While the Green Bay Packers were enjoying their bye week, some potential challengers for the top seed in the NFC struggled on Sunday. The Saints laid an egg against the Rams. The Giants had to rally to beat the Dolphins, and the Cowboys got destroyed by the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Lions overcame the power of Tebow to improve to 6-2 and the 49ers took care of business aginst the Browns to improve to 6-1.
In other news, the Vikings got a little bit of good fortune to win their second game and the Bears joined the Packers in taking the week off.
Even though the Packes didn’t play, their stock went up. If you watched any football at all this weekend, you’d be hard pressed to find a team that could beat the Packers right now. But instead of spending another stock report praising all that is right in Cheeseland, lets devote some attention to other stocks throughout the NFC North.
Which players in the NFC North are on the rise and could give the Packers some fits down the stretch? Which players are playing at a steady level and which have dropped off a cliff?
A new contract might not be in his immediate future, but that hasn’t stopped Forte from carrying the Bears’ offense. In addition to 672 rushing yards and 5.4 yards-per-carry, Forte also has 38 catches for 419 yards. To put those receiving numbers in perspective, the only Packers player with more receptions is Greg Jennings (42). The only Packers receivers with more yards through the air are Jennings (677) and Jordy Nelson (465).
I know the Packers offense doesn’t rely solely on one or two players, but those comparisons are still eye-opening.
Speaking of eye-opening, Calvin Johnson has left many DBs wide-eyed this season. Johnson is averaging six catches for 101 yards and over one TD per game. More importantly, he makes defenders and coaching staffs feel helpless when trying to stop him.
How do you stop a guy that’s bigger than some TEs, runs faster than a lot of WRs and jumps higher than a lot of NBA players? Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson and Dom Capers better figure something out.
I like to mock and ridicule Allen because a lot of his production seems to come against backup offensive linemen (and because he’s a redneck with the IQ of a tool shed). But I don’t care who he’s matched up against, Allen has been a machine this season. Through eight games, he has 13 sacks, 33 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception.
Marshall Newhouse better be ready for the rematch in two weeks. I know Allen will.
Every season teams talk about keeping the ball away from Hester on kick and punt returns, and every year Hester remains the most dangerous return man in football. He’s got two TDs this season — one on a kick and one on a punt return. He’s averaging close to 15 yards per punt return and still makes fans of opposing teams squirm as soon as he touches the ball.
It’s been over a year since Hester victimized the Packers. Shawn Sloccum and Co. need to make sure it doesn’t happen in Week 16.
I love watching Peterson because he tries to hit a home run every carry. As soon as he gets the ball, he’s looking for a way to take it to the house. He doesn’t care about hitting a single or a double, he wants a 475-foot homer. He’s hit plenty of bombs this season, too. After eight games, Peterson is on pace for 1,600 yards and 18 TDs.
I don’t care how good Christian Ponder has looked in his first two starts. The Packers defensive game plan in two weeks should revolve around preventing Peterson from hitting home runs.
Playing in the shadow of Ndomukong Suh, Avril had nine sacks last season and has five through seven games this season. The DE sacked Tebow twice on Sunday and hovers under the radar on a Lions team filled with some talented and brash young talent.
If the Packers are going to beat the Lions twice, they’ll have to contain Avril and the rest of his aggressive linemates.
If you had week six as the week Best would get hurt, congratulations. You win.
Remember when people were up in arms because Knox wasn’t starting? He’s got 19 catches and no TDs. Can’t blame it all on Mike Martz.
After serving a two-game suspension for
cheating taking a banned substance, Williams has battled a foot injury and is a far cry from the player that anchored the best run defense in the NFL a few years ago. If you don’t believe me, just watch James Starks and the Packers offensive line abuse Williams on the game’s final drive during week seven.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .