Here is the NFC North installment of an eight-part series sharing five predictions for each division in the NFL.
Curtain call at Lambeau
With the Green Bay Packers drafting quarterback Jordan Love despite a need to add wide receiver depth, they could be preparing for a future without Rodgers at the helm. Depending on how the season plays out, Love may get his audition at some point this season.
Super Bowl mentality in the Windy City
While the Chicago Bears defense has been among the league’s best in the past few seasons, the offense has struggled to score points with Mitchell Trubisky under center. The team acquired former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles via a trade with the Jaguars. Couple that with the team declining Trubisky’s fifth-year option and this team will be Foles’s at some point real soon. One of the NFL’s oldest franchises will become a respectable club once again.
Minnesota is the team to beat
The Vikings are the favorites to win this division and for good reason. They have one of the league’s most explosive passing games and a top running back in Dalvin Cook. Their defense plays well enough to keep them in games. With that recipe, even after losing Stefon Diggs, Kirk Cousins and co. remain in the driver’s seat in this division.
Detroit will surprise
Even after Matthew Stafford went down with an injury last season, the team showed it wasn’t your dad’s Lions team. They remained undefeated three weeks into the season, albeit they were 2-0-1. No, their season didn’t provide much in the win column, but they remained in games even against the league’s top teams. In fact, they were one play away from beating the Chiefs in a shootout. Detroit addressed secondary needs in the draft. This team, while playing in one of the tighter divisions in football, will be a different looking team this season. That should translate into wins.
Minnesota wins the division and Bears sneak into Wild Card spot
There’s no reason to believe the Vikings will not win this division, but the Bears will make the playoffs. Whether it be because Trubisky will be a different quarterback with Foles breathing down his back or if Foles himself will command the offense, this team will play a game in January.