CANTON, Ohio- Let’s finish up the NFC shall we? It ends with the NFC North. This division has great rivalries and great fan bases. And the best part is, they respectfully hate one another.
Chicago Bears- (Home Stadium- Soldier Field)- (2016 record: 3-13)- (My 2017 Prediction: 2-14)
OFFENSE: If I were Bears GM Ryan Pace, I wouldn’t have wasted my time nor money on QB Mike Glennon. Chicago traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky. Knowing this is clearly a rebuild year in the “Windy City”, I would start Trubisky and see what I have in him. Trubisky does have some weapons to help him with Kendall Wright, Kevin White and Markus Wheaton at WR. I also like Jordan Howard at RB.
DEFENSE: This is where it gets ugly for Chicago in my eyes. When I think of Chicago Bears football, I think of mean nasty defenses. This past draft had plenty of defensive players to pick from, especially in the top 10. Not many names stick out to me on paper. Chicago is hoping LB Leonard Floyd can have a good year this year.
CHICAGO BEARS FINAL THOUGHTS- I feel bad for my brother-in-law who is a die-hard Bears fan. I also feel bad for Bears fans in general, due to their loyalty and passion for their team. This 2017 season is going to be rough for Bears fans. Probably not as rough as it was for Browns fans in 2016, but it’ll be hard to watch most of the time. But, who knows, I’ve been wrong before.
Minnesota Vikings- (Home Stadium- U.S. Bank Stadium)- (2016 record: 8-8)- (My 2017 Prediction: 6-10)
OFFENSE: Not having Teddy Bridgewater hurts. QB Sam Bradford will rely heavily on rookie RB Dalvin Cook along with Stefon Diggs, Laquon Treadwell and Kyle Rudolph as the receivers.
DEFENSE: The defense will be an issue for the Vikings this year. I like Anthony Barr at linebacker but the secondary leaves much to be desired besides Xavier Rhodes at cornerback.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS FINALS THOUGHTS- The offense will have to do the heavy lifting this year for the Vikings. If Bridgewater were healthy, I’d probably have them and Detroit going for second place.
Detroit Lions- (Home Stadium- Ford Field)- (2016 record: 9-7)- (My 2017 Prediction: 9-7)
OFFENSE: For now, Matthew Stafford is the highest paid player. Give that a year. Stafford can be really good, or really bad at times. But I like his receivers with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron. He’ll be handing the ball off to Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. If they stay healthy, that will go a long way in the Lions’ success this year.
DEFENSE: The Lions have some good players on defense. Up front, Haloti Ngata, Cornelius Washington and A’Shawn Robinson. In the secondary, Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson, DJ Hayden and rookie Jalen Tabor who, I think will have a good year for Detroit, await the opponents passing game.
DETROIT LIONS FINAL THOUGHTS- The Lions will be able to score points, no doubts there. But, can the defense, especially the secondary, keep teams out of the end zone? If the defense can play as well as I expect the offense to play, the Packers better look out.
NFC NORTH CHAMPION-
Green Bay Packers- (Home Stadium- Lambeau Field)- (2016 record: 10-6)- (My 2017 Prediction: 10-6)
OFFENSE: Aaron Rodgers, at times, is unbelievable. Other times? His decision making makes you wonder. I still like what he’s surrounded with. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks for receivers. Green Bay hopes to get some help from Ty Montgomery in the backfield.
DEFENSE- – I’m most impressed with the Packers linebacker unit featuring Clay Matthews, Jake Ryan and Nick Perry. In the secondary Green Bay also features Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Why can’t people name their kids normal names?) and Quinten Rollins.
GREEN BAY PACKERS FINAL THOUGHTS- As long as the Packers stay relatively healthy, they should be able to win the NFC North, but the Lions are not far behind. If Green Bay stumbles, even just a little bit, and Detroit can manage to avoid a long losing streak, this division might come down to the final week, when Green Bay visits Ford Field.
NFC NORTH REVIEW- The Bears have a long road ahead to get back to being the Bears that I’ve come to remember. Minnesota needs their QB back and healthy, plus help on defense. Detroit should be in the hunt for a playoff spot, even if they don’t win the division. The Packers need to be more consistent, stay healthy and some help in the running game to win the NFC North.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick broulis