VIDEO: NFC North 2017 Preview

FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2014, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Green Bay, Wis. Signing with an agent usually is the first career move a college player makes in turning pro. Some agents boast their successful clientele at certain positions, or alumnus from certain schools. “A lot like a restaurant, it’s word of mouth, but frankly (that) isn’t the worst way to build a business,” said David Dunn, who represents Rodgers among the stockpile of players represented by his firm, Athletes First. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke, File)

Green Bay Packers…

The Packers have dominated the NFC North with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. They’ve won 10 or more games in seven of the last eight seasons, with the one exception coming from 2013, a year in which Rodgers missed seven games to injury. They won six straight to close out the season, then beat the Giants and Cowboys in the playoffs to advance to the NFC Championship game.

Their defense was the clear weak link last season; they allowed a league-high 4,603 yards through the air. They drafted defense with their first four picks in this year’s draft, and clearly need to get better on that side of the ball to make a Super Bowl run. Still, they dominate the NFC North, winning the division in five of the last six seasons.

Detroit Lions…

The Lions made the playoffs at 9-7 last season; eight of those wins came from fourth-quarter comebacks led by Matthew Stafford. Their defense allowed more points than their offense scored. Regression is coming for Detroit.

Scary Stat: Matthew Stafford is 5-46 against teams with a record over .500 in his career. Sorry, but it’s impossible to buy into Detroit as a serious contender. They haven’t been passed the Wild Card round in over 20 years.

Minnesota Vikings…

Vikings are a team I’m high on entering 2017. They started last season 5-0, but injuries and incompetent offensive line play killed them. They were one of the worst running teams in the league, but added Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook in the offseason. They have a promising, young offense, and addressed their offensive line in free agency, too. Their defense will carry them, but their offense should be much improved in 2017, proving to be the difference maker.

Chicago Bears…

The Bears weren’t as bad as their 3-13 record suggests last season. They were 1-6 in one-score games, and played with three different quarterbacks. All three are gone, and Mike Glennon and rookie Mitch Trubisky are in. They have a solid offensive line and a promising running game. I think they’ll compete next season.

 

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