You have two teams in this division with proven quarterbacks and two teams that hope they have the answer at quarterback. The Lions are a young, up and coming team that looks ready to take off. The Vikings caught magic in a bottle last season, and I expect them to take a step back. Chicago is headed in the right direction, but is not quite ready yet and the Packers seem headed for disaster with Jordan Love at Quarterback.
Detroit will win the NFC North, signaling good news and potentially doom for other teams in the league. Jared Goff excelled as quarterback last season but will have to be better in road games this season; Detroit should field one of the league’s more potent run games; and their defense, though young, is improving rapidly. While these developments might not make much of an impression in postseason playoffs this year, at least their presence will ensure one. I don’t think the Lions are a Super Bowl contender just yet, but they are getting there.
Predicting a four-game drop for the Vikings won’t go over well among their fans, but last season’s 13-win team was mainly an illusion with its negative point differential. Minnesota’s offense should still produce plenty of points, while their 31st-ranked defense doesn’t look much different from last season – so get ready for lots of shootouts around Minnesota this season. Usually, when a team has a season like the Vikings did last season, it’s hard to repeat everything that happened last season, so expect a step back.
I am an advocate of Justin Fields as an NFL quarterback. Unlike popular belief, he wasn’t drafted as a scrambler–his arm talent is underrated. Still, with several new pieces introduced this season for a Bears team that finished last year with the worst record, double wins are not going to satisfy everyone – yet at least it shows progress forward. I think the Bears front office is finally making the moves to bring the Bears back to contender status in the NFC North, but they are still another good off-season away from being contenders.
The Packers remain one of this season’s “great unknowns” — no one knows for certain what Jordan Love will become as a quarterback, nor what his long-term impact will be. But they do possess enough defensive and offensive firepower to outperform this projection if Love takes quickly; otherwise, expect an up-and-down campaign in Titletown that may result in missing the postseason entirely. I really don’t think the Packers will find what they want with Love and will quickly look for a replacement in the draft or free agency next season. I think the Packers are in for a long season.
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