Last season the NFC North came down to the final regular season game, as the upstart Vikings went to Green Bay and beat the Packers to win the division, only then to lose to the Seahawks in heart breaking fashion in the NFC Wild Card game.
The division took a major twist on Tuesday when Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater suffered a leg injury that is going to keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
The Packers are the best team in the division, but the question is – who is now in second after the injury to Bridgewater? We have our thoughts on it below.
1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Two players give the Packers the far and away edge in this division now with Bridgewater out – that being returning wide out Jordy Nelson, who missed all of last season, and slimmed down running back Eddie Lacy, who could have a monster season at the running back spot if he remains motivated. Aaron Rodgers still had a great season n 2015 without Nelson, so expect him to be his usual very good self in 2016. The defense added some players, and should be good as well in 2016. This is a team with the look of being maybe the best in the NFC.
2. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
A number of people had the Vikings as a darkhorse Super Bowl pick, with a new stadium and plenty of momentum after last seasons NFC North Title. The team though is going to be hard pressed to replace Teddy Bridgewater, as his injury puts a damper on the Vikings season before it even starts. The club still has AP and he’ll need a huge season to keep the offense going, and whoever plays QB has to have some shining moments. The defense is good and should keep the team in games, and it’s not out of the question for the team to still be in the playoff hunt late in the season.
3. Detroit Lions (6-10)
See if you’ve heard this before – the Lions lose a key offensive player early in retirement, leaving the team in a quandary. Yes, for the second time in the last 20 years, the Lions lost a great player – this time Megatron Calvin Johnson, who walked away this offseason. Much like Barry Sanders years ago, it’s not going to be easy to replace Johnson, and the Lions are likely headed for another tough season. Matthew Stafford has to get Golden Tate and Marvin Jones involved in this offense a lot in 2017, but the run game leaves a lot to be desired. The defense will have its hands full in 2017 for this team that is going to struggle, and they are going to likely be looking for yet another new coach next offseason.
4. Chicago Bears (4-12)
John Fox will have his work cut out for him again in 2016, as the Bears have won just 11 games over the last two years, and it’s hard to think it will be any better this season. Jay Cutler will once again try to be the answer at QB, and the run game will get turned over to Jeremy Langford as the full-time starter as Matt Forte is now in New York with the Jets. The offense lost Adam Gase to the Dolphins, and Cutler and the offense has been awful this preseason. Look for the Bears to be a pushover in a division that should see it be very green at the top, and the other three teams be fighting it out for respect.