Around the NFC North: Week 16 All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Around the NFC North
This week’s slate of NFC North games could set up a huge finish to the 2013 regular season

Week 15 brought about some major fireworks around the NFC North, culminating with the Monday night game between the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens.  The Lions scored a late touchdown to take the lead but allowed the Ravens to drive and give kicker Justin Tucker a shot at a game winning 61-yard field goal.  He made it and suddenly, the Lions find themselves in third place behind the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

On Sunday, the Bears were able to hang on and pick up a valuable road win against the Cleveland Browns.  It was Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s first game back in over a month and while he was admittedly a bit rusty, he was able to create enough to get Chicago the win.  The Bears are now alone in first place in the North.

The Minnesota Vikings spanked the visiting Philadelphia Eagles and brought the birds back down to earth a bit, ending Phily’s five-game winning streak.  What is more impressive is that Minnesota did so without the services of their best player in that of running back Adrian Peterson.  They were also without running back Toby Gerhart but they did manage to get three rushing touchdowns from. . Matt Asiata?  While the Vikings are playing for pride, at this point, they certainly showed plenty on Sunday.

Benefiting from the Eagles’ loss, albeit ever so slightly, was the Dallas Cowboys.  In Sunday’s late game and America’s “Game of the Week”, the Cowboys hosted the Packers.  Green Bay had not won in nine previous trips (including playoffs) to Dallas and had lost 11 of their last 12 there, spanning over a 24-year period.  That record, however, was at the old Texas Stadium in Irving.  This game would be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where the Packers won their most recent Super Bowl in February of 2011.

After heading in the halftime locker room down 26-3, the Packers seemed all but done for the day.  Many suggested that they just board the bus and head home.  I know because I was among them.  After watching this team flail through the past five games, it seemed highly unlikely that they could overcome such a deficit.  They did just that, however, capitalizing on two huge interceptions late in the fourth quarter to seal the comeback victory over the Cowboys, 37-36.  No team or fan base was more elated by the Lions loss to the Ravens than the Packers, as they remain in contention for a division title and can secure it on their own and without help.

The battle for the NFC North looks like it could go down to the last game of the season so let’s look at this week’s slate of games and break down the implications of each.

Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)

As I mentioned earlier, the Vikings are playing for pride, at this point.  The next two games both seemingly have playoff implications for their opponents so that pride factor could play a role in this upcoming postseason.  The Vikings travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals and finish out at home against the Lions.  That will be the Vikings’ last home game at Mall of America Field, as they will move to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis while they await construction on their new home to open in 2016.

The Vikings scored a season-high 48 points in their win over the Eagles and are in position to end out the 2013 season on a high note, should they be able to win one or both of these last two games.  Many questions are swirling about Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier’s job status so these next two games will be very telling.

The Bengals suffered a slight setback in their quest to win the AFC North as they were thumped by the Steelers on Sunday night football.  The loss dropped Cincy to 9-5 and with just a one-game lead over the Ravens.  The Bengals are undefeated at home this season (6-0) and while nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, this is one that Cincinnati should win.  Their last two games will be at home.

Even without stud defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in early November, the Bengals defense continues to mount pressure on opposing passers.  The Vikings have allowed 37 sacks on the year and their offensive line will be challenged to keep quarterback Matt Cassel upright.

Peterson’s health status will also play a big role in Minnesota’s chances of pulling off a big upset win on the road.  More will be known on Peterson as the week moves along.  The Vikings are winless on the road this season at 0-6-1.

Chicago Bears (8-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)

The Bears earned a road win over Cleveland on Sunday and continue to find offensive consistency.  They also have an emerging star in that of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who is peaking at the perfect time for Chicago.  Jeffery has recently made some highlight-reel catches.  Too many to count and this is just his second year.  Add in Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, and the Bears can put up some points.  On the other side of the ball, Chicago expects to get veteran linebacker Lance Briggs back from injury this week and just in time for the late-season push.

The Eagles ran into a proverbial brick wall in Minnesota as they gave up 48 points in a loss to the Vikings.  Philadelphia missed out on an opportunity to separate themselves from the Cowboys and all but lock up the NFC East, with Dallas having lost to Green Bay.  Philadelphia has actually struggled at home a bit this season so they will need to bounce back strong to hang with the Bears.

