2020 NFL Preview: NFC North

Written By: SimpleSlates

June 17, 2020

NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

The NFC North is known as one of the coldest divisions in football. The teams from this division are composed of the cities around the Great Lakes and it makes for great cold weather football come November and December. 

In the north, Green Bay has been a dominant force over the years, with both Chicago and Minnesota having their moments as well. Unfortunately for Detroit, they have had a rough run for the last fifty years or so, only being able to manage a couple barely playoff runs in recent history.

Let’s take a look at how we are expecting the NFC North to shake out in the 2020 NFL season.

 

#1.) CHICAGO BEARS

This one might come as a surprise to people, but we have faith in Nick Foles and his ability to help the Bears do what needs to be done to perform at a high level this upcoming season. The Bears always seem to put a solid defense on the field, and that has to be attributed to good coaching. Add in the fact that they have the personnel to be successful as well, and it should equal a nice outcome for Bears fans. 

The offense added Nick Foles, which is a big step up from Tribusky. Aside from this not much has changed that is noteworthy. They did release receiver Taylor Gabriel, but that has about as much impact as them signing aging tight end Jimmy Graham. While on the subject of tight ends however, it would be worth mentioning that the Bears drafted Cole Kmet from Notre Dame and he figures to make a big impact early with a veteran quarterback that knows how to use his tight ends.

Defensively the Bears lost a few big name players with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix going to Dallas, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski going to Las Vegas, and the release of Prince Amukamara and Leonard Floyd. They did offset these losses, some with the signing of Artie Burns from Pittsburgh and Robert Quinn from Dallas. At the end of the day though, the Bears will field a good defense simply because they are the Bears and that is what they do.

We expect the Bears to have their best season in years. The juggernaut that was Green Bay is on somewhat of a decline as Aaron Rogers gets older, and it’s a great time for them to push to the top with Nick Foles managing the offense.

 

#2.) GREEN BAY PACKERS

The Packers are the normal favorite to win the NFC North each and every season in the Aaron Rogers era. They could easily find themselves on top again under the right set of circumstances, but for now we acknowledge that Rogers is not quite as impressive as he once was, and the team in general is just not getting the job done to the same degree as a few seasons ago.

The draft was fairly uneventful for the immediate benefit of the Packers. They did manage to add some offensive line depth, but the most interesting pick was Jordan Love. We will likely not see the quarterback from Utah State on the field for at least a season or two however, even if he does prove to have the talent scouts thought he could have. Aside from that the loss of Bryan Bulaga hurt the offensive line but they did acquire Rick Wagner, the former right tackle from Detroit to offset that loss a bit. Ultimately the offense should be fairly similar to what it looked like last season with no significant improvement or significant decline, unless of course you are worked up over losing what Jimmy Graham used to be.

Defensively the Packers are remaining very similar to the last season roster as well. One significant loss to note was Blake Martinez, but they also signed Christian Kirksey who could arguably be an upgrade. This defense creates turnovers, always has, and that should at least give Rogers and the offense more opportunity to score.

We expect the Packers to compete but not to be overly dominant. In the end we expect them to fall short of winning the division, but they should definitely still be in the mix for a wildcard spot.

 

#3.) DETROIT LIONS

The poor Detroit Lions. If there was an award for the team that has had the most decorated player at multiple positions, and never won a championship, it would go to the Lions. They had a top two running back in the 90’s, top two wide receiver in the 2000’s, and even back in the day they had the great Night Train Lane at corner back. Yet still nothing to show for it.

On the offensive side of the ball the Lions did not make many moves in free agency at all. They remain largely the same team they were last year. They did lose a couple players on the offensive line with Wagner being released and ultimately signing with Green Bay. Then offensive guard Glasgow signed with Denver. The one addition they did make that seems like it should help is the addition of Geronimo Allison at receiver which should add some nice depth. Most likely the offensive success is going to come down to Matthew Stafford and whether or not he can get the ball into the hands of his receivers. Detroit fans have been through many years with Stafford  running the offense and unfortunately he has never managed to get the job done effectively. He could likely compete however for the most garbage yards compiled late in games however. There is a possibility that running back D’Andre Swift from Georgia or a pair of recently drafted guards could help the offense.

The Lions defensive moves are a completely different report. They lost Darius Slay which on it’s face is a tough loss, but then they were able to go out and completely revamp their entire defense with quality players in all of the position groups. They signed Desmond Trufant to somewhat mitigate the loss of Slay. They picked up Nick Williams and Danny Shelton on the defensive line, Reggie Ragland at linebacker, and two decent safeties in Jayron Kearse and Duron Harmon. Add in the drafting of Jeff Okudah who seems like a can’t miss pick for the secondary and the defense is looking like it will handle losing Slay just fine. If we didn’t know Detroit better we would guess the acquisitions on defense were enough to put them near the top of the division.

The Lions will most likely do what they have done for years. They will look like they are in the hunt right up until the first real tough stretch of games, and then it will fall apart. They normally don’t even lose well however, and will likely play themselves out of both the playoffs and a quality draft pick.

 

#4.) MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Vikings are going to be feeling it this season. We aren’t even going to go through the whole breakdown on this team. They lost their best receiver with Diggs going to Buffalo. They lost most of their defense as well. It just isn’t going to be the same team. They did make some nice draft picks at positions of need, but they would need every single one to be a hit for them to not experience a serious decline.

With the rest of this division looking solid, we expect the Vikings to be very underwhelming this season and most likely competing for a top five draft pick in the next NFL Draft. Hopefully this prediction doesn’t hurt the feelings of any Vikings fans, but the team is just in shambles at this point, and we believe that is undeniable.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR NFC NORTH EXPECTATIONS?

What do you think is going to happen in the NFC North for the 2020 season? Let us know in the comments below. Do you agree with or dislike our assessment of your team in this division? Again, let us know. 

As always, make sure to follow on Twitter @SimpleSlates and like us on FaceBook @SimpleSlates for more sports posts and DFS content! 

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