Tha Sports Junkies 101

2016 NFC North Projected Order Of Finish


Green Bay Packers

Record for 2015: 10-6, made playoffs as wildcard

Major offseason additions: Kenneth Clark (Defensive Tackle), Jared Cook (Tight End)

Major offseason departures: B.J. Raji (DT), Scott Tolzien (QB), Casey Hayward (CB)

Analysis: Despite making the playoffs last year, any fan would say the way the Packers performed throughout the season was a disappointment. If it wasn’t for having one of the most cushiony schedules in the league, the team likely would have been watching the playoffs from their couches. However, they ended up “making some noise,” by beating the NFC North’s tribute to the playoffs, the Washington Redskins. Besides signing Jared Cook in the offseason, Green Bay didn’t make any huge moves. It’s a scary thought to think about what Aaron Rodgers might be able to do with a competent Tight End after a year where he threw 8 touchdowns to Richard Rodgers (no relation) who looks more like a used car salesman than an NFL football player.

2016 Prediction: 11-5

The Packers get Jordy Nelson back this year which will be monumental for their offense. Having number 87 back will put more pressure on the defense, and give Rodgers somebody he can trust on the outside to catch the ball when it hits him in the hands (Davante Adams had a catch percentage of 53.2% last year). The biggest tests of the year will come against the Minnesota Vikings (twice), and the Dallas Cowboys, which they have the good fortune of hosting at Lambeau Field. All and all I see a repeat wildcard birth for the Packers in 2016.


Minnesota Vikings

Record for 2015: 11-5, won NFC North

Major offseason additions: Laquon Treadwell (WR), Alex Boone (G), Andre Smith (T)

Major offseason departures: Mike Wallace (WR), Phil Loadholt (RT, Retirement)

Analysis: Last year the Vikings came within a 23-yard field goal of beating the Seattle Seahawks to advance in the playoffs. If it weren’t for a few hiccups during the season, they could have easily won 13 games. Mike Zimmer has this young team improving every year, and Teddy Bridgewater looks to be a competent quarterback. Their biggest weakness last year was the offensive line, which they have done their best to address this offseason with the additions of veteran hole-makers Alex Boone and Andre Smith.

2016 Prediction: 11-5

The Vikings face a tougher schedule than the Packers, having to face the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals, in addition to the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers throughout the season. If they can navigate those games effectively, and not fall into more than one trap game, this young core of players should continue to progress and be a forced to be reckoned with in the NFC. Look for a lot of improvement on the offensive side with the increased maturity of Teddy Bridgewater, and a revamped offensive line. Defensively, they will boast one of the best units in the league. Barring injury to Bridgewater, the loftily optimistic expectations that every Minnesota fan has at the onset of every season may finally be met this year as they christen their new 975 million dollar stadium.


Chicago Bears

Record for 2015: 6-10, finished last in NFC North

Major offseason additions: Danny Trevathan (ILB), Jerrell Freeman (ILB), Akiem Hicks (DL)

Major offseason departures: Matt Slauson (G)

Analysis: The Bears filled huge voids this offseason on the defensive side of the ball signing two solid linebackers and beefing up their defensive line. That will undoubtedly help them defend against a division flush with veteran quarterbacks and impressive offensive units. However, losing Matt Slauson on the offensive side of the ball will be tough to cope with for the boys from the Windy City. Slauson was arguably one of the best guards in the NFL and Jay Cutler’s decision-making abilities under pressure are far from impressive.

2016 Prediction: 7-9

The bears are a scrappy team and will be a tougher out this year than most teams anticipate. That being said, with an unproven defense and an unreliable offensive unit that turns the ball over too much, it’s hard to see them winning more than 7 games this year. With four games against the Packers and  Vikings and matchups with the Cowboys and Redskins along the way, the playoffs will be a long shot for this group of players.


Detroit Lions

Record for 2015: 7-9, finished third in NFC North

Major Additions: Marvin Jones (WR)

Major Departures: Calvin Johnson (WR, Retirement)

Analysis: The biggest news of the offseason for the Lions was the retirement of Calvin Johnson. After many seasons in the League, his age began to show last year as he gingerly ran routes and carried a questionable tag on his name the duration of the season. In an attempt to fill that void, the Lions signed Marvin Jones from the Bengals. Jones, who has been only used situationally throughout his career, will find a new role as an every-down outside receivers with the Lions this season as he attempts to fill the hole left by Calvin Johnson.

2016 Prediction: 4-12

This team isn’t very good. Their defense is below average, their offense turns the ball over, and they just lost their only major offensive threat. Lions fans should look forward to a season full of questionable decisions by Matthew Stafford, and a large number of lopsided losses.