The only real certainly in the NFC North this season is that the Chicago Bears are going to be bad and Aaron Rodgers is still going to play at an MVP level. Everything else is up in the air. Matthew Stafford just signed the biggest contract in NFL history, which includes $92 million dollars in guaranteed money and he is going to have to show he deserved it all by outdueling Rodgers in the division. The Vikings return with Sam Bradford under center and some excitement in the running game despite losing Adrian Peterson but this still feels like a two team race between the Packers and Lions.
Packers – Predicted Record (11-5) With the Packers, most of their issues for the 2017 season will be on the defensive side of the ball. Last year they were terrible, especially in the secondary but they made some improvements in that area this offseason by using a pair of second round picks on defensive backs. Offensively, having Rodgers will always give you a chance to beat anyone and his weapons are as good as ever with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, DaVante Adams and the addition of Martellus Bennett. They will need more production from Ty Montgomery in the running game but as long as they don’t start out 4-6 again as they did last year, they should be in a position to claim the division in the end.
Lions – Predicted Record (10-6) Stafford had one of his best seasons last year and that was despite losing Calvin Johnson to retirement. He did build a nice connection with Golden Tate and he will need to do that again as well as connect with Marvin Jones Jr and Eric Ebron. Getting some added help from Ameer Abdullah in the running game would be a huge plus but the loss of tackle Taylor Decker to offseason shoulder surgery could be a problem. The defense has questions but If rookies Jarrad Davis and Teez Tabor step up and contribute as expected, the defense will be more than good enough to keep the Lions hot on the Packers heels.
Vikings – Predicted Record (8-8) Latavius Murray and rookie Dalvin Cook from Florida State will do their best to replace Adrian Peterson and should do a good job of it together. Sam Bradford gets to have a full offseason to understand the offense, unlike last year where he was handed the keys at the last minute when Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the year. Bradford will need more assistance from wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Laquan Treadwell. They have one of the better cornerbacks in the league with Xavier Rhodoes and a defense that is decent enough to keep them in games. With a couple good breaks, the Vikings could easily be 10-6 but they could also just as easily wind up 6-10. Expect them to be competitive no matter what.
Bears – Predicted Record (4-12) This is no doubt a new era in Chicago after the departure of franchise quarterback, Jay Cutler and the drafting of rooking quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky from North Carlolina. The Bears traded up in the trade to select Trubisky #2 overall so they have high hopes for the kid, just don’t expect much this season. The Bears will start the season with Mike Glennon at quarterback but don’t expect it to remain that way for long as they need to let the rookie get his lumps and learn the game at the NFL level. The roster has holes in it at every position and this is one of those teams that basically anything positive that you see will be a welcomed thing. Alshon Jeffery is not around anymore to be a big target for the quarterbacks and Victor Cruz, who they hoped would help them in the passing game, wound up being cut before the final roster was made. Bears fans will need to be patient and look to build on anything good from this season to head into next year.