Three of the four NFC North teams will be in action tomorrow, with the Detroit Lions getting their seasons underway under the lights on Monday Night Football.
- The only new quarterback in the NFC North is also the corniest:
More like SKLOL am I right? pic.twitter.com/SyDFbWeahR
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 8, 2018
- We have spent a fair amount of time dissecting the Bears’ new-look offense, but Pro Football Focus’ Rob Hamilton highlights how the Packers will bring a different look on defense this season. Mike Pettine takes over as defensive coordinator for Dom Capers and will lead a secondary full of fresh faces. Rookie cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson stand out as top prospects from the last draft, while fellow corner Tramon Williams returns for his second stint in Green Bay. Jackson was PFF’s highest-graded cornerback during the preseason and the Packers certainly hope the Iowa product carries that over into Week 1.
- As if the Packers didn’t have enough things going in their favor, the folks at ACME Packing Co. have pointed out that Football Outsiders view Green Bay’s schedule as one of the easiest in football. The Bears’ schedule ranks among the middle of the pack (18th), but it could be worse. For example, the four most challenging schedules belong to the teams in the NFC South. Have fun getting through that gauntlet, gents.
- The Lions are pretty set at quarterback with Pro Bowler Matt Stafford, but I suppose you can never have enough depth at the position. I mean, why else would the team bring in recently released signal caller Paxton Lynch to work out for the team? ESPN’s Field Yates tweets the Lions worked out Lynch with an eye on doing their due diligence on the former first-round pick. Matt Cassel is the only backup listed behind Stafford, but the 36-year-old journeyman is eight years removed from his Pro Bowl season with the Chiefs. Yeah, that’s reason enough to dive into the deep end of the quarterback pool.
- Chicago’s GM Ryan Pace wasn’t the only one rewarding his own last week. Detroit signed defensive back Quandre Diggs to a three-year extension, via NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. The Lions plucked Diggs as a sixth-round pick in 2015 and has successfully made the move from cornerback. Having that kind of versatility and skill could come in handy when facing a talented crop of quarterbacks within the division.
- Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that center Pat Elflein (who spent the whole summer on the team’s physically unable to perform list) wasn’t expected to play in Week 1, but has been a limited participant in practice this week. Elflein has been removed from the PUP list as he has been recovering from ankle and shoulder injuries.
- Even though the Vikings were one win away from playing the Super Bowl on their home turf, that team has questions to solve along the offensive line. Pro Football Focus ranked Minnesota’s offensive line as the fifth worst entering the 2018 season. Yikes. Browsing their depth chart, you’ll see that ex-Bears reserve Tom Compton is listed as the team’s starting left guard. That’s … something.
- Terence Newman playing cornerback at a high level for as long as he did is nothing short of spectacular. Much respect to the long-time vet, who recently called it a career. Long known as a coach on the field, Newman now transitions into life as a coach on the sideline with the Vikings. Newman, who just turned 40 on September 4, came away with 42 career interceptions in 221 games – including five with Minnesota between 2015-17.