The NFL is already underway, but the NFC North games don’t begin until Sunday, and you can already tell the league knows it’s going to be a hell of a division. Three teams from the Black and Blue division will be playing in primetime in Week 1, and, oddly, the one team that isn’t—the Minnesota Vikings—are the ones that are defending champions.
So who will come out of this competitive division come January? Who will be hosting a home game in the postseason and who will be left at home to watch?
Here are our staff’s predictions for the NFC North champion in 2018.
Minnesota. Their roster is stacked and Kirk Cousins is good enough to carry them to ten or more wins. The Packers are always a threat with Aaron Rodgers, but their overall roster is nowhere close to the Vikings.
In my opinion, this is one of the most, if not the most competitive divisions in the NFL. If the Lions were playing in another division, I’d say the division title is within reach. Unfortunately that’s not the case. The Packers are going to win... again. People are going to discount the Lions... again. But for crying out loud, I hope I’m wrong and we can retake the division crown for the first time since ‘93!
While I’d love to believe the Lions have a chance at winning the NFC North, realistically I think it’s going to be an adjustment year for Detroit that concludes with a slightly above-mediocre record. Captain Kirk Cousins has arrived in Minnesota*, and coupled with the dangerous secondary duo Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, they have a good shot of taking the stacked NFC North. Coming off a 13-3 season and retaining a top-five NFL defense, the Vikings have a loaded roster with the newly acquired cornerback Mike Hughes and offensive tackle in Brian O’Neill.
*For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Kirk person. (Though Vikes pick has nothing to do with that.) The robot nerd from Michigan who bleeds green is just so dorky dad at a BBQ and awkward he’s hard not to love. So as you can understand, his transfer to an enemy team was nothing less than devastating. I’ve yet to take a purple sharpie to my Washington jersey but a lil too much whiskey one Sunday... Yeah, yeah I’ll be sure an adult’s there with a camera. #content
Green Bay Packers. YOU THOUGHT WHAT.
Sadly at this point I don’t believe it be the Lions. But if you hate the Bears and the Packers, you’ll be happy to know it wound be them either.
The division belongs to the Vikings right now. They have a questionable quarterback, in my opinion, but they’re stacked everywhere else. Especially that defense. They’re going to be a tough out for everyone in 2018.
They’re the best team on both sides of the ball. Green Bay has the best quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, and Detroit’s boasts a better offensive line, but the Vikings are set up for success through the air and on the ground should Dalvin Cook manage to stay healthy for the season.
After the Khalil Mack trade, the Chicago Bears’ defense has been the talk of the Twittersphere, but make no mistake, the Vikings’ defense is the toast of not only the NFC North, but they stack up with the best units in football.
The Vikings. Kirk Cousins is better than you think he is. That defense has a star player in all 11 positions. An elite receiving duo and a great RB returns to action this season. The Vikings are legitimate Super Bowl contenders this year and it will be a disappointment for them if they cannot handily win the NFC North this year.
Whether or not you believe that the Vikings improved with the signing of Kirk Cousins, it is hard to deny that they are the frontrunners for the division title. Between Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and a healthy Dalvin Cook, they aren’t lacking skilled weapons. The key to their success will be the defense. They have an incredible front seven and a talented secondary to match.
Green Bay Packers
I’m not sold on Kirk Cousins to the Minnesota Vikings; I think Cousins was a great fit in Jay Gruden’s offense and Case Keenum was a product of Pat Shurmur’s brain. On top of that, the Vikings defense was immune to the injury bug last year and that doesn’t happen twice in this league. That isn’t to say they’ll be bad, but I don’t think they will be anywhere near as dominant as they were last year.
Green Bay. Minnesota is a scary team, but they overperformed a bit last season and still have questions along the offensive line. Meanwhile, the Packers’ 2017 season was basically meaningless without Aaron Rodgers, and his return should raise the production of the whole offensive. The Vikings’ defense is better on paper, but the Packers D is competent enough to give Rodgers the help he needs.
Kent Lee Platte
Not quite in the mood to write about one of the Lions foes so I’ll keep it short. Hot take: Minnesota did NOT get better repacking Case Keenum with Kirk Cousins. Unfortunately though they get big upgrade in the return of the electric Dalvin Cook and have a scary defense. The division still probably resides in the Land of Prince.
I’ve been trying to tell y’all about the Vikings for the past three years, and now finally every seems to understand just how good that defense is. Throw in an offense that promises to be much more balanced this year, and you’ve got one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL. Yes, there are offensive line concerns, but we’ve seen Minny overperform there with limited talent—they are the opposite of the Lions in that regard.
Who will win the NFC North in 2018?
This poll is closed