers are scoring at least 30 points in each of their three last games, But need to get healthy. Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and Kenny Clark are three essential players in the offense and for Clark, the defense. The Packers are strolling into the bye week and need to commit to getting healthy before heading to see Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Defensive Line- B

In Week 3, it was clear the defense had no solution for Alvin Kamara, who carried the Saints the entire night. But the defense was solid in keeping most of Bree’s outside targets locked up. To add some extra pizazz in the Falcons game, Za’Darius Smith ended the first half sacking Matt Ryan. It set the tone for the second half, where Smith would pressure Ryan and set up a split sack for Preston Smith and Kingsley Keke.

Smith also came up with the play that single-handedly set the Packers up for the win, Hitting Tysom Hill for a fumble, which allowed the Packers to make a field goal to break the tie at 27. The defense held the Saints on a three and out, and on the Packers’ next trip down the field, the Packers scored a TD to seal the deal. For his fantastic effort, Za’Darius Smith was named NFC defensive player of the week.

Secondary- B

Kevin King exited the Falcons game early with a quadricep injury, he has allowed 8 catches and a touchdown on 13 targets but will leave the Packers Cornerbacks short staffed if he is unable to play against the Buc’s. A likely replacement if King cant play would be Ka’dar Hollman who saw some playing time in the second half of the Falcons game. Tackle Kenny Clark will be eligible to play for the first time since week 1 when he exited the game due to groin injury.

LB’s- B

Going into the Bye week the Packers also need to focus their efforts on getting veteran Marcedes Lewis (knee) healthy. Preston Smith has not lived up to last years hype and has struggled to start the year, the Packers might want to consider Rashan Gary who has done the opposite but hasn’t been given the opportunity to show all he has to offer. Gary has 58 pass-rushing snaps and seven pressures over the last three games.

Overall Team Grade: A


Minnesota Vikings (1-3 NFC North)

Graded by Timaira Butler

QB- Kirk Cousins: C

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings continue their season going 1-3, losing 1 point to the Tennessee Titans. Cousins threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He looked fast and was able to buy time to complete a touchdown throw to Adam Thielen. He did throw one interception to start the second half. In the 31-23 win against the Texans, Cousins threw for 260 yards and a touchdown.

Running Backs: B

Dalvin Cook had a great game against the Titans, rushing 22 times for 181 yards. A highlight of that game was his 39-yard touchdown. His second-longest of his career. He did have one fumble, running into CJ Ham, resulting in 3 points for the Titans. Alexander Mattison came in during a Dalvin Cook injury against the Texans. He went for 17 yards on seven carries and got a touchdown—a clear second option for the Vikings.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: B

Kyle Rudolph had a show-stopping toe-tap touchdown in the back of the end zone against the Titans. Justin Jefferson has done great settling into the zone that got him open several times. He hauled in a 71 yard on target pass from Cousins and rewarded himself with The Griddy dance to the end zone for his first career touchdown. A true Ode to New Orleans.

Offensive Line: B

The OL provided great pocket protection for Cousins. They had no turns overs during the Texas game and created 24 first downs. They were also very successful at wearing the Texas defense down and created 14 unanswered points in the second half of the game.

Defensive Line: B

The story is similar to the first two games of the season, Too many big plays given up, Too many mistakes. One positive in the Titans game was the interception in the Red Zone. The biggest issue the Vikings may have is if Harrison Smith is suspended after a helmet to helmet hit during the Titans game. Smith was ejected from the game, but it seems unlikely a suspension will occur. On replay, it does look as if Smith was leading with his shoulder, and the Texans Jordan Atkins dropped his head while establishing the catch. But Coach Zimmer was HOT on the sidelines.

Secondary- B

After the ejection of Smith, Safeties George Iloka and Anthony Harris stepped up to fill the void. On a first and goal Harris stopped Texans David Johnson at the 1 yard line. Houston had ten plays from inside the Vikings ten yard line and only gained six total points for their effort. CB Holton Hill picked up a foot injury during the Texans match up which will put added pressure on teammate Cameron Dantzler until he is healthy again.

LB’s- B

Eric Kendricks is a bright spot in the Vikings middle linebacker role. He has lead his time in tackles for 5 consecutive seasons and is pace to do so again with 45 already recorded this season. If consistent was a person, Kendricks would be the Vikings guy. With Viking favorite Anthony Barr still out with a torn pectoral muscle (week 2) Eric Wilson has stepped up to be his replacement. Wilson has 17 tackles and one sack so far this season.


Overall Team Grade: B


Chicago Bears (3-1, 1-0 NFC North)

Graded by Jason Steinlauf

QB Grade: B –

My last NFC North Report Card Mitch Trubisky received a B- after two games, and then he got benched during the third game. That is when Nick Foles came in with the Bears trailing 26-10 and led them to a 30-26 victory vs the Atlanta Falcons. 188 yards, three TDs, and a victory! Then came the Indianapolis Colts, who applied pressure all day long on Foles. The Colts have the number one defense in yards allowed as well as points per game, so maybe Foles really can play.

RB Grade: C-

David Montgomery has 111 total yards, on 29 carries and Tarik Cohen tore his ACL in Atlanta. 158 total rushing yards (45 on a Trubsiky run) is not going to get the job done, and the Bears are lucky to be 1-1 in the last two weeks. Cordarrelle Patterson has done very little with his opportunities. Coming up, the Bears have a couple of soft matchups sandwiched between a couple of tough opponents. They will go up against the 2nd, 21st, 18th, and 6th ranked rushing defenses.