They key in this game will be how well Chicago’s defense, who are giving up over 150 rushing yards per game, can contain Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.  McCoy was held to just 38 yards on eight carries against the Vikings, as Minnesota held an early lead and forced Philadelphia into pass mode.  The Eagles lead the league in rushing offense, with just over 150 yards per game so something will have to give in this contest.

After not committing a turnover through the first thirteen weeks of the season, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles now has an interception in two straight games.  Chicago’s pass defense is ranked 11th in the league and are tied for sixth with 17 interceptions on the season.  Takeaways have long been the trademark of the Bears defense and they will look to be just as disruptive this week.

The Bears will need to take a page out of Minnesota’s book this week and build an early lead, especially on the road.  Forcing the Eagles to get away from putting the ball in the hands of their top playmaker obviously proved very successful for the Vikings.  Minnesota was able to jump out to an early lead via a 57-yard touchdown pass.  Philadelphia’s pass coverage is a weak spot in their defense and one that the Bears can certainly exploit.

Chicago’s offensive arsenal has been impressive of late.  The earlier-mentioned Jeffery has elevated his play and is leading the Bears in receiving yardage with 1,265.  Jeffery has seven touchdowns on the season and he has become masterful at the jump ball.  With two big and physical receivers in Jeffery and Marshall, the Bears will present a tough matchup for the Eagles’ very average secondary.

Forte has over 1,200 rushing yards and over 500 receiving yards in one of the best seasons in his career.  Forte can split out wide and is a valuable option out of the backfield.  Chicago finally has the offensive firepower to keep up with most anyone on offense alone.

The big question is whether that Bears offense can prevent the big turnover.  Cutler had an interception in the end zone during the first quarter in Cleveland and against playoff teams, those types of plays are momentum killers.  Cutler has to find that delicate balance between giving his receivers a chance to make a play and throwing one into dangerous coverage.

Lastly, the Eagles currently own a tie breaker over the Bears with a better conference record.  Should the two teams end up with the same record and atop their divisions, that conference mark will determine the higher seed.  A head-to-head win by Chicago, however, would reverse that fortune and automatically give the Bears the higher seed in that scenario.

New York Giants (5-9) at Detroit Lions (7-7)

The Giants regressed to their early-season form and were an easy foe for the NFL-leading Seattle Seahawks.  While it was the Seahawks, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw five interceptions, which won’t beat anyone, let alone the league’s best.  The Giants are already eliminated from playoff contention but they have an opportunity to help out the Packers and Bears if they can muster a win against the Lions.

Detroit has all of a week to lick their wounds and return from the devastating loss to the Ravens on Monday night.  The Lions have fought all year long and worked to shed the “doormat” label that has lingered in Detroit for the better part of two decades.  Minus the 2011 season, the Lions have found countless ways not to win.  Will the same be true in 2013?

Well, in order for that not to be the case, the Lions will now need some help.  Where they could have locked up the division on their own and by winning the Lions will now need some form of help in order to claim the North division title.  The scenarios are many and with the Packers and Bears set to face off in week 17, many things can result.

This game is either going to be Detroit getting really healthy and taking out their frustrations on a terribly inconsistent Giants team or New York kicking the Lions while they are down.  The key is the quarterback play on both sides.  Both Manning and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford have a tendency to throw a few bad balls every game.  For Manning, it’s forcing it into coverage.  For Stafford, it’s not being in sync with his receiver, throwing too hard or too high.

The defense that can force more mistakes in this one will come away with a victory.  With the disappointing loss to the Ravens and a tougher road to the playoffs, jobs could now be on the line in Detroit.  Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and his staff will surely pull out all the stops to get a win and stop the bleeding.

For New York and their head coach Tom Coughlin, his fate may already be sealed, but he is a prideful individual and will expect his team to come out and put up a good fight.  After all of the blows the Giants have dealt to the Packers over the last six year, it would only be fitting that they are in position to either help or further hinder Green Bay’s standings, once again.

