Week 2 was great for two teams and not so great for the others in the NFC North. Only one team had another dominating performance, while one fell to earth after a great week. The funny thing is that it ended up not being the teams you would think.
Another team almost fell to the passing attacking of a rookie most people thought would not make it in the NFL, and another snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Once again, not the teams you would think. So the NFC finished 2-2 this week, scoring 111 points while allowing 80. If not for the blowout that occurred in the Chiefs/Lions game, that score would not be as impressive. In fact, it would have been 63-77 without it.
Lions 48, Chiefs 3
Over the last decade, this would be a game the Lions would typically lose. They were heavily favored and expected to win. That would have guaranteed a loss, but they won and won big. They looked like an unstoppable juggernaut on offense and a monster on defense.
Lions fans saw something special Sunday in that the Lions may have arrived. It wasn't that they beat a bad Chiefs team, they destroyed them. Matt Stafford threw for almost 300 yards and four TDs. The Lions defense held the Chiefs to 133 yards passing while getting two INTs.
Next week they face the Vikings. There was no weakness in Detroit's performance, and that is a scary thought. If the Lions can go to the Metrodome and win (something they have not done since 1997), the crazy talk of the Lions winning the NFC North does not sound so crazy.
What a difference a week makes. Last week everyone in Chicago was crowing about how the Bears are returning to the playoffs and are unstoppable while ignoring the fact that Cutler was sacked five times and they couldn't score in the red zone.
This week it was the Bears' turn to run into a buzz saw. The Bears were beaten and bloodied by the time the clock showed zeroes Sunday afternoon. We watched an O-line that couldn't block and Mike Martz become Mike Martz and go to the pass when the running game was effective.
The first half was close, ending in a 16-13 Saints lead, but the second half was all Saints. With the Packers, Panthers and Lions coming up, the Bears had better figure out how to block and keep Martz in check.
Packers 30, Panthers 23
Over 400 yards and one TD. That wasn't Aaron Rodgers. That would be Cam Newton. In fact, that would be his second game of over 300+ yards. It was against the reigning Super Bowl champs.
The Packers looked to be on the ropes and losing this fight, which would have been a horrible loss for them. Like true champions, though, they got up, brushed themselves off, took the game back and got the win.
The Packers have allowed 57 points to be scored in their first 2 games. Luckily, they have been able to outscore their opponents. That will not last. They face an angry rival next in the Bears, and believe me, the Bears are looking for payback. Down the road it is the Falcons, the Chargers, one more against the Bears and two against the Lions.
Needless to say, the Packers defense needs to stop allowing so many points or they will not return to the Super Bowl.
Buccaneers 24, Vikings 20
The Vikings are slowly becoming what Detroit was, a team that gives games away. In the first two games of the season, the Vikings blew second-half leads. In both games they lost in the fourth quarter.
While McNabb was better this week, it was not enough to give the Vikings the game. They lost this one with 31 seconds left. Adrian Peterson ran for 120 yards and two TDS. Their defense had two sacks and an INT. Yet they still lost with 31 seconds left in the game. They couldn't stop the Buccaneers when they needed to even though their defense played well.
Next up are the Lions, who look to be the real deal, and winning in Minnesota would cement it. The next five weeks after that include games against the Packers twice and one against the Bears. We may start hearing the "We want Ponder" chant sooner rather than later.
After two weeks, the Lions and the Packers sit atop the NFC North. Next week is the first time all the NFC North teams face each other. Can the Lions win their first NFC North game as a visiting team in almost four years, or will the Vikings start salvaging their season? Will the Bears leave behind a drubbing by the Saints, or will the Packers continue their winning streak against the Bears?
It may be early to say this, but this weekend could set the tone for the rest of the season.