We're Black and Blue All Over:
Lost amid all of the news around the NFC North this season has been this development: The Green Bay Packers have reined in their penalty problems in a big way.
As Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com points out, the Packers have had eight penalties enforced against them during their four-game winning streak. Through Week 11, they have committed the NFL's sixth-fewest number of penalties and have the third-fewest total of penalty yards.
Those figures are a far cry from their 18-flag performance in a Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears, a game that coach Mike McCarthy considered a watershed event.
McCarthy: "The 18-penalty game clearly factored in the outcome of that game. Because it was a game when you look at it, [and ask]. 'How the hell did we lose that game?' That was the key in that loss, because of all the productivity and the other positive plays that went on in that game. We emphasize it every week, just like every team in this league does."
If you're interested, the Detroit Lions are now tied for the most penalties in the NFL with 98 penalties. The Minnesota Vikings are tied for the 10th-most with 68, and the Bears have the 13th-fewest at 60.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Packers' defense has allowed only 13 touchdowns this season, notes Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers probably won't have safeties Atari Bigby (hamstring) and Anthony Smith (ankle) for Sunday's game at the Atlanta Falcons, writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
New Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will promote linebackers coach Fred Pagac to defensive coordinator, reports the Star Tribune.
Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders if Frazier should let quarterback Brett Favre call his own plays.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf didn't do much Monday to express a vision for the future of the franchise, writes Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press.
The Vikings' offense only had 10 men on the field on their second-to-last play of Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) sat out practice Monday, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. Tinoisamoa didn't play last Thursday against the Miami Dolphins and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will provide a true test for the Bears' defense, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Bears' secondary will have its hands full with the Eagles' receivers, notes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz defended his decision to continue playing ailing tailback Jahvid Best (toes), writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions share the NFL lead for most penalties. The question is whether they are being undisciplined, too aggressive or just plain dumb. The answer might be a little bit of everything."
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com offers a rundown of the Lions' injury situation with a short week looming before Thursday's game against the New England Patriots.