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NFC North: Bears Defense Beats Lions, Woodson Out, Vikings Host Buccaneers

After a long break from its bye week, the Chicago Bears (5-1) came out well rested and defeated their conference foe, the Detroit Lions (2-4) 13-7 on Monday and keep their NFC North lead.

The Green Bay Packers (4-3) had another big win on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams (3-4), 30-20, and remain in the conference race but will do so with a six-week absence of star cornerback Charles Woodson.

And after entering the season with low expectations, the Minnesota Vikings continue to win and are right behind the Bears to take the division title.

Bears defeat Lions 13-7

Bears CB Charles Tillman

In an anticipated defensive slugfest, the Bears didn’t disappoint on Monday evening. One of the keys to their win was the play by veteran cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman. His job for the night was not an easy one: He had to defend wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Mission accomplished as the player was held to three catches for 34 yards.

Expectations were high for physical play from the Lions and their defensive end Ndamukong Suh performed his job well by sacking Bears quarterback Jay Cutler hard in the second quarter.

A collective silence could be heard as Solider Field as Cutler laid on the ground but he shook it off, exited the field for a play and returned. It was later disclosed that the player has bruised ribs.

For the game, Cutler was 16 for 31, 150 yards and one touchdown. His offensive weapons had a good game: Running back Matt Forte was 22 for 96 yards and wide receiver Brandon Marshall was 6 for 81 with one touchdown.

As for Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, the Bears defense shut him down and he was 28 for 46, 261 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception and three sacks.

The Bears defense continues to win games for this team but will they go all the way? They have 12 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl.

Green Bay Loses Woodson

Just as the Bear rely on cornerback Tillman, the Green Bay Packers depend on their veteran cornerback, Charles Woodson, but they’ll won’t be able to do so for the next six weeks.

On Sunday, Woodson broke his left collarbone in the Rams game. He will now join the Packers already depleted defensive corp. on the bench. This includes injured defensive tackle B.J. Raji (ankle), fellow cornerback Sam Shields (shin), OLB Nick Perry (knee), and ILB D.J. Smith (knee).

Packers CB Charles Woodson

Packer coach Mike McCarthy had been asked who would step up in Woodson’s place as well as for his other injured players. He responded to CBS Sports, “It’s a bigger challenge. We’re talking about Charles Woodson. This has been a hard couple weeks for us.

“But the reality is we fully expect and will plan for the next individuals to step up and continue to play better defense. That’s our goal every week, regardless of how we line up.”

Woodson has not been placed on the injured reserve list in the hopes he’ll return sooner than six weeks.

The bettors see Green Bay as division competitor with 3 to 2 odds to win it.

Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nipping on the Chicago Bears heels is the Minnesota Vikings with their 5-2 record. Last week they defeated the quarterback-challenged Arizona Cardinals (4-3) 21-14.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has improved a lot this season, but it’s still all about running back Adrian Peterson in most of the team’s games. Against Arizona, Peterson had 23 carries for 153 yards and one touchdown.

To-date, he has 652 yards and three touchdowns even with a sprained ankle.

This week, the Vikings will host the Buccaneers (2-4) on Thursday evening. Last week against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay gave up 377 yards and four touchdowns to quarterback Drew Brees while its offensive grabbed 513 total yards. They will face a tough Vikings defense who will try to shut down wide receiver Vincent Jackson and rookie running back Doug Martin.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s defense will have their hands full with Ponder, Peterson and wide receiver Percy Harvin.

The Vikings are too talented to go down against the Buccaneers and the bettors agree giving the home team -7 with a 41.5 over/under.


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