The Detroit Lions showed true devotion to the perfectly awful cause today while the rest of the NFL North showed why they should consider CFL applications. Or maybe KFC applications.
• Two interceptions from Dan Orlovsky and a failure to recover more than one of the three fumbles Green Bay coughed up kept the Lions from scoring repeatedly. Combined with an inability to run more than 3ish yards per carry and 5ish yards per catch (and only connecting half the time), the Packers had plenty of time to get Aaron Rodgers his 4,000 yards, Donald Driver his 1,000 yards, and two runners a hundred yards apiece. The final result: 31-21 Green Bay in a game neither team should have been allowed to win.
• In other NFC North business, the Vikings beat the Giants 20-19, which sounds lovely except the second unit was out for the Giants early and often. This might have crushed the Bears' hopes, but they were busy squatting on said hopes with a 31-24 thrashing by the Texans in which anyone with a three in the tens digit on their Texans uniform could do any damned thing they wanted. Boy, those Bears really did miss the mythical Mike Brown. Or a front four.
• Carolina gave up 21 points in the final quarter but managed to fire off a successful field goal with about zilch on the clock to beat the Saints 33-31 and securing the NFC South, also a bastion of greatness. That left a winning Atlanta squad (31-27 over the Rams) with a wild card berth. Go crazy, kids.
• Losses by Tampa (to Oakland, 31-24) and Chicago (sigh) leave the Philadelphia-Dallas late afternoon game as a win'n'in proposition. Baltimore and Miami battle others for their playoff lives. Washington and San Francisco prove they'll uphold a contract. And so on.
In early games that matter only to the addicted gambler, the unfortunate fantasy leagues that go 17 weeks, and about a third of the national sports media: Atlanta 31, St. Louis 27; Cincinnati 16, Kansas City 6; Indianapolis 23, Tennessee 0; Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 0 (and one temporally displaced quarterback).