NFL fans rejoice, the 2021 season is just on the horizon. It’s the last month without football until March. Regardless of what team they root for, they widely remain optimistic that this is their year. Even the most pessimistic fans are hopeful enough, besides their team has yet to lose a game this season.
While there are a few questions left to be answered around the league, it’s never too early for five bold predictions for each of the NFL’s eight divisions. Here are those predictions for the NFC North.
NFC’s Leading Rusher plays in this Division
Many would lock Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to lead the NFC if not the NFL in rushing yards. The uncertainty surrounding the Green Bay Packers due in large part to the Aaron Rodgers saga combined with the year running back Aaron Jones compiled last season, a season in which his quarterback won the MVP Award. If Rodgers isn’t on the field he will see an increase in touches. The other top backs in the conference are coming back from injuries which also bodes well for Jones, who took a hometown discount to return. He will rush for over 1,600 yards with Rodgers at the helm, but that number could skyrocket without him..
Air Attack Once Again
Life without Stefon Diggs for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings led to some growing pains, as the team went 7-9. Rookie receiver Justin Jefferson proved he can be a playmaking threat alongside Adam Thielen. The latter falling just 75 yards from the pair each having a 1,000-yard season, as the rookie had 1,400 by himself. The duo scored 21 touchdowns combined. This season not only will they both eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau, they will combine for 30 touchdowns.
Transfer of Trust, Same Story
The Chicago Bears and their trust in quarterback Mitch Trubisky, wavered last season as Nick Foles started a handful of games. After declining his fifth-year option prior to last season, the team made it clear they had no interest in bringing him back after they quickly signed Andy Dalton at the onset of free agency. Trubisky signed to back up MVP contender Josh Allen in Buffalo. The Bears created their own quarterback controversy when they drafted Justin Fields in the first round. Head coach Matt Nagy, who’s rumored to be sitting on the hottest seat in the NFL, has not committed as to who will be the Bears starting signal-caller in Week 1 as of yet. It’s likely Dalton, Fields, and even Foles, who is currently still on the roster, will all get a share of the starts this season, which is a recipe for disaster in the Windy City.
More of the Same in Motown
The trade heard around the NFL this offseason was when the Detroit Lions traded Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff. While the younger model will definitely look more fancy leading this offense, it will be more of the same of letting games get out of hand early and playing from behind. While the defense has been revamped to new head coach Dan Campbell‘s liking, they will still surrender substantial point totals.
Make the Best of a Bad Situation
This Rodgers situation will have a major impact on this division. The high-scoring Vikings will win the North whether he plays or not, but the Packers earning a wildcard spot depends on the ultimate outcome. The Lions and Bears will be fighting to get out of the basement in the division all season long. The Lions will make a run at a wildcard but fall short. The Bears with Fields on the field will be more exciting to watch but unfortunately they won’t get many wins.
Follow Joe Heller on Twitter @JerseyJoe317
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