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2018 NFC North preview: Power ranking each team’s roster

The results will surprise you.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, we’ve gone position by position and ranked the NFC North by their personnel. It’s been an interesting look at each team’s roster, as it’s now clear each team has clear strengths and weaknesses. Even a team like the Chicago Bears, who are pretty much considered the consensus worst team in the division, ranked atop the NFC North in two different positional rankings.

So to conclude this series, we’re going to put it all together. We’ve averaged the rankings of each position to determine the best roster in the North. Admittedly, this isn’t a perfect way to judge a team’s roster. In some cases, placing a team fourth wasn’t enough. For example, the Lions’ linebacking corps was ranked last in the division, but their linebackers are far worse than the Vikings’ set of linebackers, which ranked third. Though the difference in talent was significant, the Lions were only one “point” behind Minnesota.

To emphasize the importance of the quarterback position, those rankings were weighed double. All other position rankings were given equal weight. To read our justification for each positional ranking, catch up on the series below:

Here are the final roster rankings, according to our methods.

1. Green Bay Packers (average ranking: 2.3)

  • QBs: 1
  • RBs: 4
  • TEs: 1
  • WRs: 4
  • OL: 3
  • DLs: 2
  • LBs: 1
  • DBs: 4
  • ST: 2

It helps to have the best quarterback in the league, but even so, this is a surprise. The Packers have an overlooked front seven on defense, and that’s really what carried them to the top of the divisional rankings. If Green Bay’s emphasis on the secondary in the past two drafts pays off early, their defense could take a considerable step forward in 2018. And while their offensive skill positions are lacking, we’ve seen Aaron Rodgers compensate for that before.

2. Detroit Lions (2.4)

  • QBs: 2
  • RBs: 3
  • TEs: 4
  • WRs: 1
  • OL: 2
  • DL: 4
  • LBs: 4
  • DBs: 1
  • ST: 1

Outside of the Lions’ front seven on defense, this is actually a very solid roster. There’s good depth in the secondary, Matthew Stafford is a bonafide franchise quarterback, but most importantly, there’s finally reason for optimism both in the backfield and on the offensive line. If those position groups can live up to their potential in 2018, this could be a very dangerous team. However, if Matt Patricia can’t get more than the sum of his parts on defense, it will drag them down considerably.

3. Minnesota Vikings (2.6)

  • QBs: 3
  • RBs: 2
  • TEs: 2
  • WRs: 2
  • OL: 4
  • DL: 1
  • LBs: 3
  • DBs: 2
  • ST: 4

Many—myself very much included—have already crowned the Vikings’ roster as being overly talented and unmatched in the NFC North. While these rankings don’t completely change my mind, they do give me some pause.

The Vikings are hurt in these ratings by the fact that they rank third in quarterback, despite having a pretty solid guy in Kirk Cousins. Also, it’s a bit ridiculous that they’re ranked third in linebacker depth despite having two studs in Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. The fact of the matter is the Vikings are strong just about everywhere on the roster that isn’t offensive line. Unfortunately for them, they tend to be talented at positions in which other NFC North teams are just slightly more talented.

Still, it’s probably not fair to just assume Minnesota is the team to beat. This division is a lot closer in talent than many—again, myself included—assume.

4. Chicago Bears (2.7)

  • QBs: 4
  • RBs: 1
  • TEs: 3
  • WRs: 3
  • OL: 1
  • DL: 3
  • LBs: 2
  • DBs: 3
  • ST: 3

The Bears predictably come in last, but look at how close they are to everyone else. In fact, per our methods, Chicago actually has the best roster outside of the quarterback position.

Of course, having a young, unproven quarterback is exactly the reason why many think the Bears are still a couple years away, but if Mitchell Trubisky gets hot early, this team could legitimately contend for a playoff spot as soon as this year. They are starting to get the offensive weapons to go with an excellent offensive line and a burgeoning defensive roster.

We joke about the Bears all of the time, but if everything comes together under new head coach Matt Nagy, Chicago won’t be the laughing stock of the division for long.

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