So if you are the Packers, and have to be breaking in a new QB, who is charged with following up 2 first-ballot HOFers, be thankful it is taking place in the 2023 version of the NFC North. This is an eminently winnable division….perhaps the most winnable division in the NFL. Here are my 2 cents on the NFC North:
The Good: Green Bay. I say this based on several factors, the largest being the alleged end to the AR12 era. It was time. Well past time, actually. The Packers’ roster is solid. They probably have as much NFL talent as any team in the division and for the first time, the head coach will be running the offense and not the QB. They have the tools to run the ball even more efficiently, which will make their relatively untested WRs and QB just a bit more effective. The D has a load of playmakers, they were just playing as 2 separate teams on that side of the ball. That has supposedly changed. And they may be relatively healthy to start the season. And the Special Teams is exponentially better than it has been in the last decade. GB should be in the playoff conversation by the season’s end.
The Bad: Chicago. I’m sorry…I just don’t see it. I don’t see how you build a consistent contender on someone that is not a “plus” passer and who does not read defenses quickly. There was a reason Fields ran for a few miles last year…because he only got through 1.5 of his 4 reads and took off running. I think the Bears have added some high-dollar FA’s because they could, and I believe they should have only traded back far enough to get a QB like Richardson, who is a much better passer and possess a very different skill set. The reason Hurts and Allen can run a read option as they do is because the guys in the middle of the field still gotta stay home because they have to play the pass at all times. I believe the field will begin to close in on the Bears QB. And for the record, they still ain’t won a game since last October. The Bears will not be a playoff contender.
The Ugly: Minnesota. Kirk Cousins is a great Fantasy football QB….and that’s it. He doesn’t win you divisions and championships….never will. I believe the Vikes are this last season away from a major reset. Their defense could be absolutely woeful. I don’t believe this is a very deep roster that also happens to boast some of the best individual talents the league has. Jefferson and Cook are simply the 2023 version of Moss and Peterson. Insanely talented people that seem to be looking to find a way out to get to a team that can contend. Their fan base is world class and they absolutely deserve (and are more than ready for) a winner…I just don’t see it happening in purple any time soon. To me, it will always start with your QB and at least as a Packer fan, I don’t walk into the ’23 season knowing I root for a team with a QB that has no chance of winning a SB. We may find that out quickly that ours is equally challenged, and if we do, I hope they don’t pay him a king’s ransom to finish 2nd or 3rd every year in the division. The Vikings will finish last in the division.
The Top of the Heap: Detroit?? I mean, has anyone seen anything to make them think that these folks aren’t for real? They have talent, they are changing a historically bad culture, and most importantly, they are in the NFC North. Good for Goff. He got piss poor treatment in his early years and while he aint Joe Montana, he is a solid NFL QB. They have plenty of firepower on offense and it is doubtful, certainly at home, that they will struggle to score. Can they stop anybody? I’d be lyin if I said I had any kinda depth on the offseason acquisitions or draft strategy of the Lions, it just feels like they are making good moves. Anyone my age knows, you just gotta not be the Lions. And this team don’t really feel like a Wayne Fonts debacle. And to close the season, they knew the game meant nothing but a win and they still kicked the Packers ass on their field the last game of the year and not one realistic person was surprised by it.
“…you just gotta have the will to do what the other guy won’t” -Verbal Kint The Usual Suspects