The NFC North just isn’t fair. All the teams are good enough to run the some of the other divisions in football. Below is our preview of the division. As with anything unprovable, we are 100% correct and above reproach. Enjoy!
Expected record: 5-11. The Bears have a new coaching staff but unfortunately still have the same quarterback. But at least their 1st round pick Kevin White is having leg issues that could cost him most of the year. They do still have Matt Forte, who set a record for receptions by a RB last year. Looks like a tough year ahead.
Key Matchup: November 22 vs. Denver
Revenge Game! John Fox, Adam Gase, and even Jay Cutler would love to beat their old team. While it’s not likely, all three gentlemen were shown the door after varying degrees of success in Denver.
Key Matchup: John Fox vs. Jay Cutler
Coach Fox can’t stand quarterbacks that turn the ball over and Mr. Cutler loves to sulk when things don’t go exactly his way. Chicago is stuck with Cutler for one more year because of his contract and I wouldn’t be surprised if his coach isn’t counting down the days already.
Impact player: Pernell McPhee (OLB)
Coming over from Baltimore McPhee showed flashes and was able to get 7.5 sacks last year. Chicago is hoping he can take the next step and help jump-start a defense that struggled last year. In a division that contains Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, and Calvin Johnson, McPhee might be in for a long year.
Expected record: 10-6
Depending on how things shake out in the other divisions, 10-6 might be good enough to give the NFC North a third playoff team. The Lions are a quality team that just happens to be in a really good division. The offense should be explosive and the defense strong, I just don’t know if they have enough.
Key Matchup: December 3 vs. Green Bay
Every division game is huge for these teams. This matchup could be a must win for the Lions to keep pace with the Packers. Detroit will have ten days rest coming off their Thanksgiving game to get ready for their tilt against Green Bay.
Key Matchup: December 21 at New Orleans
Both teams known for throwing the ball, this could end up being a matchup of running games. Detroit has future star Ameer Abdullah to compliment Joique Bell in the backfield. The Saints have added quality talent to their line and backfield. Both teams should be fighting for a Wild Card.
Impact Player: DeAndre Levy (LB)
Mr. Levy was born to tackle people. It feels like he is in on every play. Did I mention he leads all Linebackers in interceptions since 2012? With Suh down in Miami, DeAndre Levy is ready to take over as the leader and star of one of the NFL’s best Defenses.
Expected record: 11-5
Adrian Peterson is back and ready to show he is still the best RB in the NFL. Teddy Bridgewater is ready to build off a strong second half last year and show how ridiculous it was that his draft stock sunk after a bad pro day. And Mike Zimmer has a defense that is young and loaded with talent. Nothing funny here. Just a good football team.
Key Matchup: December 10 at Arizona
Two of the NFC’s most talented teams possibly fighting for a wild card or more here. The winner of this game might be able to stake claim as a contender for the Super Bowl along with Green Bay and Seattle.
Key Matchup: January 3 at Green Bay. Is it too much that I hope it is freezing cold, maybe snowing, for this game? To watch Green Bay’s offense at home is a thing of beauty. Can this year’s version of the Purple People Eaters slow them down enough in Lambeau to steal a game and possibly the division?
Impact player: Anthony Barr (LB)
As you can probably tell from everything written above, I love Minnesota’s Defense this year. And their breakout star is going to be Anthony Barr. Coming into the league as a stud athlete, all reports are saying that Barr is now a stud football player. Paired with Rookie LB Eric Kendricks, look for opponents to really struggle running the ball against the Vikings.
Green Bay Packers
Expected record: 11-5
Seems like Green Bay wins ten or more games every year. Must be nice to have Aaron Rodgers. Even with the Jordy Nelson injury, the Packers are talented, deep, and ready to make another Super Bowl run.
Key Matchup: September 20 vs. Seattle
Eight months ago in Seattle, Green Bay thought they were heading to the Super Bowl. One miraculous comeback later, Green Bay was heading back to Wisconsin wondering what just happened. They can now take out their frustration in Green Bay where the Packers beat opponents by an average score of 83-10.
Key Matchup: January 3 vs. Minnesota
As stated above, this game could decide the division. But the edge goes to the Packers who just seem to have something special when they are at home. I’m interested to see if B.J Raji can regain his old form to help slow down Adrian Peterson.
Impact Player: Davonte Adams (WR)
This one isn’t a surprise considering Jordy Nelson is out for the year. Adams seems ready to step right in and have a breakout year. He couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. If Adams can’t replace Jordy, expect to see a lot of Eddie Lacy.