WR/TEs Grade: B

Allen Robinson has been playing like he is in a contract year, 17 receptions for 224 receiving yards, and a TD in both games. Darnell Mooney saw a season-high nine targets in last week’s game with the Colts. Jimmy Graham has scored a couple of TDs to go with his 10 receptions. Anthony Miller and Ted Ginn Jr have combined for eight catches, and look like they may be jumped by Mooney on the depth chart. My rating would be higher if someone other than Robinson would have been able to make a play or two in the loss vs the Colts.

OL Grade: B

Overall, this unit has been solid, they also have been healthy, with the same five guys playing 100 percent of the snaps in each of the last two weeks. The longer this unit stays upright, the better they should get in both pass protection and running the football.

DL Grade: B

In the last two weeks, the Bears have yielded 45 points, 26 of which came in the first 3 quarters of the Falcons game. This unit is not getting go the QB enough, having sacked pocket passers Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers just three combined times. Seventh in PPG with 20.3, with a great chance to get back into the teens if they can find a way to get to the QB. Akiem Hicks his on pace for 14 sacks this season, and if that were to happen, this defense is going to be the reason that the Bears make it to the postseason.

LB Grades: B –

The more and more Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn play together, the better this defensive will get. I think the tandem of those two together is one of the more under-the-radar NFC North news stories. They garner a great deal of attention which in turn frees up Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, and Barkevious Mingo. Smith leads the Bears with 33 tackles. This group needs to force some turnovers if they want to take a jump and be a top-five defense.

Secondary Grade: B –

Calvin Ridley shredded the Bears secondary on the first play of the game for the Falcons. It was a 63-yard reception that set up a first drive TD. He ended the day with 110 yards in the loss. The Bears yielded 365 yards in those two combined games. Only one INT, which iced the Falcons game, continues to illustrate the Bears’ struggles in forcing turnovers. Jaylon Johnson has looked like he belongs in this league through the first four games of his NFL career.

Coaching Grade: C

Matt Nagy made the switch to Nick Foles after an early third quarter Trubisky INT. That decision looks like it was the right one, even with the week four loss to the Colts. Spotty play calling and the inability to get the running game going has the spotlight on Nagy. His fate may be tied to the success of Foles. Will Nagy be able to get the Bears clicking on all cylinders, that remains to be seen.

Team Grade: B –

Detroit Lions (1-3, 0-2 NFC North)

Graded by Jason Steinlauf

QB Grade: C

Our NFC North Report Card concludes with the last-place Lions. Matthew Stafford has only the 19th highest QB ranking in the NFL. That is one of the main reasons that this Detroit Lions squad has struggled to a 1-3 start. Averaging 265.5 passing yards per game, which ranks 14th in the league. Stafford has had most of his weapons at his disposal all season, WR Kenny Golladay missed the first two weeks of the season. Taking three sacks a game is a little higher than someone coming off of a back injury would like.

RB Grade: B +

In each of the last two games, week three vs the Arizona Cardinals and week four vs the New Orleans Saints, the Lions have run for 180 yards. 111 for Adrian Peterson on 33 carriers (3.6 YPC.) Rookie D’Andre Swift only has nine touches in that span, as he tries to put the week one drop against the Bears behind him. Kerryon Johnson continues to be ignored in this offense.

WR/TEs Grade: C +

Golladay has 15 targets in his two games since returning from his hamstring injury. Marvin Jones has only four catches in that same time span. T.J. Hockenson has hauled in six of his 11 targets, which has basically left Stafford with only one playmaker in this offense.

OL Grade: C

The Saints sacked Stafford three times, and the Cardinals added four has this unit has been unable to keep him on his feet. 26th in yards per game, and 19th in points per game, have the Lions poised for yet another losing season. If this unit can right the ship and establish some dominance at the line of scrimmage, they may have a chance to be around 8-8. If not, it is going to be a cold, long, fall/winter in the Motor City.

DL Grade: C

The last two weeks have been great compared to the first two weeks. The defensive line forced some pressure that led to four INT, three of Kyler Murray and one of Drew Brees. Romeo Okwara has a sack in each of the last two games. Danny Shelton, Trey Flowers and Okwara led the way in snaps has they tried to battle back after going down 35-14 in the week four loss to the Saints.

LB Grades: C +

This position has some good players, Jamie Collins Sr (15 tackles). and Christian Jones (11 tackles) pace the way for this talented, yet not great unit. Reggie Ragland added 1.5 tackles for loss in a game that saw his snap count went from 29 to 63 percent the last two weeks. Getting some more talent could help the Lions try and get to the middle of the pack defensively.

Secondary Grade: C

Desmond Trufant came back from injury in week four, to a tune of 63 percent of snaps played. Jeff Okudah added five tackles and saw an increase in snaps due to the aggravation of Trufant’s hamstring injury. Tracy Walker has 18 tackles the last two weeks while being on the field for 100 percent of the plays. Amani Oruwariye started opposite of Trufant, as he has looked better early on this season than Okudah. Duron Harmon has missed only one snap in the last two games.

Coaching Grade:D +

I believe that Matt Patricia will not survive the 2020 season as the head coach of the Lions if things don’t turn around quickly. With the talent that the former Defensive Coordinator has on that side of the ball, they just are not a very good unit. Giving up 31.8 PPG vs scoring 24.8 is not going to get it done for the third-year head coach. They do have a couple of winnable games coming up, at Jacksonville and at Atlanta. Those games give the Lions a realistic chance to get to 3-3, which would temporarily cool off Patricia’s hot seat.

Team Grade: D+


NFC North Report Card