The NFC North could be the best division in the NFL. Over the past 3 seasons, they have had 3 different winners:
2016: Green Bay Packers, (10-6).
2017: Minnesota Vikings, (13-3).
2018: Chicago Bears, (12-4).
If all goes well in 2019, we could see these three teams make the playoffs.
NFC North Preview and Prediction:
Green Bay Packers, (11-5):
The Packers had the best off-season of any team in the NFL. Green Bay signed pass-rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. Adrian Amos started 56 games with the Chicago Bears and will be an interrogate part of their defense. They also signed offensive lineman ,Billy turner, and drafted two players who should make an impact right away in Rashan Gary(linebacker from Michigan) and Darnell Savage who will be a playmaker in the secondary.
Offensively, the Packers should be able to put up a ton of points. Aaron Rodgers is the all-time leader in the NFL in touchdown to interception ratio. One could argue that Davante Adams has been the best WR over the past 2 seasons. The Former Fresno State standout has 185 catches, over 2,100 receiving yards and 23 touchdown catches over the past 29 games. Adams does this, despite being in an offense that is predicated on spreading the ball around. I expected the Packers to have running back by committee, they will use the pass to set up the running game.
This team should have an elite offense and defense. Their biggest question mark is first year coach Matt LaFluer. He will make some mistakes but this could be the best Green Bay team Rodgers has had in a long time. Packers win this division.
The Bears were 12-4 last season under first year coach Matt Nagy but they lost defensive coordinator Vic Fangio when the Denver Broncos offered him their head coaching job. Quarterback Mitchell Trubinsky threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He is only 24-years-old and took a major step in the right direction last season. The problem with the Bears is they don’t have any number 1 options on offense. They have a lot of good, not great players. Their offense has speed and talent but I don’t see anyone catching more than 80 balls or rushing for over 1000 yards. Rookie running back David Montgomery our of Iowa State could become the featured back by the half way point of the season.
Defensively, former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach, Chuck Pagano takes over the reigns for Fangio. The Bears lost safety Adrian Amos and nickel corner Bryce Callahan in free agency. The Bears lead the NFL with 36 takeaways and 27 interceptions last season. Khalil Mack is still one of the most dominant defensive players in the game. This was the best defense in the NFL last year, but I expect them to take a slight step backwards without Fangio. They should make the post-season.
Minnesota Vikings, (10-6):
The Vikings could have the deepest and most talented skill position players in the NFL. Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph combined for 279 receptions and 22 touchdown catches. Dalvin Cook out of Florida State is entering his 3rd year. He has all the tools to be a thousand yard rusher. Kirk Cousins threw for 4,298 yards, 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Defensively the Vikings have 10 returning starters. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes and free safety Harrison Smith were first-team All-Pro two years ago. Minnesota had 50 sacks on the year in 2018 and they could improve on that number this year.
On both sides of the ball this team has playmakers. Cousins has all the pressure in the world on him. He is 4-25 against winning teams, and 0-7 in Monday night games. When the pressure rises, Cousins shrinks. He must do better under center because this team can win 7-8 games just on talent alone.
Detroit Lions, (5-11):
The Lions fan base may be the only group in the NFL where they know their team is going to be terrible. There is not one player on this roster who is the best player at their position in the NFL. The Lions won’t be able to score a ton of points and their defense will be slightly above average at best. Will it get better? I doubt it. Detroit’s GM, head coach, and the franchise quarterback are all under contract through 2022. The Lions will be lucky to win 5 games. Their best option is to draft Justin Herbert out of Oregon to lead this franchise for the next decade.
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