Team identities: NFC North


Four weeks of the season is enough time to get a read on what each team is known for. Around The NFL will look at the identity for all 32 teams after the first month of the season.

Lions boast NFL's top defense

You read that correctly. An annually disappointing defensive unit leads the NFL in total yards per game allowed, is second in passing yards and sixth in rush defense. Teryl Austin has improved the back end coverage while relying on a stout front four to stunt the run. DeAndre Levy has been an absolute beast for the second straight year. Corner Darius Slay has shown the most improvement under Austin.

Teddy buoys Vikings season

No team has gone through more tide swings this season and kept its head above water, from Adrian Peterson's deactivation to seeing its starting quarterback go down the following week. In his brief time Teddy Bridgewater already displays poise and playmaking. Under Norv Turner, Bridgewater should make the offense more dynamic. With a steady Mike Zimmer defense, Bridgewater will keep the Vikings competitive throughout the season. This team has a persistent feistiness.

Packers run defense full of holes

So much for a new-and-improved Packers' defense. The impervious Dom Capers and his squad rank dead last in run defense, allowing an abominable 176 yards per game on the ground. Blaming the offseason jettisoning of hole cloggers or the loss of B.J. Raji to injury is a pointless endeavor. The Julius Peppers addition has helped in the pass rush, but this will be a team that once again will struggle to get late-game stops.

Jay Cutler continues Jekyll & Hyde ways

The Bears' defense has proven it will be a sieve throughout the season. That means Marc Trestman's team will blow on the winds of Jay Cutler. In Chicago's two wins the quarterback has played well, but in the two losses he's made critical mistakes that have deeply wounded the offense. The hope for the Bears is that Trestman can concoct a serum to keep the good Cutler around more consistently.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews "Thursday Night Football" and discusses the biggest surprises in the season's first quarter. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.