NFC North Preview

Updated: August 17, 2015
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After several key signings and losses in the offseason, the NFC North could be pretty interesting this year. But will each team live up to its potential? Below I give my thoughts and rank each team in the order I believe they’ll finish.


First: Green Bay Packers 

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers come out of the NFC and play in the Super Bowl this season. Besides, this team made it to the NFC Championship game with a banged up Aaron Rodgers last year, who literally played on one leg. Just imagine how far they could go if Rodgers is completely healthy.

Their running-back duo of Eddie Lacy and James Starks is one of the best tandems in the league. Lacy himself  had a total of 1,139 yards last season, and I think he’ll continue to emerge as a top back in the league this year. I think the offensive line and wide receivers, such as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, will be productive on the field (as usual).

Defensively, even though the loss of cornerback Tramon Williams will cost them, they remain solid with players like safety  Ha Ha Clinton-Dixon, linebacker  Clay Matthews, defensive end Julius Peppers and nose tackle B.J. Raji, who will be returning from a season-ending injury last year.

The Packers have a strong roster and a healthy Rodgers as their starting quarterback, they’re in great position to win the NFC North for the fifth consecutive season.


Second: Detroit Lions

A lot of people are overlooking the Lions as if they weren’t a good team last season; 11-5 is not bad at all. I see the Lions having another productive season and making a playoff run for the second straight year.

Unless quarterback Matthew Stafford or wide receiver Calvin Johnson suffers some type of injury during the season, they should be in good shape. With Reggie Bush gone, they will depend on running backs Joique Bell and rookie Ameer Abdullah — who has been very impressive during training camp and preseason.

The losses of  Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley will hurt their defensive line, but not as much as everyone thinks. Haloti Ngata, Tyrunn Walker and Corey Wootton are no scrubs, and will be solid replacements for Suh and Fairley. They have more than enough depth in their secondary, with second-year cornerback Nevin Lawson and rookies Alex Carter and Quandre Diggs — which is great for players like Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis.

Assuming everything goes as planned,  the Lions should be just fine.


Third: Minnesota Vikings

I really like the Vikings’ potential this season.

Teddy Bridgewater is emerging as an efficient and effective quarterback and he’s only going into his second year in the league. Last season he threw for a total of 2,919 yards in just 12 games.

Running back Adrian Peterson will be returning to the field, which is huge for the Vikings considering the drama that has surrounded him, and the question marks on whether he’d still be on the team or even playing in the league this year. He has a chip on his shoulder heading into this season and this is just what the Vikings needed to tap into their playoff hopes. The addition of wide receiver Mike Wallace gives Bridgewater another deep threat to go to along with Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson.

They also have a chance to be a top-10 all-around defense. Safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, linebackers Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway, and defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd are a few names that stand out on their roster, all of whom I think will be impactful players this season. The Vikings will be competitive in the NFC North, and could quite possibly compete for a Wild Card spot.


Fourth: Chicago Bears

After firing Marc Trestman over the offseason, the Bears brought in John Fox, who is an experienced and proven coach. I assume he’ll provide the team with a fresh start.

Hopefully quarterback Jay Cutler will make the most out of this change, with a new head coach, and become the quarterback, and most importantly the leader, this team needs him to be. They still have running back Matt Forte, who ran for 1,038 yards last season and has been consistent year in and year out.

However, the loss of wide receivers Brandon Marshall (who was traded to the New York Jets) and rookie Kevin White, who’s expected to be out for at least six weeks due to shin surgery, will hurt their offense — although they signed Eddie Royal to give Cutler a slot receiver and a safety blanket at times.

Defensively, they are a work in progress but have signed productive players, such as safety Antrel Rolle, cornerback Alan Ball and defensive end Pernell McPhee. I think second-year cornerback Kyle Fuller will continue to emerge as a top defensive back in the league.

It’s obvious the Bears have a lot of holes to fill, and work to do, before climbing their way to the top of the division, but everything will start with Cutler and how he performs this season.

Nishara Holmes

Nishara Holmes

Nishara Holmes is a sportswriter for Sidelines Sports Report. She resides in Prince George County, Maryland.

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