2017 NFL Preview: NFC North Outlook
Who Will Dominate the NFC North?
Our 2017 NFC North Preview sees one dominant team in this division, and it’s the Green Bay Packers. We expect the Pack to have a much more consistent season this year. Two teams that should contend are the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. The Vikings have a strong defense and an improved offense. The Lions offer a tough offense that’s able to keep the team in the game, but their defense is questionable. The Chicago Bears probably won’t break even this season, but they should improve their record by doubling their number of wins over last season. That would give them six in the win column. That’s a huge improvement considering where they were last season. Here’s our quick 2017 NFC North Preview.
The Chicago Bears (3-13) should improve this season. But don’t expect them to be playoff bound, as they’re in the midst of a rebuilding effort. Mike Glennon looks to start at the QB spot, but there’s some controversy as Chicago made a move towards the future by taking Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina QB, as their first pick and the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. A big problem for the offense is the loss of free-agent Alshon Jeffrey. Three free agents were signed but none can match his skill or output. There is good news in that the Bear offensive line looks fairly solid, and the running corps is fairly deep. The linebackers look strong, but the secondary is worrisome. The 2017 season will be a mixed bag for the Bears.
Detroit Lions (9-8) QB Matthew Stafford amazed last season, as he always seemed to have one last-minute drive left in him to either win or tie the game. Although the Lions have a solid stable of receivers, they will miss WR Anquan Boldin who is rumored to be going to Atlanta. The running attack needs an upgrade and it remains to be seen if Detroit, who did nothing to improve their situation, will get the performances they need from RBs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Reddick, both of whom sat out numerous games last season due to injury. The offensive line should offer good protection. One major question is the defense, which performed below average last year. If they cannot improve, it’ll be tough for this team to make it to the playoffs. One thing the Lions do possess is a group of fine special teams.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, of the Green Bay Packers (10-6), is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Skilled, talented, and tenacious, he never gives up on a game or, as was evident last year, on a season. Despite being 4-6, the Green Bay quarterback said the team would win its next six games and it did, taking the division. Rodgers has a slew of talented receivers to whom he can throw, including Gordy Nelson, who earned Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2016. The Packer D-line, LB unit and safeties are strong, and management has worked to improve the corners. If the corners can perform well, Green Bay will greatly reduce all of the yards they gave up to the pass in 2016. The Packers should take the division and go deep into the playoffs.
In 2017, QB Sam Bradford will lead the Minnesota Vikings (8-8). Bradford, who was traded by the Eagles and sent to the Vikings just eight days before the start of the 2016 season, played magnificently. With a reconstituted offense, he should be able to get some solid results. Bradford is ideal for the short, quick routes engineered by offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Golden Tate will be Bradford’s primary target, as he was last season. As usual, Minnesota will put a very good defense on the field, which should provide them with the opportunity to enjoy a productive, winning season. Look for this Viking team to be in the postseason.
2017 NFC North Preview: Final Standings
Our 2017 NFC North Preview projects the following results for the division. For a more in-depth look at each team, please follow the link associated with each team.
- Green Bay Packers (12-4)
- Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
- Detroit Lions (9-7)
- Chicago Bears (6-10)