PHOTO: MIKE ROEMER | ASSOCIATED PRESS

The NFC North. The Black and Blue division. Tough. Hardnosed. Physical. It is Midwestern-style football personified at the very core of B1G country. You want good defense, tough running and punishing old-school football, The Monsters of the Midway, Purple People-Eaters and Acme Packing Co. got you covered!

As a proud member of Viking Nation, I can’t speak for that team from Wisconsin. And the Lions…no comment. LOL.


In all seriousness, the NFC North is gonna be decided by one team: The Green Bay Packers—and most specifically, that BAAAADDDD man, Aaron Rodgers. My Vikings will give the Cheeseheads some comp, but can the rest of the division hang?

Read my NFC North preview now!

 

Detroit Lions — The Matt’s are gone in the Motor City and Dan Campbell went to Jared—as in Jared Goff—to find a QB. Dan Campbell will bring a different style of football to a team that desperately needs a culture change.

Detroit made a surprising selection with OT Penei Sewell when WR DeVonta Smith was available, especially with the losses of Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay on the outside. The new look offense will go through growing pains as the rookie head coach and a quarterback in his first season with the new team.

TE TJ Hockenson will see more doubles, leaving plenty of one on ones for new receiver Tyrell Williams The defensive side of the ball starts with the development of Jeff Okudah. Was he worth the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? What do the Patriot leftovers of Collins and Flowers do for the young defensive unit.

Can Michael Brockers teach a few things coming over from the best defense in the league? This season looks as bad as Mufasa’s death in the Lion King!

Projected record: 4-13

 

Chicago Bears — Most fans in Chicago are ready for the Justin Fields era to start. Right now, it’s Andy Dalton’s show until Matt Nagy says otherwise! No matter who the QB is, the Bears need better protection otherwise you will see a lot of quarterbacks seeing ghosts in the Windy City.

The starting quarterback better pray for an improved offensive line in week one, otherwise it’s going to be a long year no matter who your starting quarterback is. Dalton starts week one, but how long will that last? WR Allen Robinson can make any quarterback look good with his pass catching ability, however past Robinson, there’s not too much to be excited about.

Anthony Miller hasn’t lived up to expectations and the jury is still out on Darnell Mooney. How healthy will the defense be? Edge rusher Khalil Mack is in his fourth season in Chicago, but was the trade worth giving up two first round picks?

Chicago has made the playoffs twice in his first three years, however you don’t give up two first rounders unless you have Super Bowl aspirations, unless of course you’re the Chicago Bears.

How did the Jay Cutler trade work out?

Projected record: 8-9

 

Minnesota Vikings – What does Kirk Cousins do? The future of the Vikings success will come down to the success of Captain Kirk. Will Cousins step up as a leader and lead the Vikings to their next steps? The bigger question for Cousins just might be will he get vaccinated eventually?

Dalvin Cook is a top three back in the NFL, and as long as he gets his touches, the Vikings will continue to stay in the ballgame, as Dalvin can hit the home run at any time.

Second year WR Justin Jefferson had a strong year one. How much better can he do in year two with a full offseason program? A fully healthy defense can be top 10 in the league. With many starters moving on in free agency or getting beat up by the injury plague in the 2020 season, that defense turned in one of the worst performances in team history.

The secondary has a completely new look apart from Harrison Smith–who just inked his new four-year, $64 million extension. The additions of DB’s Brashad Breelund, Patrick Peterson, Xavier Woods, and the reunion of Mackenzie Alexander, will help the secondary out big time this upcoming season.

Losing Jeff Gladney will set the secondary back a little bit as he was making progress towards the end of his rookie season. Those domestic issues will set your NFL career back minimum and potentially put you out of the league for good. Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce will improve the Defensive Line performance as well as the return of Danielle Hunter and veteran defensive end Everson Griffin.

The biggest question mark beside Cousins’ vaccination status will be the kicker. How many losses will be because of missed field goals?

Projected record: 10-7

 

Green Bay Packers — Aaron Rodgers makes Green Bay function! With a potential divorce looming next season, the Packers are in Super Bowl or bust mode. Does Rodgers still perform at an elite level with his shortened offseason? He may have taught Bryson DeChambeau a thing or two about his personality, because now DeChambeau is blaming his driver, instead of his golf game for poor performances.

RB Aaron Jones and WR DeVante Adams will continue to shine as long as Rodgers is running the offense. The defense is solid led by Jaire Alexander, and Za’Darius Smith. I’m going to give Za’Darius Smith more credit than what Madden gave him for pass rushers as he is top five in the league.

Alexander continues to shine, and some of those upcoming battles between Jaire and Justin will be interesting as the upcoming season progresses. However, if you have Kevin King there will always be that one liability in the Green Bay defense. This is all or nothing for Green Bay this year.

Projected Record: 13-4

 

 

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