The NFC North is the most overrated division in the NFL

Once Brett Favre signed with the Vikings and the Bears acquired Jay Cutler this offseason, pundits couldn’t help but to gush over how good the NFC North Division would be.

But now that nine weeks are in the books, it’s clear that the NFC North is the most overrated division in football.

With Favre under center, the Vikings have been as good as advertised this season. But the Bears were crushed 41-21 at home by the Cardinals on Sunday and the Packers lost 38-28 to the freaking winless Buccaneers and rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, who was making his first career start.

Turnovers killed Green Bay today in Tampa. The Packers managed to rack up 404 yards of total offense, 170 yards on the ground (Ryan Grant was effective) and also held the Bucs to just 81 rushing yards of their own. But Aaron Rodgers was intercepted three times, including once with time ticking down in the fourth to seal Green Bay’s fate. (Tanard Jackson returned the interception 35 yards for a touchdown to put Tampa Bay up for good at 38-28.)

Somehow, the Packers allowed Freeman to throw three touchdown passes without much threat of a running game. Freeman was far from perfect as he threw an interception, struggled with his accuracy and fumbled a snap (which was recovered by Tampa). But he was solid in the second half, showed nice poise for being a rookie and bought extra time for himself while scrambling out of trouble. Head coach Raheem Morris said his rookie signal caller was ready to play coming into the game and it showed.

The Packers still haven’t beaten a team with a winning record this season. I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong when I said in the preseason that they were Super Bowl contenders. They haven’t been able to overcome the injuries on the offensive line and the defense has been inconsistent. Rodgers wasn’t great today, but for the most part he has kept his team in games on his own by buying himself extra time to find open receivers.

Green Bay’s schedule is tougher in the second half than it was in the first. This is an 8-8 team at best and so are the Bears (if that). That’s not exactly what most pundits had in mind when they were talking up the NFC North in preseason.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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