LEADERS OF THE PACK
The Green Bay Packers have been the class of the NFC North for quite some time making the Playoffs for 6 consecutive seasons and winning the division crown in 4 out of those 6 years. The Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings have both been competitive in that 6 year stretch as well, with both teams making the Playoffs 3 times. As for the Chicago Bears, it's been slow treading with the franchise unable to make the post season at all.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers almost single handly took Green Bay to Super Bowl 50 a season ago. After starting the season 4-6, the Packers offense caught fire down the stretch run, reeling off 6 consecutive wins to take home another NFC North division crown and it was Rodgers who confidently spoke for the team after a mid season road loss when the Pack seemed dead in the water. A home win against the Giants and a historic road win at Dallas, had the Pack just one game shy of reaching the big game but the Pack came up short and their season came to abrupt end.
In 2016, the Detroit Lions did something they hardly ever do. They proved people wrong! Detroit was supposed to be an average team that was going to have trouble winning games after losing All-Pro Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson. With him gone, Quarterback Matthew Stafford and the offense would struggle, which would put more pressure on a defense that had some issues of it's own to figure out. Head Coach Jim Caldwell also found himself on the hot seat start the season but Detroit was able to make the Playoffs as a Wild Card team. Coming into the 2017 season, Detroit now has to play facing expectations to win and that's something they aren't really used to.
For the Vikings, 2016 is a season that I'm sure their happy to forget. After coming up a Field Goal short of making the NFC Divisional Playoff Round in 2015, things quickly fell apart after they loss starting Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to an ACL injury during Training Camp and Franchise Running Back Adrian Peterson in Week 2 of the regular season. Minnesota still had an elite defense to lean on and they were able to hold down the fort for a while but as the season wore on, it was just too much pressure for them to maintain with a lethargic offense. When the season ended, Minnesota missed the Playoffs and the franchise was left with some urgent decisions to make for the future. Coming into this season, optimism surrounds the team.
In Chicago things are looking uncertain for Head Coach John Fox who has done an adequate job considering the lack of proven talent on the roster. Young players like Running Back Jordan Howard, Linebacker Leonard Floyd and Wide Receiver Cameron Meredith look very promising but there are still too many holes and or upgrades needed to compete at a high level on a weekly basis. The biggest void unfortunately is at the Quarterback position, where Chicago has struggled to find stability for years. Last season they showed a few signs of life but for the most part, they are still the weakest link in the division.
NFC NORTH PROJECTED RECORDS
Green Bay 11-5