There were tons of additions and subtractions to NFL teams across the league this offseason. Many of these moves will significantly impact the divisional standings throughout the year. In this series, we’ll take a look at each division, and where each team in it will end the season.
Check out the Division Predictions of the other NFL divisions:
Detroit Lions – Predicted Record: 6-10
I don’t think the Lions upper management could have possibly hired a head coach more different than his predecessor if they tried. It’s almost like they were sending a message to the players: “oh, you were sick of that guy? Us too.” Jim Caldwell is literally the opposite of the bombastic Schwartz and it is easy to see this style working well with players, especially as a change of pace in the short term. They will be in the news all season, as fantasy owners try to determine if and when Ameer Abdullah will take over or if Joique Bell will get the goalline work, or if Golden Tate can actually be productive when Megatron is healthy. I just don’t see the talent they need to make a serious run at the top teams in this division.
The Two in the Middle
Chicago Bears – Predicted Record: 7-9
With Alshon Jeffrey, Matt Forte, and rookie Kevin White, they still have plenty of speed and talent on the perimeter. Their defense has a weird combination of great players and gaping holes, and therefore seems to have 2-3 games a year that they just lose for the offense out of nowhere (randomly giving up 27 points to the Dolphins at home, for example, like they did in a week 7 loss last season). But I do not see the great demise of the Bears some are predicting. I think most of that is basically based on people not liking Jay Cutler, and I have written this before, but Jay Cutler doesn’t care what you think. This team won five games last year and could easily improve on that with the schedule they’re facing this year.
Minnesota Vikings – Predicted Record: 11-5
I love this team. If I were a Vikings fan, I would probably be reading this thinking “only 11-5? We can beat the Packers. BRING ON THE PACKERS!” The Vikings have done a good job of building a football team and not just trying to bring in flashy names. For years now, it was the skill positions where they lacked – their defense and O-lines were always solid. And this year, the other pieces might just be falling into place. No matter how you feel about AP, you have to admit he probably is going to come back this season running hard. Charles Johnson emerged as a very legitimate outside threat last year, and the addition of Mike Wallace, if nothing else, relegates Cordarelle Patterson to a role only in certain packages, a situation where his skills could still be useful. And most importantly: Teddy Bridgewater. He played like the kind of guy you feel comfortable expecting a lot from. I expect him to get better, where I don’t expect the same from other players. It’s the way he carries himself – he’s confident. And as he gets more weapons around him, he could easily turn out to be a player who elevates those weapons instead of dragging them down.
The Top Dog
Green Bay Packers – Predicted Record: 15-1
It just feels like this is the year. The career of Aaron Rodgers so far is a testament to how hard winning is in the NFL. You have to be good, but you also have to be lucky. Injuries or a couple of bad bounces can derail the best laid plans in an instant, and all of a sudden a pre-season favorite is wondering if there’s a chance they could miss the playoffs. But when you have the QB, and a competent front office, the chances keep piling up, and eventually everything will break right. You then need a whole ‘nother round of luck to get through the postseason, but that’s another story. They have elite skill position players everywhere, an above-average offensive line, and a potential top-10 defense. The pieces are all in place.