You probably thought the Packers won this division last year, didn’t you. Well, it was actually the Vikings. Can they do it again? Can Chicago or Detroit make a push or will it be Green Bay again?
Green Bay Packers
2015 Record: 10-6
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers. That’s a good enough reason to pick them to win the division right there but the Packers are so much more than that. Rodgers will get back his favorite receiver in Jordy Nelson which should help out their other star receiver, Randall Cobb. Their defense has a number of good players to complement their crazy good offense as well. This is a team that can win it all.
Projected Record: 12-4
2015 Record: 11-5
Poor Vikings fans. The last time their team actually played a real game, their kicker missed an easy field goal to lose them a playoff game. Now, they’ve lost their QB before they could even play a game this season. Enter Sam Bradford, a guy no one is sure if he’s a bust or not. What he isn’t is an elite quarterback, which means this offense will be relying on the aging Adrian Peterson. What the Vikings do have is potentially a great defense. Like last year’s Panthers defense. If Bradford isn’t horrendous the Vikings will still compete for a wild card spot.
Projected Record: 9-7
2015 Record: 7-9
The Lions will be without Calvin Johnson who retired while still in his prime. That’s a big blow but maybe the Lions won’t completely collapse. They replaced him with Marvin Jones, a solid deep threat. They’ve also invested heavily in the offensive line and maybe that will finally pay off. An improved running game could really help their Johnson-less offense. DeAndre Levy is back for the defense and they should be at least solid there. Pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah is one of the best in the league and I’m not sure how many people know it. However, all this optimism doesn’t mean playoffs. They’re just not the worst team in the NFL.
Projected Record: 6-10
2015 Record: 6-10
I’m not sure what’s going on with the Bears. It seems like they should just hit rock bottom already but they refuse. They don’t seem all that close to competing in this division though. Their 1st round pick from last year, receiver Kevin White, will finally play and maybe he’ll be that 2nd target that will make Jay Cutler look good. But they lost Cutler’s 2nd and 3rd targets from last year in Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. Can they really be better offensively this season? Maybe if Alshon Jeffery dominates in a contract year.