The NFC North has had three different divisional winners in the past three years. Each year it seems that the balance of power shifts from one team to another in the north, as each of the four teams excels in an important part of the game. Overall, this is one of the most complete divisions in terms of talent and depth on each team, meaning each game will be very close. Additionally, there is an extra playoff wildcard spot, where the north could see three of its teams in the playoffs. With that said, this is an eight-part series where our Scorecrow NFL analysts do an early prediction of the wins and losses of each team. We projected all 256 games and have the winners and losers of each division!
Make sure to check out the rest of our record projections here.
Green Bay Packers
Winners of the NFC North
Brady: Green Bay Packers (12-4) | Team MVP: Aaron Rodgers
The Packers opted to select Jordan Love with the 24th overall selection, instead of an additional wide receiver or offensive lineman. The biggest effect this will have is making Rodger extremely mad and will most likely motivate him to have his best season yet. An upset Rodgers along with an above-average offensive line, and reliable weapons in Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, and Allen Lazard gives Rodgers enough to work with. Moreover, the defense progressed last year, and will only get better with a full year experience playing with each other. The starters and depth at each defensive position are good enough to get this team on a deep run into the playoffs.
Chris: Minnesota Vikings (10-6) | Team MVP: Dalvin Cook
The Vikings have one of the deepest rosters in football, with speed and athleticism at almost every position. Along with this, they addressed their two most significant needs at receiver and cornerback at the draft with the selections of Justin Jefferson and Jeff Gladney. The Vikings will lean on the play of fourth-year running back Dalvin Cook as they look to become a run-heavy offense under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Lastly, another key to the season is the continued success of the Vikings defense, which finished sixth in points per game last season. Overall, the Vikings look ready to win their division and make a run into the playoffs based on a strong running attack and defense.
Brandon: Chicago Bears (11-5) | Team MVP: Khalil Mack
The Bears had a disappointing season in 2019, finishing with an 8-8 record. This offseason they addressed many needs that will put them back in that double-digit win column. Their already great defense led by Mack got stronger with the addition of Robert Quinn and others. They addressed the tight end position with signing Jimmy Graham and drafting Cole Kmet. However, it all comes down to the quarterback play and I believe Nick Foles will bring out the best in Mitchell Trubisky. If Trubisky doesn’t win the job or he struggles then Foles is more than capable of winning games. Look for the Bears to be back atop the NFC North and make a run in the playoffs.
Mason: Green Bay Packers (10-6) | Team MVP: Davante Adams
Yes, the Packers had an awful draft, but let’s be real, they are still the best team in the division. The Vikings are close behind but Rodgers is the leader of this organization (for the time being) and can put the team on the back as he has before. The team opted to skip on a receiver, opening up more targets for Adams or any of the other options at the number two receiver slot such as Lazard, Devin Funchess, Equanimeous St. Brown, or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The defense is still improving and another year in Mike Pettine’s scheme will do the team some good.
Joey: Chicago Bears (10-6) | Team MVP: Akiem Hicks
The quarterback situation between Trubisky and Foles is less than ideal. However, at least they’ve brought in who they think fits well with their system. The defense took a step back but still finished fourth in points per game allowed. The sacks and turnovers were down from 2018 and they’re better on paper after the additions made in the offseason. Quinn and Tashaun Gipson should be an upgrade over Leonard Floyd and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Hicks was hurt for most of the year and getting him back will be huge. Once the pressure on opposing quarterbacks returns, the turnovers should follow. Barring injuries, the defense will carry this team. An average offense will suffice.
Loser of the NFC North
Brady: Minnesota Vikings (8-8) | Team MVP: Dalvin Cook
I don’t believe the Vikings are a bad team, but the schedule and matchups are not in their favor. Their secondary is the most significant problem as the starters will most likely be Gladney and Mike Hughes. The Vikings play several teams that excel in the passing game, which will be their downfall. Going forward, the team has to give Kirk Cousins more protection and time to throw, so tackle and guard will be significant positions. As well, the Vikings need to find a cornerback duo that can take on the passing game.
Chris: Detroit Lions (6-10) | Team MVP: Kenny Golladay
The Lions were one of the worst defensive units in the league in 2019. In the offseason, they lost key players such as Darius Slay and Damon Harrison. The Lions defense has significant holes along the defensive line and will struggle to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. Meanwhile, the secondary that allowed opposing quarterbacks to have a passing rating of over 100 last season hasn’t been improved. The Lions have the potential to win games next season based on a potent offense that features star quarterback Matthew Stafford and receivers Golladay and Marvin Jones. However, the struggles of their defense to generate pressure and hold up against the pass next season is what will be the undoing of the Lions, leading them to another high pick in next year’s draft.
Brandon: Detroit Lions (5-11) | Team MVP: Mathew Stafford
The Lions did some work to improve their team. They added some help in the running game with D’Andre Swift. Kerryon Johnson is coming back from injury and will help form a good backfield tandem. They replaced Slay with Jeffrey Okudah, who is arguably one of the best cornerback prospects in years. The biggest addition is the return of Stafford who only started eight games. Last year with David Blough and Jeff Driskel under center they didn’t win a single game. They will be much more competitive this year but I still expect them to be a bottom feeder in the NFC North.
Mason: Detroit Lions (6-10) | Team MVP: Matthew Stafford
The Lions play in a difficult division with a difficult schedule this year that includes games against the AFC and NFC South. Detroit seems to be in turmoil and Matt Patricia could be on his way out the door with a slow start. The offense has playmakers but the defense is very lackluster in all phases.
Joey: Detroit Lions (5-11) | Team MVP: Matthew Stafford
Put some respect on Stafford’s name, please! Last season, the team was 3-4-1 when he went down for the season with a back injury. They proceeded to lose their remaining eight games. The defense struggled as they allowed the second-most yards per game. I believe some of the young additions, like Okudah, improved this team during the offseason, but how much? This is a tougher division than people realize. The Bears and Vikings are much better than them defensively. Plus, despite the lackluster offseason the Packers have had, they finished 13-3 last year and played in the NFC Championship game. While I believe the Packers take a step down this season after overachieving a bit last year, I doubt they’ll hit the basement. The Lions will continue to suffer, at least for one more year.
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