In the NFC North, two teams were thought of as sure-fire winners entering last week, and two were thought to be dead in the water. While the Vikings and Lions lived up to their end of the bargain in their game against each other, the Packers disappointed against the Bengals while the Bears showed more fight than many pundits thought they would in their post-Urlacher 2009 home debut.
So now we have to ask, where do we go from here?
The Vikings are off to a predictable 2-0 start, and have been every bit the dominant team they appeared to be capable of being on paper. The Bears and Packers are both 1-1, which is disappointing for the Packers and somewhat comforting for the Bears. The Lions are 0-2... go figure!
There are, however, a lot of fantasy studs in this division still. Some studs have shown up as advertised (Adrian Peterson), but Chicago's Matt Forte and Detroit's Calvin Johnson have left something to be desired through a couple games. Will this week be their coming out parties?
Let's look at the matchups for Week Three.
Washington @ Detroit - Sunday, 1:00 PM EST
Where's Harry Caray when you need someone to exclaim "It might be... it could be..."? Is this the week the Lions get back on the horse and put a number on the W side of the ledger? Based on this week's media clips, it sounds like Hall of Fame Redskins' quarterback Sonny Jurgenson would believe so.
Former players aren't the only people showing a lot of doubt in the nation's capital these days, but the Lions could be equally satisfying tonic to the Redskins' woes as Washington could be for the Lions. Remember, they haven't won in 19 games.
Either way, this could be a fantastic week for fantasy owners.
Prediction: Detroit 31 - Washington 20
Green Light: Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, Clinton Portis
Yellow Light: Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettitgrew, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, WAS DEF
Red Light: Jason Campbell
Sleeper: Antwaan Randle-El
San Francisco @ Minnesota - Sunday, 1:00 PM EST
Who would have thought a month ago that this would be a battle of undefeated teams? While the Vikings figured to be 2-0 to start the year, Mike Singletary's 49ers are playing inspired football in a division begging someone to win it this year. Could this be the Niners' year?
While the Detroit-Washington game could have some fantasy studs, this game presents issues for fantasy owners. Last week, Frank Gore blew up against Seattle for over 200 yards, but Minnesota has what has been advertised as an elite run defense. The stats after two games, though, would indicate otherwise; Minnesota ranks 15th in the NFL so far, allowing 104 yards per game on the ground.
Meanwhile, Peterson was described by Brett Favre this week as being a more complete football player than Walter Payton. How better could Favre motivate a Niners' defense that ranks third in the NFL so far in run defense (53 tards per game)?
This game could be a defensive battle that's a lot of fun to watch for fans, but not so much for fantasy owners.
Prediction: Minnesota 16 - San Francisco 13
Green Light: MIN DEF, Peterson
Yellow Light:SF DEF, Gore, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe
Red Light: Shaun Hill
OK, I know saying Favre is a sleeper is like saying midnight's the best time to get a sun tan, but he might be called upon to earn his salary this week because of San Francisco's solid run defense. Odds are just as good that Favre has a passing touchdown this week, if not better, than Peterson getting into the end zone.
Green Bay @ St. Louis - Sunday, 1:00 PM EST
If you own anyone on the Packers' offense, you LOVE this week's opponent. The Rams are one of the worst teams in football. There's little reason to believe the Packers shouldn't be able to run and throw as the please on Sunday; the Rams are allowing 146 yards per game on the ground (25th in the NFL) and 258 yards per game passing (also 25th in the NFL).
What's worse for the Rams is that they've given up these astronomical numbers against Seattle and Washington, both of whom aren't anywhere close to as offensively explosive as the Packers.
The only bright spot for the Rams this week might be Stephen Jackson. If Cedric Benson can put 141 yards on the Packers defense, Jackson could be set for a really nice fantasy week. He stands to get plenty of carries if the Rams have a clue and try to keep the Packers offense on the sidelines.
Prediction: Green Bay 50 - St. Louis 17
Green Light: Stephen Jackson, GB DEF, Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Ryan Grant
Yellow Light: Donald Driver, Donald Lee
Red Light: Everything St. Louis except Jackson
Sleeper: Kenneth Darby
Chicago @ Seattle - Sunday, 4:15 PM EST
On paper, this is the week Forte owners have been waiting for all year. The Seahawks defense is more banged up than the Bears, and their quarterback is debating whether or not he should play with a fractured rib.
This week should be a big win for Chicago, and fantasy owners of Bears players. If you've jumped on the Johnny Knox Bandwagon, good luck, though. This should be the week the Bears re-establish their ground game.
Prediction: Chicago 34 - Seattle 9
SOLID GOLD LOCK: CHI DEF
Green Light: Forte, Jay Cutler, Greg Olsen,
Yellow Light: Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, TJ Houshmandzadeh
Red Light: SEA DEF, SEA OFF
Sleeper: Deion Branch