NFC North stock up, stock down: Jordan Love shines in first ‘official’ start

Yardbarker

With Week 1 of the NFL’s regular season in the books, here’s a look at whose stock is up and down in the NFC North: 

Stock Up

Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers quarterback:  In his first “official” start as the undisputed No. 1 in Green Bay, Love shined against the rival Chicago Bears, finishing 15-of-27 for 245 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Love looked comfortable and in control, running the offense smoothly while connecting with six different receivers, all of whom had at least two catches. On top of that, only New Orleans Saints QB Derek Carr (9.2) and Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (10.4) averaged more yards per attempt than Love (9.1) in Week 1. Love will face a stiff test in Week 2 against an Atlanta Falcons defense that earned the fifth-highest Pro Football Focus grade (76.7) this past Sunday. 

David Montgomery, Detroit Lions running back: After the Lions selected Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, many believed that meant a timeshare with the newly signed Montgomery in the backfield. However, that wasn’t the case in the Lions’ stunning season-opening victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. While Gibbs had nine total touches (seven carries), Montgomery was the clear workhorse for the Lions, finishing with 21 rushing attempts for 71 yards and a touchdown. If Week 1 is any indication, Montgomery is in line to shoulder the brunt of the rushing workload. 

Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver: Making his NFL debut, Addison cemented his role as the No. 2 wideout behind Justin Jefferson, snatching four receptions for 61 yards (15.3 per catch), including a 39-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, Addison showcased his speed, averaging 2.9 yards of separation per route, equaling the likes of Tyreek Hill, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Brandon Aiyuk, per NFL Next Gen Stats. Furthermore, Addison produced having played in only 56 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Still his role “will expand,” according to offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, which should excite Vikings fans.

Stock Down 

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears quarterback: Fields was lackluster at best against the Packers in Week 1, finishing with a 78.2 passer rating while recording more turnovers (2) than touchdowns (1). Playing tentative from the start, Fields never found a rhythm and looked much like the QB Bears fans saw last year. Fields owned his struggles against the Packers this week, telling reporters that he played “too conservative” before adding that he plans to give receivers like D.J. Moore and Chase Claypool more opportunities. He’ll have his work cut out for him in Week 2, taking on a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team on the road that harassed Vikings QB Kirk Cousins last week. 

Vikings offensive line: Minnesota failed to address its offensive line during the offseason and it showed in their Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers. Cousins didn’t have his best game, but a lot was due to poor O-line play. The Bucs hit Cousins nine times, sacking him twice. Only eight quarterbacks had less time to throw on average than Cousins (2.66 seconds), per PFF. The Vikings’ line struggled, particularly on the interior, which could be an issue in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles, especially with center Garrett Bradbury (back) out and LT Christian Darrisaw (ankle) questionable. Last week, Eagles defensive linemen Jalen Carter (0.68 seconds), Fletcher Cox (0.72 seconds) and Milton Williams (0.72 seconds) recorded the three quickest interior pass rush get-off times in the NFL.

Packers discipline: Season-opening sloppiness aside, the Packers were one of the more undisciplined teams in the NFL during Week 1. Green Bay committed nine penalties against the Bears, the fifth-most in the NFL last week. Also, only the Las Vegas Raiders (97), Baltimore Ravens (106) and Arizona Cardinals (122) finished with more penalty yards than the Packers (90). Green Bay knocked off the Bears by 18 on Sunday in a game that probably should’ve been more lopsided. It’s still early, but if the Packers continue to shoot themselves in the foot with dumb penalties, a more talented team than the Bears, led by a more experienced quarterback than Fields, will make them pay.

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