This one is tough to call, given how unpredictable the NFL is but I would be surprised if the Lions came out flat and got beat by this Giants team in Detroit’s last regular season home game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (7-6-1)

A lot has changed in the three years since these teams met in Super Bowl XLV but Packers fans are hopeful that their team will have the same quarterback under center who helped them win that championship back in 2011.  As has been the case for a few weeks running, we will be eagerly awaiting an update on the status of Aaron Rodgers for this week’s game.

Rodgers has missed the Packers’ last six games with a broken collarbone, seven if you include the majority of the game in which he was injured.  With just two games left, the Packers have managed to keep themselves in contention for the NFC North division title and the news that their starting signal caller is finally ready to play would be very welcome.

Green Bay is coming off of a huge road win against the Dallas Cowboys in a game that saw backup quarterback Matt Flynn bring the Packers back from a 26-3 halftime deficit to overtake Dallas.  It’s the kind of win that can propel a team to do some remarkable things and that is exactly what the Packers need at this point.

With no chance at a wild card spot, the Packers only avenue to the postseason this year is by winning the North.  In order to do that, Green Bay is going to have to essentially have to win their last two games.  There is likely a scenario where they could lose this game, beat the Bears and still win the division, but that’s doing things the hard way.  If the Packers want this division title, they need to win out and finish strong heading into a postseason opportunity.

The Steelers also scored a big win, taking down the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night football.  While it is highly unlikely that the Steelers can overcome the bad start to this season in which they lost six of their first eight games, this is a team and organization with a lot of pride.  Their head coach Mike Tomlin is a staunch players coach and can rally this team around any cause.

Leftover from that 2010 Steelers Super Bowl team are long-time veterans in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, tight end Heath Miller, safety Troy Polamalu and safety Ryan Clark.  While their record doesn’t show it, this is a savvy bunch who are capable of playing with anyone on any given day.  They’re aware of what is at stake for the Packers and will be looking to spoil the party at Lambeau Field come Sunday.  It would be one small step towards atoning for that championship loss, although that is forever ingrained in the history books.

Flynn will start if Rodgers is unable and judging by the second half of this past game, that may not be such a bad thing for the Packers.  Flynn completely turned it around and got in sync with his receivers enroute to a huge comeback win.  Also aiding in the effort was running back Eddie Lacy, who had 141 yards on 21 carries and the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

As I have said many times, these NFC/AFC matchups can provide some of the most entertaining games due to the lack of familiarity between teams.  The last regular season meeting between the Steelers and Packers was no exception.  After a back-and-forth battle that saw three lead changes and with Green Bay leading, Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace in the end zone for a game-winning score with time expiring.  It was one of those games that is hard to forget.

Although the Steelers have struggled this season, they cannot be taken lightly.  The Packers have struggled to get a consistent pass rush and against the bigger and somewhat mobile Roethlisberger, that will cause problems for the Green Bay defense.  Clay Matthews wasn’t able to get to Tony Romo in this last game and the Packers desperately need #52 to come on strong in these last two games.

This game will feature two of the first running backs taken in this year’s draft.  Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in Sunday’s win and is a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year consideration.  Bell’s season didn’t start until late September due to injury, but he has a respectable 646 yards and six touchdowns on the year.  The Steelers will always be the Steelers and try to establish the run and Sunday will be no different.  The Packers will do the same with the seemingly indestructible Lacy, who played through an ankle sprain in last week’s game and who has suffered a concussion and an asthma attack in game action this season.

At home and if Rodgers is able to play, the Packers have a considerable edge with so much left to play for.  Still, with Flynn, the Packers now know they can score and win.  Lambeau Field in December/January has not been kind to too many opponents in recent history, one of which was the 2011 Lions who were beaten by Flynn and the best day of his career.  With Flynn, it can be done.

The last time the Steelers were at Lambeau in December was December 24, 1995.  The Steelers had already locked up the top seed in the AFC and the Packers needed to win to get into the playoffs and win what was then the NFC Central.  A last-second pass in the end zone to a wide open Yancy Thigpen was dropped and the Packers were division winners.  From there, they went all the way to the NFC Championship game before losing to the Cowboys.

