1. Green Bay Packers– When he is healthy, Aaron Rodgers is the best player in all of football. When he isn’t on the field, the Packers struggle significantly and it shows. How could we forget the Packers slow start and then Aaron reminding us all to just r-e-l-a-x? Green Bay is the second best team in the NFC and they almost made it back to the Super Bowl once again but fell short to Seattle. This team will always be in the thick of things when it’s all said and done. The offense is going to do its part, yes but it will once again come down to the defense. B.J. Raji will be the key if the Packers want to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. If they are matched up with Seattle, he’s vital in shutting down Marshawn Lynch and pushing Russell Wilson’s pocket.
2. Detroit Lions– They were a much disciplined team under Jim Caldwell and they held onto leads and closed out games. That was an issue under Jim Schwartz. Megatron did his usual and is still the best wide receiver in all of football. I was very impressed with Golden Tate and the impact he made on this Lions offense. He gave Stafford another target down the field and when Megatron was sidelined with an injury, he became that go to guy. 2015 will be a different look for the Lions. Reggie Bush is now a niner and they lost both Fairley and Suh in free agency. To fill that void on defense, the Lions acquired Haloti Ngata from the Ravens. It won’t be an easy task to replace Suh and Fairley.
3. Minnesota Vikings– Adrian Peterson is back. With him in the line up, he makes the Vikings more of a playoff team than without him. After a year off and just turning 30, how will he be? The Vikings have their franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater as he looks to take that next step in his second season. To give Teddy a target, the Vikings acquired Mike Wallace from Miami. Mike Zimmer enters in his second year as head coach. The Vikings haven’t made the playoffs since 2012 and will look to be competitive in the division.
4. Chicago Bears– Everything that could go wrong for a football team went wrong for the Bears in 2014. Jay Cutler struggled after getting a big contract extension and the defense, which has put the Chicago Bears on the map for years was absolutely terrible. Marc Trestman is out and John Fox is now in as the head coach. Phil Emery was fired as the General Manager and Ryan Pace was hired. It’s been an interesting offseason for the Bears. They traded away Brandon Marshall to the Jets and drafted Kevin White with their first pick in the NFL draft. The talent is there in Chicago. The question is can it all come together like we know it can?
1. Packers 13-3
2. Vikings 9-7
3. Lions 8-8
4. Bears 6-10
I like the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North for the fifth straight season. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers under center, they will always be a force throughout the league. They have the balance on offense and if this defense can fix its issues and get it together, they could have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and be the NFC’s one seed when January comes around.