NFC North Division Preview and Prediction

2019 NFC North Standing:

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
  3. Chicago Bears (8-8)
  4. Detroit Lions (3-12-1)

Minnesota Vikings

Last season, Kirk Cousins silenced many doubters after walking into Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans and defeating the Saints 26-20 in overtime of the NFL Wild Card Round. Heading into 2020, Cousins will be without the team’s leader in receiving yards from last year, Stefon Diggs, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills this offseason. In his replace, the team selected wide receiver, Justin Jefferson, from LSU, with the 1st round (19th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Just two weeks away Week 1, the Vikings made a blockbuster trade, acquiring Yannick Ngakuoe from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team needed help on the defensive line after losing veteran defensive lineman Everson Griffin. Last season with the Jaguars, Ngakuoe had 8.0 sacks.

Last season, the offensive lineman took a huge jump in protecting the quarterback. Kirk Cousins was sacked 28 times, compared to the 40 sacks suffered in 2018. In the running game, Dalvin Cook is looking to have another big season, and cash in this off-season with a new contract. In 2019, Dalvin Cook was the Vikings most valuable player, rushing for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns, in 250 attempts (4.5 avg).

Chicago Bears

It is unknown if it will be Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky under center Week 1 for “da Bears.” Coach Nagy said he will not make an announcement until sometime next week. Whoever gets the starting job will have a flurry of weapons on the field. In the backfield is second year running back David Montgomery. In 2019, Montgomery rushed for 889 yards and 6 touchdowns. The team signed veteran wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. this offseason. They expect Ginn to help create more plays down the field on offense.

The Bears defense was already a dominant force, and this offseason the team added former Rams and Cowboys pass rusher, Robert Quinn. Inking Quinn to a 5 years/$70 million deal. Akiem Hicks, who missed 11 games last seasons, is a top interior lineman in the NFL, and he is healthy. Chicago’s pass-rush is expected to be one of the top in the NFL, led by former DPOY Khalil Mack, Hicks, and Quinn. In the secondary, they are led by Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson. The team selected Jaylon Johnson in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft to play on the opposite of Kyle Fuller.

Green Bay Packers

In their first season together, Head Coach Matt LaFleur and Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers went 13-3 and made it to the NFC Championship Game. Nonetheless, the Packers went on to draft Jordan Love, starting up the question, “How long until Aaron Rodgers is playing for another city?”

Good thing is, we do not have to worry about that question right now. Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback and Jordan Love is the backup…for now. Green Bay as bigger issues to worry about, including their run defense. Last season, they ranked 23rd in total rush yards allowed, and 24th in rush yards per attempt. To address the issue, the team signed Christian Kirksey, former Cleveland Browns Pro-Bowl linebacker. Blake Martinez walked in free agency, and the team believes Kirksey is more athletic and will be more aggressive to stop the run.

The Packers also lack depth at the wide receiver position. Last season, Devante Adams was only available for 12 games. In total, he had 83 receptions, 997 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Here are the receivers currently on their roster:

  • Devante Adams
  • Allen Lazard
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling
  • Equanimeous St. Brown
  • Darrius Shepherd
  • Reggie Begelton
  • Jake Kumerow
  • Malik Turner
  • Darrell Stewart

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford, entering his 12th season, will look to lead the Lions to their first NFC North division title since 1993. He will be targeting the 6’4” wide receiver, Kenny Galladay. In 2019, Golladay became one of the NFL’s most production receivers, with 65 receptions, 1190 yards, and 11 touchdowns. The Lions will be debuting their new backfield this season- Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift. The team selected Georgia RB D’Andre Swift in the 2nd round (35th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft. Kerryon Johnson, the former Auburn Tiger, has rushed for 1,044 yards and 8 total touchdowns in two seasons with the Lions.

In 2020, the Lions defense cannot get much worse. Last season, the Lions defense ranked 31st in total passing yards allowed, and dead last in total rushing yards allowed. The team signed former Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant after trading All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles. With the 3rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the team selected Jeff Okudah, the former lockdown cornerback from Ohio State. The Lions have high hopes that Okudah and Trufant will step in and improve the secondary immediately.

 

AGSN Divisional Winner Prediction: Minnesota Vikings

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