We're Black and Blue All Over:
MINNEAPOLIS -- We're only midway through Week 7 here in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings got us off to a good start Sunday with a pair of victories, and we'll spend part of Monday reviewing their performances before shifting gears to the big "Monday Night Football" game at Soldier Field between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.
I'll need a few hours away from the blog to transport myself to Chicago, but hopefully I can work ahead enough to keep the blog (appearing) fresh throughout the day. If you're bored, feel free to start following me on Instagram (kevinseifert_espn), where I'm spreading my below-average wit to another realm of social media.
Or, you can catch up with our morning tour around the division:
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "There were so many Green Bay Packers fans roaming around St. Louis over the weekend that coach Mike McCarthy thought for a minute he was back home."
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the contributions of receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to the Packers' two-game winning streak: "But when the final chapter on the season is written, a special section should be reserved for the contribution Nelson and Cobb made during a critical moment in the Packers' schedule. In a matter of two games -- both on the road, both inside domes and both vital to the Packers surviving a 2-3 start -- the two ripped apart the opposition with plays short and long, keying victories over Houston and St. Louis."
McCarthy on the Packers' running game Sunday, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Our run game efficiency was not where it needed to be. But it was important to maintain some balance, especially when you're on the road."
The Minnesota Vikings are "living right," according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Fortunately for the Vikings, the Arizona Cardinals have an amazing tendency to turn into a puddle of goop whenever they set foot in Minnesota. Equally as fortunate for the Vikings is the fact that they have enough talented pass rushers to facilitate that remarkable transformation."
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: "The Vikings should feel good about their 5-2 record. However, [Christian] Ponder's performance -- particularly his decision-making on two first-half interceptions -- left a nagging feeling that counterbalanced [Adrian] Peterson's hard-charging effort against a stout Cardinals defense."
The Bears' offense needs to play better early in games, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears' Cover 2 defense might be the best antidote to Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times explains.
The background of Bears guard Chilo Rachal has made him tough, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
The key to Monday night's game could be the Bears' superior running game, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Lions safety Amari Spievey opens up to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press about the personal tragedy that has left him receiving therapy and led to his absence from the starting lineup earlier this season.
Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com: "Detroit Lions receiver Titus Young was supposed to be the missing link that helped his team's passing game this season. So far, Young has just been missing."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News on Lions cornerback Chris Houston: "[H]is leverage for his next contract negotiation is growing with each passing week. Houston, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, has become the shutdown corner the Lions have long coveted."