We shall see if there is any history that repeats itself this week.





Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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41 thoughts on “Around the NFC North: Week 16

  1. That Christmas Eve game in 1995 holds a special place in my heart: it was during that game that I became a Packer fan.

    I was born a couple of months before the Ice Bowl. Growing up in the dark years of the ’70s and ’80s, I had little reason to pay attention to football in Wisconsin as I had never known what it was to be a fan of a good team (apart from the couple of “Huh, the Packers are actually OK this year, eh?” seasons). I simply had more important things to do with my time than pay attention to a perpetually lousy team.

    But that Christmas Eve, my dad wanted to have the game on when my family gathered to celebrate together. And as the game went on, I got caught up in the excitement. On that final drive, with the game and the playoffs on the line, I was glued to the screen, and when Yancey Thigpen dropped that pass in the end zone and silently mouthed to the camera, “Merry Christmas, Green Bay!” I was hooked.

    I’ve hardly missed a game since. Thank you for making me a Packer fan, Yancey, and merry Christmas, wherever you are.

    1. My parents taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything.

      They also taught me that Even a stubborn fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent. He is considered intelligent if he keeps his lips sealed.

      Why do you come here sporting the same drivel every single day. Go to the Vikings forum and spout your trash about TT/MM. They’ll eat it up.

    2. You really need some new material, Archie.

      This kind of has me thinking, though. What exactly IS an ass clown? Is it big red nose you stick in your ass? Or is it a clown that wears a suit that looks like an ass? Does an ass clown wear an ass hat? And is there an ass clown car?

      These are the things that keep me up at night…

    3. “Tough to win when your GM/HC are Ass-Clowns unless of course, your QB is named Aaron Rodgers.”

      So the wins they’ve had during this stretch, although fewer than we hoped to see, would make this team resilient or lucky?

  2. GB wins by 11 (35-24) – with ARod and Cobb back in the fold

    CHI gets their doors blown off by the Iggles (their D sucks bad) 27-42

    DET squeaks by NYG 21-20 in a batlle of “no, you take it”

    MIN late season magic ends. They lose by 14 to the Ben-Gals. 17-31. Then they lose to Detwah next week.

    GB goin to the playoffs as a 4 seed to play SF. Dunno if they can win that one, even with Rodgers back. The DL would have to re-learn how to play run D from Sep/Oct

    1. Good calls Bearmeat. I think that the Pittsburgh game will be closer than 11 points. They are a better team than both Atlanta and Dallas.

      My worry is your last point about our D learning to play the run. Our inability to stop the run may sink our ship this weekend or next weekend in Chicago or when Frank Gore come to town. As much as I say that our D-line is not winning the battle of the trenches, I am starting to believe that our linebackers are the ultimate problem on both the run and in pass protection. Our two ILB are not getting it done – period.

      The saving grace may be Rodgers and Cobb helping to turn up the tempo, forcing teams to score faster. Either way, we need to stop the run if we want to really make a run.

      1. I told my wife weeks ago that if GB could just play .500 ball without ARod, they’ll win the division.

        Neither DET or CHI is any good. We have owned both of them for 20 years and that’s not going to stop now.

        Regarding the run D – early in the season our ILB’s were being kept clean. They’re not now. For some reason, Pick/Raji/Jolly aren’t getting it done. And it may not be fixable.

        This is my ONLY worry. If they get that fixed (and I don’t know if they can) then we win the division going away and are primed for a deep playoff run.

        1. I think Chicago has shown, given their own injury issues, that they’re pretty good on one side of the ball (and they would likely be much better if they weren’t as banged up on the other side). Detroit is streaky and I don’t think they know how to handle the spotlight. They also can be very good on the O-side. In general, none of GB/Chi/Det are teams that you would expect to go very far in the post-season due to those deficiencies.

          Hoping that Boyd playing some snaps will help keep the horses on the defensive side fresher, and that ARod comes back this week to take some heat off the D and allow the ship to right itself.

          1. That’s another thing: Where the heck is D. Jones? He’s had a few sacks, but has not played much.

            Worthy gets a medical clearance. Boyd is a young/upcoming buck.

