We're Black and Blue All Over:
You can blame injury-induced personnel changes or opponents abandoning the run game. But through seven weeks of the season, as Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, the Green Bay Packers have yet to patch the leak in their pass defense.
We've been discussing the issue since the start of the season, and the Packers remain at the bottom of the NFL rankings in terms of yardage allowed. They are giving up an average of 288.9 passing yards per game, the second-worst in the league. But their NFL-high 13 interceptions have helped them limit the points opponents have scored after accumulating that yardage. The most important statistic is points allowed, and the Packers' defense ranks No. 10 with an average of 20.1 points per game.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers suggested looming improvement on the yardage issue as the health of the Packers' secondary rises.
"The first half of the season here," Capers said, "we've gone through our share of mixing and matching from one week to the next. So hopefully we can get everybody healthy and working together and get off to a good start once we get back [from the bye] and go to San Diego."
That list includes nickelback Sam Shields, who has been cleared to return from a concussion. Cornerback Tramon Williams continues to work through a shoulder injury, and safety Morgan Burnett is playing with a club protecting his broken hand.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wonders if the Packers will re-sign running back Dimitri Nance following the loss of rookie Alex Green (knee).
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "With nine regular-season games remaining, starting with a road game against the San Diego Chargers Nov. 6 after the bye week, the Packers know that their perfect record doesn't mean that they’re playing perfect football. [Coach Mike] McCarthy said the team has graded out as playing 'above average' so far this season."
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com reviews the tape of the Minnesota Vikings' loss to the Packers.
Minneapolis political leaders are suggesting three potential sites for a new Vikings stadium, writes Kevin Duchschere of the Star Tribune. The Vikings prefer the site in suburban Arden Hills.
Vikings right guard Anthony Herrera could miss two weeks because of a torn PCL ligament in his knee, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
John Niyo of the Detroit News on Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: "Talk is cheap. But reputations are invaluable."
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com reviews some of the key plays from the Lions' loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press examines the pregame trash talking between the Lions and Falcons.
Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at what the Chicago Bears must do to make the playoffs.
The Bears put consistent pressure on Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.