Just when it appeared I was slightly ahead of the curve with my picks for the NFC North division, I was humbled in Week 6. After going 0-for-3 last week, my overall record dropped to a mediocre 10-10 on the season. The good news is the only way to go from this point is up. With that being said, here are my predictions as to how the NFC North teams will fare in Week 7.
Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams:
In Week 6, I predicted the Packers would lose to the undefeated Houston Texans. One of the reasons for that pick was I felt the Texans were more balanced on both sides of the football and the Packers were not playing like the team that was 15-1 in 2011. The Packers silenced the critics with one of their best performances of the season, defeating the Texans 42-24 behind six touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, the Rams are coming off a 17-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins, dropping them to 3-3 on the season. So who wins in this battle of 3-3 teams? The Rams have a chance if they play well defensively and find a way to keep Rodgers off the field. However, I see the Packers picking up where they left off against Houston and winning their second straight on the road.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals:
The Vikings, who have played surprisingly well this season, were humbled by the Washington Redskins in Week 6. Despite solid games from Christian Ponder (35 of 52, 352 yards, two touchdowns) and Percy Harvin (11 receptions for 133 yards), it was not enough to prevent a 38-26 loss to a Redskins' team that had dropped eight straight home games. The Cardinals are coming off two consecutive losses following a 4-0 start and will be without starting quarterback Kevin Kolb. Both teams have identical records at 4-2 and both teams have played well defensively at times this season. However, the Cardinals do not present the same problems for the Vikings at the quarterback position as the Redskins did a week ago. Based on that trend, I expect the Vikings to get back into the win column this week.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions:
Nothing is more intriguing than watching a pair of teams who do not like each other, face off on Monday Night Football. This especially holds true if the two teams involved are division rivals. The last time the Lions and Bears met at Soldier Field, the Bears intercepted Matthew Stafford four times en route to a 37-13 victory. The Bears have reeled off three straight wins and had a bye-week in Week 6, while the Lions came from behind to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-23 in overtime. At 2-3, the Lions need a win to stay within striking distance in the division, but the Bears also need a victory to put some distance between themselves and Lions in the standings. Chicago shined in their last Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys a few weeks ago and I expect them to do the same here. It will be a close one, but the Bears will extend their winning streak to four games.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bears for more than twenty seasons. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
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