            IMO they bring back Jolly and CJ Wilson for cheap. Let Pickett and Raji walk.

            1. Can’t let Pickett and Raji both walk. You don’t have ANY NT then! Jolly kinda, maybe could play NT some, but he’s best as a DE, not NT. Still think Raji will be back and Pickett possibly leaves. Wilson does nothing let him walk, hell help him walk out of town. Wilson will NOT be back. Wilson plays the same position as D. Jones, Worthy, Daniels, Jolly and maybe Boyd. He’s not very good and COMPLETELY redundant!

  3. Very nervous about Sunday’s game with Pitt. The Steelers looked bad early in the season, but are 6-4 since their bye, although the only “playoff” teams they’ve beaten are the Ravens and Bengals during that stretch, and those wins were at the big Ketchup bottle. They have been taking care of the football over that stretch, and protecting Roethlisberger.

    Antonio Brown will give the Packers fits, and while Leveon Bell hasn’t been rolling up yardage, he’s a capable back…which is all it seems to take to be successful against the Packer front 7 of late. The big difference between Pitt and Dallas is that Pitt can slow down teams through the air. Another high-scoring game might be in the works, and no ARod would make that dicey.
    ARod plays…
    Packers 34
    Steelers 28
    No ARod…
    Steelers 31
    Packers 21
    …if only because the Packers have won over this ARod-less stretch when I’ve picked against them.

    The Bears skated by last week in a game they probably should have lost. If the elements are a problem in Philly (and they might be), I’m not sure they’re equipped to handle LeSean McCoy, although Briggs might be back which could help them. Add to this the fact that the Eagles should be an angry football team, and I don’t think the Bears are as lucky this week…
    Philly 35
    Bears 30

    The wheels are coming off in Detroit and I just don’t believe the coaching staff there knows how to handle it. Lucky for them the Giants are coming to town. The Giants play enough D and are strong enough up front to keep the Lions in check if Eli doesn’t give the ball away.
    Lions 24
    Giants 17

    Bengals/Vikes? Meh.
    Bengals 41
    Vikes 11

  4. I like the way it’s shaping up, If we can get AR back it would be even better, I don’t like to think about playing in Chicago on that piece of crap field, won’t mater we’re going to spank Pit and Chi. anyway!! Go Pack!!!!

  5. Does anyone on this blog get “hidden due to low comment rating” as often as Archie? I will give you kudo’s for your consistency, as mindless and negative as it is. GoPack!

  6. If we win out and win the division we still have a chance to get the Saints in GB for the 1st round. We can take a dome team at home in January. SF beats #3 Philly. Then SF goes to Seattle and we go to Panthers. Who knows, but with AR back and some luck we’re hosting SF in GB for the NFC title. Long way to go, focus on Pitt first. Pack 31-17. Rodgers return would be a nice X-mas present. Sugar plums and a partridge in a pear tree. Thanks, Since ’61

  7. Bearmeat – I don’t see how the Bears/ Eagles game impacts the Niners or the Saints for their wildcard seeding. I am assuming the Eagles win their division at 10-6 and beat the Bears this week. Then Panthers defeat Saints this week dropping NO into #5 wildcard and the Niners drop into #6 with a loss in either of last 2 games. Maybe I have miscalculated. In either case Go Pack! And Bears lose to anybody and everybody regardless of playoff seedings. Thank, Since ’61

  8. I don’t think the niners will lose either of their final 2 game, but I hope they do.

    I hope Rodgers can play this week, but I’m getting the feeling that he won’t. The steelers D is a lot better than Atlantas or Dallas’s. I do have more faith in Flynn now, but this is going to be a tuff game for the Packers. The steelers looked very physical beating the Bengals last week and the Steelers have a Super Bowl QB.

    Go Pack!

    1. I think you’re right on ARod, which is leading me to wonder just how bad his injury really was, and how much smoke-screening has been going on. Dallas was a sieve…Pitt, not so much.

