By Scott McCabe
Detroit Lions (0-2) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Final score: 17:35
Week 2 of the NFL regular season meant that it was finally time for an NFC North showdown. The Detroit Lions were looking to bounce back from their week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, whilst the Green Bay Packers were looking to put their poor performance against the New Orleans Saints behind them.
Detroit Lions: The Lions were clinical to begin the game. A touchdown reception for wide receiver Quintez Cephus on the Lions’ opening drive meant that the Packers’ offense had an uphill battle before they’d even stepped foot on the field.
Quarterback Jared Goff continued his decent rapport with the Lions’ offense by throwing a dime to his reliable tight end T.J Hockenson in the second quarter.
An excellent drive just before the half set up Lions’ kicker Austin Seibert to test his leg from 43 yards out, which is certainly not an easy chip shot. Seibert made the kick, and the Lions went into the half with a three-point lead. Yup, the Lions were leading at the half, and it would’ve been an excellent time for Lions fans to turn the TV off because it all went downhill from there.
The Lions would not score a single point in the second half. Now, we all know the NFL is a competitive league with great defenses- well, for the most part. However, to not put up a single point after the half is just damn-right embarrassing.
The Lions did manage to penetrate the Packers offensive line on a few occasions, but the loss of Jeffrey Okudah at cornerback really showed as the Lions seemed to lose their composure, especially on the defensive side of things. The passing game and the running game of the Packers became too much to handle for a powerless Lions defense.
The one defining moment of this game came in the third quarter. Lions head coach Dan Campbell is all about being aggressive and went for it on a 4th-and-1. Unfortunately for the Lions, they were unable to convert on fourth down and you could just sense that the Packers were going to punish the Lions, and boy did they do just that.
Three touchdowns in the second half for Green Bay left the Lions with no answers. A Lions offense which looked sharp and clinical in the first half now looked lethargic and sloppy.
The good: the Lions defense did manage to sack Aaron Rodgers four times, the Lions o-line wasn’t horrendous, and it looks like Quintez Cephus is up to the challenge of taking on the WR1 role in Detriot as he had an impressive game averaging 15.8 yards a carry from four receptions whilst also getting into the end zone for a score.
The bad: The Lions lost their cool in the second half and fell apart. This team needs to be more consistent in all elements of the game.
The Lions will face a confident Baltimore Ravens team next week who are coming off a huge victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Lions will have to put on a great team performance if they want to have any fighting chance in week 3.
From a Green Bay Packers perspective, this is the game you look back at as the defining moment of your season. Now, we know what you’re thinking, big whoops, they defeated the Lions. Yeah, the Lions aren’t exactly Super Bowl contenders, however, this Packers team showed a bit of fight and character, which is something we didn’t see in week 1.
The Packers needed this game to get back into their groove and to pile up their confidence. The Packers started the game poorly, but whatever Matt LaFleur said during his half-time speech, it worked.
Everything was in sync from the second half onwards and the Packers looked like a well-oiled machine as they cruised to victory. Rodgers did a nice job controlling the game and spreading the ball around, but this game belongs to one man: Aaron Jones.
Packers’ running back Aaron Jones was barely on the field during Green Bays’ week 1 loss, but he was all over the field against the Lions.
Although elite wide receiver Davante Adams didn’t score a touchdown, he had a solid game with over 100 receiving yards.
As for Aaron Rodgers, a passer rating of 145.6, four touchdowns and no interceptions tell you all you need to know about his performance.
The good: Aaron Rodgers looks to be back to his old self- slinging touchdown passes left, right and centre. This Packers’ offense looks like a powerhouse once again.
The bad: This Packers team was sloppy to begin the game and didn’t quite come out looking sharp. The Packers will need to be sharper to begin games as elite franchises will destroy the Packers if they continue being sluggish in the first half.
The Packers will look to carry the momentum from their Lions victory into next week’s matchup with the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
Minnesota Vikings (0-2) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Final score: 33:34
Vikings fans, we feel for you. You guys have really endured a heart-wrenching start to the season. In fairness, the Vikings’ first two games of the season have been full of rip-roaring action. It’s just a shame that they’ve come up short in both instances.
The Vikings started the game with an eye-popping play, Kirk Cousins aired the ball downfield to third string wide receiver K.J Osborn for a 64-yard touchdown. The Cardinals answered with a DeAndre Hopkins touchdown. And just like that, we had a game on our hands.
Kirk Cousins had a solid game as he shredded through the Cardinals’ secondary with his 244 passing yards and threw for three touchdowns. Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook was eating up the yardage on the ground as he tallied an impressive 133 yards from 13 carries, but that still wasn’t enough to keep this fierce Cardinals offense out of the endzone.
Nick Vigil gave the Vikings’ defense a jolt of confidence after he picked off Kyler Murray and took the ball to the house for a 38-yard touchdown. However, the Cardinals bounced back with an A.J Green touchdown.
The game was quiet in the fourth quarter as both teams were each limited to field goals.
The Cardinals had the lead with four minutes remaining but a textbook drive by the Vikings in the dying embers of the match set up Greg Joseph to kick the game-winning field goal.
With just four seconds on the clock, Joseph stepped up and hammered the ball wide right of the field goal markers. Sending the Vikings to 0-2. Elation for Cardinals fans but disgust for the Vikings as it's another game that has come to a devastating close.
The good: The Vikings managed to spread the ball nicely around the offense and managed to find a nice balance between the passing game and the run game. K.J Osborn looks like a solid third receiver and Kirk Cousin looked tidy with his passing. Danielle Hunter looks like the Vikings’ defensive leader as he managed to sack Murray three times.
The bad: The Vikings secondary struggled to stop the Cardinals from driving up the field and didn’t make enough plays to ease the pressure on the offense.
In week 3, the Vikings will host the Seattle Seahawks in a game which promises to be another shoot-out as both defenses are giving up huge scores in the first two weeks of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) @ Chicago Bears (1-1)
Final score: 17:20
It wasn’t pretty but the Chicago Bears managed to secure their first win of the season with Justin Fields at quarterback. Yes, Justin Fields not Andy Dalton.
Dalton played a minor role in this Bears’ victory. An 11-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson II was his biggest contribution to the game. Dalton’s knee injury gave rookie quarterback Justin Fields the opportunity to showcase his leadership and guide the Bears to victory.
Fields looked composed on the field, and although he threw an interception, the rookie was still impressive to watch.
There’s a lot of talk about Fields after this game, the biggest news being that he’ll start against the Cleveland Browns in week 3 as Dalton continues to nurse his knee injury, but this game was a masterclass by the Bears’ defense.
The Bears defense picked off Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow three times, with Roquan Smith leaping into the end zone for a defensive touchdown on one of those picks. The Bears also sacked Burrow five times, yes, FIVE times. This Bears defense looked phenomenal against the Bengals.
With such a stellar performance from the defense, Fields just had to be conservative with the ball and get the ball into field goal range for Bears’ kicker Cairo Santos.
Although the game looks tight from a quick glance at the score line, this Bears’ defense was not going to let the Bengals hand them another loss on the year.
The good: Fields looked like the real deal. The Bears defense seems to have found its groove and the Bears played a solid game of football without any major errors.
The bad: Andy Dalton is suffering from a knee injury. Many Bears fans will be questioning how this is a bad thing as they’ve been roaring for Fields to get onto the field. However, Dalton is an experienced veteran who has gained the respect of the team and knows how to win games. The fear is that Fields may be thrusted into starting QB position too soon.
Justin Fields and the Bears will be facing a tough Cleveland Browns team in week 3. This Bears o-line will need to keep Fields Upright if they want to prevent this game from being a blow-out.