Mark Craig's Northern Intelligence
- Article by: MARK CRAIG
- Star Tribune
- October 19, 2013 - 6:01 PM
Ndamukong Suh has been a nasty, highly fined force at defensive tackle since the Lions drafted him second overall in 2010. But he might not be the best D-tackle taken that year. Geno Atkins, taken 120th overall in the fourth round by the Bengals, leads NFL defensive tackles with 27 sacks since 2010, including four in six games this year. Suh is second at 24½. The two will be on the same NFL field for the first time Sunday. Atkins told Lions reporters he’s cool with where he was taken. “Suh was a beast,” Atkins said. “He was the best defensive player … I can understand why he went first.”
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The run-oriented Vikings are losing ground to the air-oriented Packers in an unexpected area: rushing. The Packers rank fifth (140.8 yards per game), while the Vikes are 13th (116.4). The Packers have rushed for at least 135 yards in each of the past four games. Last time they did it: Weeks 9-12 in 2003.
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The Bears have issues and injuries on defense. Injuries to nickel corner Kelvin Hayden, defensive tackles Nate Collins and Henry Melton and now middle linebacker D.J. Williams are a big factor in Chicago ranking 20th defensively and allowing at least 21 points per game. The Bears also have only eight sacks, which has contributed to a No. 23 ranking against the pass. But what the Bears do have, as usual, is takeaways. They’re tied for second in the league with 17, one behind Kansas City. They also lead the league in points off turnovers (62).
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