      As for the Bengals, there’s a history there for Pittsburgh, and it was being played in Pitt. The media might play up a SB rematch, but I don’t see any axes to grind, here. Really, I thought Cinci played them pretty even from late in the 2nd qtr on, it’s just that Pitt got the jump on them.

  9. The end of this season feels like the end of 2010. Packers momentum building as they roll towards a possible playoff birth. As mentioned before a large part of this game is mental. I can see the confidence building in this team. They believe they can do this. ..and so do I. Go Pack Go!!

  10. I don’t really care who we face as long as we get in the playoffs! If we do then we won our division and get a home playoff game vs SF, NO or Carolina. I’ll take the Packers vs each of them in Lambeau in January.

  11. Bearmeat, you are correct. I have been so focused on the Packers getting in as the # 4 I overlooked the fact that they can actually get in as the 3 seed. I’m not sure if the 3 or 4 seed really matters, as Stroh says, as long as we get in but being #3 does increase the likelihood to get NO in the 1st round. Thanks Bearmeat for clarifying this point. Would like to see AR back for this week, plus sixty minutes of solid defense instead of 30. I know these are not the SB Steelers but they still play hard and physical. We can’t let them have the 1st half like the last 2 games. Be nice to play with a lead, it’s been a while. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Still a lot of permutations. Playing around with the playoff machine, i’ve had the Packers up against NO, Carolina, SF, Seattle & Arizona. It looks like the most likely opponents are SF & NO.

    2. I agree that in GB in Jan, our odds are good against any of SF/NO/CAR. SF scares me most of course based on recent history. But there’s still a good reason to want the 3 seed: getting to play in CAR/NO rather than SEA in the second round. Either NFCS road matchup would be easier than SEA, I think.

      Best case scenario I see: Take the 3 seed and beat NO in GB while SF beats PHI. Go beat CAR while SF takes out SEA (obviously not a given, but possible). Host SF in GB for the NFC championship, and helloooo, New York!

      1. Assuming the Packers win out, what will decide the 3 or 4 seed is how the East shakes out.

        If Dallas wins the E., or if the Bears beat Philly, the Packers are the 3 seed. If Philly wins both its remaining games, they will be the #3 seed.

        If the Packers lose this week but beat the Bears — and if the Lions lose once more — the Packers would be the 4 seed at 8-7-1.

        It’s difficult to know how hard teams like Seattle & SF will play in Weeks 16 & 17. That may give Arizona a chance to sneak into the playoffs at the expense of the NFC South runner-up.

        1. So as someone previously commented — we are actually in the position of rooting for “da Bears” this weekend!

        2. “If the Packers lose this week but beat the Bears — and if the Lions lose once more — the Packers would be the 4 seed at 8-7-1.”

          This is true only if Chicago loses at Philly. If the Pack loses and Chicago beats Philly, playoffs are over.

  12. I refuse to even entertain the playoff scenario talk. Looking past the Steelers is dangerous. They have a champion QB would plays in these mudder games. They have the grinders to stop our inconsistent offense (unlike Dallas). They have weapons to score against erratic defenses.

    If we get by the Steelers our defense will need a way to stop Forte, Marshall, Jeffery and their TE. Yeah, I know that “we own” the Bears but Tressman has these guys playing good ball and McCowan has demonstrated this new reality.

    The chicken haven’t hatched yet folks.

    1. Honestly, I wrote that and I can’t even read it. The chickens haven’t hatched? What about the eggs. Just ignore my garble.

      The drift is that we have two tough games against dangerous opponents and I won’t consider anything past this Sunday.

      1. I’d just assumed you’d finished an online course on “secret agent speak” and were showing off.

    2. At this stage, It’s starting to look as if ARod is done for the regular season. I hope I’m wrong. Without #12 under center, nothing is certain and I wouldn’t put too much stock in Flynn’s performances against pathetic Dallas and Atlanta defenses.

  13. If Rodgers is done for the season, he is either the most expensive decoy or cheerleader, take your pick, in history. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. With each week playing out the same way, and not much new information, my best hope is that they’re hoping to have ARod for the Bears next week. If they lose to Pitt this week, though, next week’s game won’t mean much if the Lions and/or Bears win this week.

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