Predicting the 2020 NFL Season - NFC North Edition By Billy Schick
Predicting the 2020 NFL Season - NFC North Edition
(Picture Credit: Pride of Detroit)
- Minnesota Vikings
(Picture Credit: The Viking Age)
The Vikings are the most talented team in the NFC north. After trading away Stefon Diggs in the offseason, they reloaded at the receiver position by drafting Justin Jefferson. They also said farewell to corners Xavier Rhodes, Mackenzie Alexander, and Trae Waynes, but refilled those positions in the draft as well. While the young secondary may struggle at times in 2020, the defensive line will get lots of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Danielle Hunter will be a defensive player of the year candidate, and free agent signee Michael Pierce is a significant upgrade over Linval Joseph at the defensive tackle position. With veteran playmakers in Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, along with emerging stars in Justin Jefferson and Irv Smith Jr, Kirk Cousins will have no problem finding open targets to throw to. If Dalvin Cook stays healthy, expect the Vikings to be one of the best offensive teams in the league.
Record Prediction: 12-4
2. Green Bay Packers
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Coming off a 13-3 record and NFC Championship visit in 2019, expect the Packers to be a formidable team in the NFC once again. Running back Aaron Jones is entering his fourth year in the league, and proved he is one of the league’s best running backs in 2019 as he put up over 1,500 total yards and 19 touchdowns. Expect Jones to have another huge year in 2020, as he is only just entering his prime at the age of 25. For the first time in years, the Packers had an elite defense in 2019. Only entering his third year in the league, cornerback Jaire Alexander has already shown signs of becoming the league’s next shutdown corner. Coming off a 13.5 sack season, Za’Darius Smith is ready to become one of the NFL’s best outside linebackers, and is a potential defensive player of the year candidate. Where I have concerns about this team is at the receiver position. Davante Adams is a top receiver in this league, but was unable to stay healthy in 2019. With an arsenal consisting of Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow, and free agent signee Devin Funchess, the Packers lack depth at the receiver position, and also lost tight end Jimmy Graham to the rival Bears. With Aaron Rodgers turning 37 this December, the Packers will need someone other than Adams to step up and turn into a go-to target for Rodgers. Although I do see the Packers having another good year in 2020, they have a daunting road schedule and concerns on offense, so I do not see them catching the Vikings in the NFC North.
Record Prediction: 9-7
3. Chicago Bears
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The Bears defense is loaded. Khalil Mack. Akiem Hicks. Robert Quinn. Danny Trevathan. Roquan Smith. Kyle Fuller. Eddie Jackson. This defense is going to be scary. The Bears have multiple playmakers on their offense. David Montgomery is entering his second year as the starting running back after having a solid rookie campaign, and has the potential to be a pro bowl caliber running back in 2020. The receiving core is solid, consisting of Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson along with free agent signee Ted Ginn Jr. Matt Nagy will also look for ways to get speedster Tarik Cohen and all-pro kick returner Cordarelle Patterson involved in this offense as well. The success of the Bears in 2020 is going to come down to quarterback play. As of now, it is safe to label Mitch Trubisky as a bust, but the Bears are giving him one more shot to right the ship in 2020. In one of the most controversial moves of the offseason, the Bears traded for former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. If Trubisky does not work out, expect the Bears to switch to Foles early in the season. Will Trubisky rise up to the quarterback that the Bears thought he would be? Does Nick Foles still have some magic moments left in him like he did with the Eagles or is he no more than an average quarterback? I don’t see either quarterback righting the ship in Chicago, but with all the playmakers that the Bears have, this team will finish around .500.
Record Prediction: 8-8
4. Detroit Lions
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When was the last time the Lions won a division? 1993. Last playoff win? January 5, 1992. Sorry Lions fans, but with the current roster and coaching staff, these droughts aren’t ending any time soon. In two seasons coaching the lions, Matt Patricia has a record of 9-19-1. The Lions offensive line has been one of the league’s worst the past few years, and although they drafted two offensive guards, I doubt there will be much improvement up front. The Vikings, Packers, and Bears all have solid defensive lines, so expect Matt Stafford to take an absolute pounding this year. The Lions drafted a very good corner in Jeff Okudah, but traded away all-pro Darius Slay to Philadelphia, so is Okudah really much of an upgrade? Besides Okudah and Trey Flowers, the Lions lack playmakers on defense, so Matt Stafford and co. will have to win some shootouts. I don’t see that happening. The one bright spot on this team is the receiving core. Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay are emerging as one of the best if not the best receiving duo in the league, and Danny Amendola keeps proving that he still has gas left in the tank. Matt Stafford was unable to stay healthy last year, and entering his 12th season in the league at the age of 32, questions loom about his future. The Lions got a steal in drafting Georgia running back D’Andre Swift with the 35th pick, but with an offensive line that ranks at the league’s bottom, it will be a tough rookie campaign for the former bulldog. Lions fans, I am sorry, but this year is going to be a tough one.
Record Prediction: 3-13