Vikings a Whisker Away from 1st Place

Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson with a ski mask ready to take the field against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Are you a fan of a 0-2 football team in the NFC North?

No problem. No problem at all.

Vikings a Whisker Away from 1st Place

NFC North teams experienced a facinorous noon window Sunday, with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers losing in Week 2. And those losses were in addition to the Minnesota Vikings error-filled performance and defeat by the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.

In short, every NFC North team lost in Week 2, shrinking the Vikings margin at the bottom of the division.

Vikings a Whisker
Sep 17, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; A general view of the line of scrimmage during a game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Here are the NFC North standings through two weeks:

  • Green Bay Packers: 1-1
  • Detroit Lions: 1-1
  • Minnesota Vikings: 0-2
  • Chicago Bears: 0-2

Green Bay, without its two top offensive playmakers Aaron Jones and Christian Watson, lost at the Atlanta Falcons, 25-24. Bijan Robinson sliced and diced the Packers defense for 172 yards from scrimmage, while second-year passer Desmond Ridder performed quite well at home. Packers signal-caller Jordan Love looked proficient, too — 3 touchdowns and no interceptions — but faded on the team’s final drive, failing to lead the Packers into field goal position.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) makes a catch for a touchdown against Detroit Lions safety Brian Branch (32) during overtime at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Detroit encountered a rollercoaster game at Ford Field, losing to the Seattle Seahawks, 37-31. The NFC bout seesawed back and forth before a Jared Goff pick-six turned the momentum over to the Seahawks. Seattle went up by 10, lost the lead, and later prevailed in overtime. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett snagged 2 touchdowns and 59 total receiving yards.

And in Tampa Bay, the Bears clumsily lost to the Buccaneers, the team that beat the Vikings in Week 1. Chicago kept the game somewhat close throughout, ultimately losing 27-17 after Justin Fields, like Goff, tossed a pick-six to Shaq Barrett. Fields played horribly, firing up a 23.1 QBR in Tampa Bay. Some Bears fans even turned on the young passer via social media after a summer of touting his upside.

Sep 17, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cam Gill (49) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) and forces him to fumble the ball during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports.

The moral of the story? The Vikings could realistically own a share of first place by next Sunday night. They must, of course, stop losing and topple the Los Angeles Chargers next weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium — and hope for losses by the Lions and Packers.

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown with teammates against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s the NFC North docket for Week 3:

  • Chargers at Vikings
  • Falcons at Lions
  • Saints at Packers
  • Bears at Chiefs

Minnesota has +350 odds to win the division as of Sunday evening.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by