When we think of the “Black and Blue Division,”we think of legendary teams and players. The “Purple People Eaters” went to 4 Super Bowls in the 1970s. The 1985 Chicago Bears, were one of the most dominant and colorful teams in the history of the NFL The Packers under Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have been a championship caliber team, almost ever year. For all of the “fan fare” with this division, They have only won 3 Super Bowls since 1970 (1985 Chicago Bears, 1996 and 2010 Green Bay Packers).
NFC North Preview and Prediction:
Green Bay Packers (2017 Record, 7-9): Prediction, 12-4.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy made some drastic changes this off-season. Joe Philbin returns as the offensive coordinator ( He held that position from2007-2011) and Mike Pettine will take over the reigns as the defensive coordinator. In 2017, The Packers started the season 4-1. Rodgers had 13 touchdowns and 3 interceptions before a cheap shot, ended his season. Davante Adams has been the most underrated wide receiver in all of football. In the past 30 games, he has 149 receptions, 22 touchdowns and over 1,800 yards. The Running back position is filled with youth, talent and depth. Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones should both get plenty of touches and catches out of the backfield. The addition of TE, Jimmy Graham should proved a great target in the Red Zone. With a healthy Rodgers, The Packers will have one of the most complete and dangerous offenses in the entire league.
Defensively, Pettine will bring a toughness to a defense that has been relatively soft over the past few years. Rookies Josh Jackson and Jaire Alexander will help at the linebacker and defensive back position. The addition of former New York Jets linemen Muhamaad Wilkerson will make everyone’s job easier. Wilkerson is 6’4, 351lbs and when healthy, he is an absolute nightmare for offensive coordinators.
The Packers have one of the deepest teams in the league and I expect them to compete for the Super Bowl. I also expect Rodgers to have an “MVP-Like” season.
Minnesota Vikings (2017 Record, 13-3): Prediction, 11-5.
The Minnesota Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game with a 3rd string quarterback (Case Keenum) and a 2nd string running back (Latavius Murray). Over the past 4 years, head coach Mike Zimmer has made it to the post-season 2 times without a legitimate starting quarterback. Kirk Cousins bring and aggressive mentality to the offense. In 2017, he threw for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. If he is healthy, Dalvin Cook, should be one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs combined for 155 catches, 2,125 yards and 12 TDs a year ago.
Up until the NFC Championship Game, The Vikings defense was “Lights Out” They led the league in fewest yards allowed (275.9) and fewest points per game (15.9). The secondary has two first-team All-Pro’s in free safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
The Vikings will be right there with the Packers for the division and they will be a tough out in the playoffs. Mike Zimmer is a very good coach.
Detroit Lions (2017 Record, 9-7): Prediction 8-8.
What does it say about your franchise, when the best player on your roster is the 3rd best quarterback in your own division? That is the case for the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford. New head coach, Matt Patricia replaces Jim Caldwell. Patricia was the New England Patriots defensive coordinator from 2012-2017. The offense should be pretty effective but they are not as talented or as deep as the Packers and Vikings.
Defensively, the Lions will rely on their linebackers.Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, Jonathan Freeny and 2017 first-round pick Jarrad Davis will look to lead their 3-4 defense.
The Lions just don’t have enough playmakers and if they win 8 or more games, Patricia did his job.
Chicago Bears (2017 Record 5-11)… Prediction 5-11.
40-year- old Matt Nagy will lead the Bears into Battle. The Rookie head coach spent 1 year as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. In his 1st season, Mitchell Trubinsky had 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The 6’3, 225lbs quarterback has the potential and tools to be a very good quarterback. But he is still too inexperienced. Jordan Howard’s 2,435 rushing yards are the most by a Bears running back in his first two years. He can provide some relief in the passing game. If Howard wants to be an every down back, he must improve on his 23 catches from last year.
I don’t know how many legitimate playmakers the Bears have on defense. But, last year’s defense was No. 10 in yards and No. 9 in points allowed.
This team is still rebuilding. Over the past 4 years their record has been
I expect the same from Chicago, they are a few years off.
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