Black and Blue all over: Week 7 redux

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

FROM THE FRIENDLY SKIES -- I’m making my way back to NFC North headquarters after an interesting Week 7 that has seen the NFC North standings tighten a bit. Green Bay is now a game ahead of Chicago and only 1.5 games behind Minnesota as we prepare for the huge divisional battle Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Hopefully you saw what Vikings quarterback Brett Favre said late Sunday about his return to Lambeau Field. (Reader’s Digest version: It ain’t no thang.) We’ll do our best to stir up passions a bit more than that, but for now let’s catch up on local coverage of a Week 7 that included two losses to AFC North teams and a bye for Detroit:

  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune on the Bears’ 45-10 loss at Cincinnati: “Pathetic. How can a purported good team be this unprepared, this listless, this god-awful? A proud team coming into an important game doesn't play this poorly. An engaged team looking to gain ground in the NFC North puts up a fight. This team? This team was a joke Sunday.”

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPN Chicago: “[T]he Bears' apocalyptic 45-10 defeat to the Bengals is the kind of game that defines seasons, breaks teams, gets players demoted and coaches fired. It's the kind of game that makes fans want at least two of the above.”

  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times updates the increasingly bizarre situation surrounding Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who did not play Sunday but said his chronically sore knee was not the reason. Harris, however, would not reveal why he didn’t play. Hmmm.

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the Packers’ 31-3 victory over Cleveland: “It’s understood the Packers are supposed to roll over bad teams. However, what matters most is that after suffering through some early-season problems, the Packers are starting to believe in themselves.”

  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers called Sunday’s game the team’s “best performance technically” of the season, according to Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Rookie T.J. Lang did a decent job Sunday in his first start at left tackle, writes Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee.

  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Minnesota’s 27-17 loss at Pittsburgh: “If Sunday's game were an SAT test to determine college eligibility, the Vikings would have to redshirt next week. Or attend a junior college. Or forget about football and go to work selling raffle tickets. Clearly, their brains took a bye week against the Steelers.” Ouch.

  • The Vikings assumed they would figure out a way to pull out Sunday’s game, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.