NFC North

I had this one pegged early last year, but ended up on Bears to win the NFC instead of RSW over or even NFC North winners, so I didn’t really win any money, all I got was a feeling of being smart for a few months. I still think they should have let the Vikings win in week 17 and then pounded the shit out of them in the playoffs, but such is life. It’s been 5 years since we’ve seen a team repeat as division champs, and as hard as we were on the Bears, they absolutely have the tools to do it again. The podcast in case you missed it:

Chicago Bears

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WHAT WE LIKE:

  • Historically great defense

  • Improving QB? Much too early to tell where his ceiling is, but there are signs to be hopeful of a continued upward trend

  • Healthy receiving corps, good receiving backs, possible OROY candidate in Montgomery

WHAT WE HATE:

  • Schedule will be much tougher. Projected 7th (vs last year’s 31st according to Warren Sharp)

  • This might cause us to see some regression from 2018 in a few of the following:

    • +12 Net Turnovers

    • +17 Net Sacks

    • +3 Net Return TDs

    • +17 Net Penalties

    • 6-4 in one score games

  • We like Pagano, but would always prefer continuity. Only time will tell if Fangio will be greatly missed.

  • 3rd healthiest team in the league last year, may see some regression here as well

DEEP DIVE CONSENSUS:

So much of what it will take to mimic last year’s success is going to come down to Mitch taking the next steps towards being a top-tier QB. We’ve seen a few recent examples of teams with great defenses not being able to sustain success year over year, so again, I really think the offense needs to play a bigger part if they want to stave off the Vikings and Packers.


Minnesota Vikings

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WHAT WE LIKE:

  • Diggs/Thielen/Rudolph/Cook

  • New play caller Kevin Stephanski has some nice tendancies and may be an upgrade

  • Still very nice pieces on all three levels of the defense

  • Middle of the road projected strength of schedule

WHAT WE HATE:

  • Still giant question marks on the offensive line, might be pretty bad again despite the additions

  • The possibility of defensive-minded Mike Zimmer meddling in the offense

  • Kirk Cousins apparent inability to beat good teams

DEEP DIVE CONSENSUS:

Just like the Bears, so much is going to come down to getting solid QB play. This is a team that can win the division if they can keep Cousins upright and stop running the ball just to run the ball. We both agreed that their +2500 Super Bowl number was intriguing seeing how it’s essentially the same team as last year that went off at much lower numbers.

Green Bay Packers

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WHAT WE LIKE:

  • Got rid of McCarthy

  • Added a half dozen nice pieces to the defense

  • Aaron Rodgers plays QB for them

WHAT WE HATE:

  • Questionable talent at WR after Davante Adams

  • LaFleur’s play-calling was run heavy in Tennessee, but he also had Mariota

  • Couple of rough patches in the schedule, including closing the season with two on the road

DEEP DIVE CONSENSUS:

While we’re not as high on them as some folks, but there are a ton of reasons to get behind them as a team working their way back to relevance. A full season with a healthy Rodgers goes a long way, and I guess we’ll see how his relationship with LaFleur pans out.

Detroit Lions

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WHAT WE LIKE:

  • Stafford is still a good QB

  • Jones/Golladay/Amendola/New TE, could do a lot worse for receivers

  • Darius Slay is all-world

WHAT WE HATE:

  • Very much not sold on Patricia as a head coach

  • Rough stretch to start the season, could be out of contention in a hurry

DEEP DIVE CONSENSUS:

We tried to find reasons to get excited for the Motor City Kitties, and came up with very little. I guess in the end, I’m only sold on one head coach in the entire division (Nagy), and like Green Bay and Minnesota, I worry that the talent will be wasted by poor coaching philosophy.

Go ahead and call me a homer for the Vikings future if you’d like. Or just tell me what you’re betting for futures this season. Leave a comment on here or on our Twitter feeds.

@AndyMSFW

@Whale_Capper

@DeepDivePod