Today’s rendition of our 2021 NFL Division Prediction Series takes us to the ‘black and blue division’ of the league. That’s right, it is referred to as the NFC North.
This division had everything in the offseason: off the field drama, quarterback and regime changes, and high end talent.
Anything can happen here in this division, but let’s glimpse of what we have going here in the North.
The Chicago Bears have wrapped themselves to a near identical situation as what they did for Mitchell Trubisky—trading draft capital for a new quarterback in hopes it would work. This time it was to pick Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
Fields may be good, but it’s looking that he will sit behind Andy Dalton for a time being. However, the Bears added present and future weapons for Fields to flourish with.
Such offseason moves include the Dalton and Fields moves, signing running back Damien Williams, placing the franchise tag on wide receiver Allen Robinson, and drafting offensive lineman Teven Jenkins (now on IR).
Future is looking solid in Chicago, but hopefully they don’t fall into the same deja vu as they did with Trubisky a few years ago. We’ll possibly be seeing that future sooner rather than later.
Vast changes have defined the Detroit Lions’s offseason.
From changes to the front office, quarterback, coaching staff led by the popular Dan Campbell, and wide receiving core, this is shaping up to be a year of not just rebuilding a team, but rebuilding a culture.
Big moves seen for the Lions include longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford being traded to Los Angeles for Jared Goff, bringing in Brad Holmes, Chris Spielman and John Dorsey to their revamped front office, and losing all of their wide receivers to free agency.
The Lions did do some intriguing moves by re-signing pass rusher Romeo Okwara and drafted Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, defensive linemen Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeil, and USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.
This is going to be a few years until Detroit is back in contention, but with how their future is looking, they either could be off to a great start or they’ll revert back to the Matt Millen era. Lions fans will hope for the latter.
Green Bay Packers
Fans were in panic mode all offseason. Not because the Green Bay Packers lost their second straight NFC Championship Game (this time at home), but they almost lost their MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.
But the good news was that Rodgers did come back in time training camp, as much to the dismay of their rivals.
Other news that happened for Green Bay’s offseason was they added more playmakers for Rodgers and their defense. Key moves were drafting Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers, Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes and bringing back an old fan favorite in Randall Cobb.
If last year wasn’t an all-in year for the Packers, this year will be. They prefer to not have a Brett Favre situation again, and the only way to make everyone happy is to win another Super Bowl. This season’s going to be interesting.
Last season was a down year for the Minnesota Vikings, but they are making sure they will go way up in 2021.
Aside from the emergence of second-year wide receiver Justin Jefferson, the offense remains the same: a strong running game combined with solid balance. Their defense is returning almost all of their starters who were out due to injury or COVID issues, yet they also signed defensive lineman Michael Pierce to solidly their line.
However, a wrench was thrown to their plans with their quarterbacks. Minnesota selected Texas A & M’s Kellen Mond to be a potential replacement for Kirk Cousins.
The Vikings look to be in great shape for a deep playoff run, but with a certain quarterback being back in the division, they’ll have to fight for that spot. Let’s hope it goes into their favor in 2021.
PROJECTED 2021 NFC NORTH STANDINGS
- Green Bay Packers 13-4**
- Minnesota Vikings 11-6*
- Chicago Bears 9-8
- Detroit Lions 6-11
With Aaron Rodgers back in Green Bay, it’s guaranteed that they’ll be a favorite; and they prove it as they will clinch the division convincingly over Minnesota (who’ll finish second with a Wild Card berth).
Chicago will have Fields get his feet wet in the league and they’ll finish with a modest 9-8 record, and Detroit is going to struggle with the start of their new, total rebuild as the Lions settle to 6-11.