NFC North Best In NFL Through Four Weeks

The NFC North boasts the best record in the NFL after the first quarter of the season has come to a close. While it's too early to even think about the playoffs, there's a strong possibility this division comes down to the final few weeks of the season.

The NFC North is looking like a division full of serious contenders this year. We’re a quarter of the way through the 2019 NFL season, and the standings are as follows:

  1. Green Bay Packers (3-1, 2-0 in the division)

  2. Chicago Bears (3-1, 1-1 in the division)

  3. Detroit Lions (2-1-1)

  4. Minnesota Vikings (2-2, 0-2 in the division)

The Packers sit atop the division after a tough loss to the Eagles last Thursday night. During the first four weeks of the season, Green Bay has gone up against some of the toughest defenses in the league. Being 3-1, including two division wins early in the season, is huge and might mean a lot later on this season. 

Next there are the Bears who have won three straight, including a division win against the Vikings, since their Week 1 loss at home to the Packers. 

The Lions almost beat the 4-0 Kansas City Chiefs to maintain their own undefeated record, but instead tallied their first loss of the season after winning twice and tying once. 

Last, there are the Vikings. Their two losses come from two division opponents, which is less than ideal for Minnesota so early in the season. 

While there are still 12 games to be played and no one has been crowned a cut above the rest just yet, these standings do illustrate how competitive the NFC North is this season. All four teams are still very much alive with talented rosters capable of winning close games. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the 2019 season will hit Green Bay in Weeks 15 through 17 when they play the Bears at home before traveling to Minneapolis Week 16 and ending the season on the road against the Lions. That’s a daunting stretch of three division games in three weeks, and those head-to-head games Week 17 could very well decide the division winner. 

Because the season is easily split into quarters, let’s see what the competition is like across the NFC North for Weeks 5-8, starting with Green Bay.

The Packers play the Cowboys (3-1), Raiders (2-2), Lions (2-1-1) and Chiefs (4-0) to round out the second quarter of the season. Combined, that’s a 11-4-1 record. Green Bay is also heading into their Week 5 matchup with a banged up team as Davante Adams, Jamaal Williams, Bryan Bulaga, and Kevin King are all noticeable names that have yet to practice this week. 

The Bears, residing in second place in the division, suffered a loss of their own this past Sunday when quarterback Mitchell Trubisky injured his left shoulder and was replaced by Chase Daniel. The Bears have a tough stretch of their own these next four games as they travel to Oakland to face the Raiders (2-2), play the Saints (3-1) and Chargers (2-2) at home, then travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles (2-2). That’s a combined 9-7 record. 

The third place Lions are officially on their bye week after a tough loss to the Chiefs, meaning their next opponent will be the Packers at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football in Week 6. That gives them plenty of time to rest and prepare for the NFC North leaders. After the 3-1 Packers, the Lions play the Vikings (2-2), Giants (2-2), and Raiders (2-2) in their next three games. That’s a lot of average football outside of Green Bay’s winning record. The Lions have hung on in really close games, so this could be their opportunity to climb the division standings.

Finally, the Vikings round out their next four weeks by playing the Giants (2-2), Eagles (2-2), Lions (2-1-1), and Redskins (0-4). Like the Lions, they’re facing a pretty generic NFC East, outside of the Eagles who play better than their record indicates. 

What does all of this mean? Well, it means that the NFC North race could likely come down to the wire. Through this next quarter of the season, the Packers face the steepest stretch, playing their two toughest opponents on the road. Coming out of this series with at least a 2-2 record would go a long way in keeping the division race close. 

Through four weeks, the NFC North has stood out as one of the toughest divisions in football during the 2019 season, with the best combined record in the NFL currently at 10-5-1 . Some of that may sort itself out these next four weeks, but it’s also entirely possible this division doesn’t get decided until the last few weeks of the season. While winning the division is always the main priority, it’s entirely possible that the NFC North snags at least one of the Wild Card spots in the playoffs this season, too. 

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (4)

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 01, 2019 at 05:10 pm

I believe that the Cowboys game will be the most important of the next four. The attrition due to injuries is part of the NFL these days and the "next man up" mantra needs to play out. Our "next" men must prove it. Coming out of training camp I thought we had serviceable depth in most areas (except QB) but OL had me most concerned. Now the DL looks mighty thin. Our second teamers need to step up in a big way this week. It will say a lot about our depth and our maturation if we can come away with a victory. If not, 2-2 will be a tall order.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 01, 2019 at 05:41 pm

Yes. Injuries will be this teams X-factor, and will tell the tale for the next four and beyond. Truth is we fans don't know how deep or thin the Packers bench is, with all the youth on this roster. The curse of rebuilding.

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johngalt's picture

October 01, 2019 at 09:06 pm

“Next man up” is the biggest joke. We like to think the Packers have this carousel of players chambered up, ready to hit the ground running. This mindset is not only completely false, it’s fails to recognize the talent it takes to play this game at a high level, let alone scout and draft the same talent. Not trying to attack you, just sick of that phrase. K, I’ll grab a Tylenol, and chill out now.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

October 01, 2019 at 08:16 pm

Did the Bears really "suffer a loss" with Turdbisket going out? Their offense looked better with Chase Daniels under center.

What does the NFC North have? The best defensive grouping in the NFL.

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