Three tied at top of NFC North



We have reached the halfway point of the 2013 NFL season, and it’s all tied at 5-3 at the top between Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay. Monday night, the oldest rivalry in the NFL between the Bears and Packers was at center stage, and Chicago beat the Packers 27-20 at Lambeau Field for the first time since 2007. The Packers were in the driver’s seat before kickoff, having beaten the Bears six straight times.

With Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers were 8-2 vs. the Bears; however, they were 0-2 on Monday night. The Bears were without injured star QB Jay Cutler, and backup Josh McCown delivered an outstanding performance, throwing two touchdown passes in the victory.

Rodgers, the Packers’ former NFL MVP, left the game early in the first quarter after suffering what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. The entire state of Wisconsin is holding their collective breath in hope that the injury is not serious. Early reports point to the possibility of a four-to-six-week collarbone injury.

The Packers are the defending champions of the NFC North, but cheese production is on hold because Packer quarterbacks seldom if ever miss games due to injury. Over the last 25 years, it’s been Brett Favre or Rodgers at quarterback, the most important position.

It’s believed that Rodgers suffered a small break in the left collarbone. MRI results will likely confirm these reports. While everyone in the NFC North is setting their sights on the playoffs, the Vikings are stuck on losing at 1-7. It’s the worst start for a Vikings team since 1961, the team’s first year in the NFL.

Sunday’s 27-23 lost to the Dallas Cowboys was virtually a carbon copy of the way the team has gifted away games all season to Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland, leading in the fourth quarter and helpless to stop the Cowboys. Adrian Peterson was spectacular in defeat, running for 140 yards and a touchdown.

Christian Ponder started at QB and again did some good things; however, he committed a costly fumble in his own end zone when sacked. Dallas scored a touchdown recovering the fumble. The Vikings dependable Pro Bowl kicker Blair Walsh missed an extra point also. Pro Bowl MVP tight end Kyle Rudolph scored his third touchdown of the season and was injured. He has a broken bone in his foot and will out a month.

Vikings quarterbacks have thrown only six touchdown passes in eight games. Nick Foles, quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, joined Denver’s Peyton Manning by throwing seven TD passes in a single game Sunday. It’s happened only three times in NFL history since 1969.

The NFL Network, celebrating their 10th Anniversary season, will be in town to broadcast the Vikings vs. Washington Thursday night game at Mall of America Field. The Vikings will at halftime present Hall of Fame star Cris Carter of ESPN with his 2013 NFL Hall of Fame ring.


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit