NFL: NFC North – Predicting the Black and Blue Division

The Chicago Bears went from worst to first in the NFC North a season ago. The last time they won the North was back in 2010. Chicago was led by new Head Coach Matt Nagy, who is now entering his second season as the team’s head coach. A lot of players loved his coaching style.

The Bears were a made field goal away from making it to the NFC Divisional Round last season, but Chicago lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Wild Card Round instead. Will the Chicago Bears repeat as NFC North Champions this season?

1. Chicago Bears (11-5)

Even though Chicago has a tougher schedule this season compared to last, I think they will find a way to repeat as NFC North Champions once again this season. The Chicago Bears have not done that since 2005 and 2006. Chicago will have a very good defense once again this season led by Khalil Mack. Vic Fangio took over as the Denver Broncos head coach. He was the defensive coordinator last season for the Bears. Chuck Pagano will be the new defensive coordinator. A lot of people think quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is going to pop in his third NFL season. Rookie running back David Montgomery was a third-round pick of Iowa State and he has the potential to turn some heads this season. Tarik Cohen will also be valuable on third downs and on special teams. This team has the potential to get a first-round bye this season, but they will probably finish third again in the NFC again this season.

2. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)

The Minnesota Vikings are looking to get back to the playoffs once again this season. This will be a huge season for quarterback Kirk Cousins because he is in the second year of his three-year deal with the team. Cousins did not play well against the Chicago Bears at home last season in Week 17. Had Minnesota won the game, they would have been in the playoffs. The Vikings have the talent to make a Super Bowl run. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen could be one of the best-receiving duos in the NFL. Minnesota has a solid defense as well. Harrison Smith is a leader on the defensive side of the ball and so is Anthony Barr. Danielle Hunter is developing into one of the better defensive linemen in the league. Players inside the locker room also love Head Coach Mike Zimmer. I would not be surprised to see this team win the NFC North once again, but they will most likely be a wild card team in the NFC or they will be on the outside looking in once again.

3. Green Bay Packers (9-7)

The Green Bay Packers will be looking to snap a two-year postseason drought. Matt LaFleur is the NFC North’s newest head coach. However, there is already tension building between LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has not missed the playoffs three years in a row since missing it 10 straight seasons from 1983-1992. The Packers need to hope the defense is improved this season. It has been their weak link for several years. They upgraded it in the offseason, but teams will attack it with ease. Aaron Rodgers is 36-years-old and he isn’t getting younger. Aaron Jones needs to run with the ball more. Green Bay has a nice receiving core, but they will be on the outside looking in again because of bounces not going their way once again.

4. Detroit Lions (4-12)

The Detroit Lions finished in last place in the NFC North for the first time since 2012 last season. Detroit could very well finish in last in the North once again this season. The Lions will be a competitive football team once again this season. They don’t have a lot of workhorses on the offensive side of the ball other than Matthew Stafford. Detroit has not addressed the running back issue for several years now and it will continue once again this season. This team could also have a very underrated defense led by cornerback Darius Slay in the secondary, but this defense could get worn down especially if the offense doesn’t make enough plays in games. Matt Patricia will be entering his second season as head coach with this football team. The Detroit Lions will also finish in last in the NFC North because this division is tough as well.

How do you see the NFC North finishing in 2019? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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