NFL 2021 – NFC North Preview

Two teams will feature new Quarterbacks in the 2021 season. Fortunately, if you’re a Green Bay fan that does not include you. All signs still point to the Packers are the favorite to win this division. With the playoff expansion, last season the Chicago Bears felt the benefit of playing on Wild Card weekend with an 8-8 record. The door is open in the NFC to take advantage of a similar scenario this season. The Vikings might have a ceiling to enter Wild Card but definitely not the division. Let’s find out what to expect in the NFC North 2021 preview!

Chicago Bears

  • Key Additions: QB Andy Dalton, CB Desmond Trufant, OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, OL Elijah Wilkinson, LB Christian Jones, WR Marquise Goodwin, CB Desmond Trufant
  • Key losses: RT Bobby Massie, DL Roy Robertson-Harris, QB Mitchell Trubisky
  • Starting Quarterback: Andy Dalton (for now) and possibily by season’s start Justin Fields
  • Last season: 8-8

    2021 outlook: Holy Quarterback carousel for the Bears. Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky has turned into Justin Fields and Andy Dalton for the QB1 spot in 2021? However, this might be the next best thing for Chicago. They spent a large part of the offseason reworking contracts and re-signing their core defensive players. WR Marquise Goodwin did not play in the 2020 season due to COVID-19 but he is back for the Bears. He joins Allen Robinson III as the other prime WR for the Bears offense. Cole Kmetz is taking over at Tight End with Jimmy Graham as the second option. The offensive line saw no major upgrades and the defense will be the best case scenario to push this ball cub to an 8 win season again. In this division if the Vikings show a underwhelming hand again the Bears could knock on Wild Card weekend. However, much less likely if Justin Fields gets the nod as the starter midway through the season (and doesn’t this feel like Deja Vu Bears fans?).

Detroit Lions

  • Key additions: QB Jared Goff, WR Breshad Perriman, RB Jamaal Williams,
  • Key losses: WR Marvin Jones Jr., K Matt Prater, WR Kenny Golladay, WR Mohamed Sanu, CB Desmond Trufant
  • Starting Quarterback: Jared Goff
  • Last season: 5-11

    2021 outlook: One of the first teams to make a Quarterback change was the Lions and Rams. Basically, swapping starting Quarterbacks (Matthew Stafford is a Ram) and maybe hoping this is part of the fix for both teams? The Lions best WR arguably in Kenny Golladay is out but Detroit did aquire Brashad Perriman this offseason to help fill a WR spot. T.J. Hockenson remains as a target for Goff while the run game is led by D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams primarily. This team enters some rebuilding mode and especially since they ran away with two first-round picks and a third in the trade that sent Goff to Detroit. While some might feel that the Lions got better at quarterback the team is clearly rebuilding their defense by releasing Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, and Danny Shelton. A five win team at the most again? Most of us can agree on that and it’s probably better to catch a Pistons game this season with the young exciting Cade Cunningham.

Green Bay Packers

  • Key additions: LB De’Vondre Campbell
  • Key losses: DL Montravius Adams, RB Jamaal Williams,
  • Starting Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers
  • Last season: 13-3

    2021 outlook: The NFC’s best team based on overall record last season almost didn’t return their franchise QB? Well good news, Aaron Rodgers is a committed Green Bay Packers QB1 until further notice. Most of their offseason was probably spent smoothing over Aaron Rodgers and enciting him to return to the team. However, part of Rodgers’ complaints was not being included in the offseason discussions and direction with the team. Hopefully, a part of the signings and re-signings also included Rodgers this past summer. What’s next for the Packers? An attempt to secure the number one spot in the NFC again and this time beat the Buccaneers? Hard to say the Packers will be knocked off as a top three team in the NFC this season. With that being said it’s not impossible for Green Bay to secure a 13-14 win season in 2021. Likewise the Ravens, they are in a prime spot to go to the Super Bowl but have failed recently. Maybe Rodgers gives it one more year and then it’s time to peace out?

Minnesota Vikings

  • Key additions: DT Dalvin Tomlinson, LB Nick Vigil, CB Patrick Peterson, WR Dede Westbrook
  • Key losses: TE Kyle Rudolph, K Dan Bailey, LT Riley Reiff
  • Starting Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
  • Last season: 7-9

    2021 outlook: When you lose one of the better offensive linemen (Riley Reiff) in the league you have to wonder what direction do the Vikings want to take here? Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills last year and this season comes with cuts to Kyle Rudolph with Reiff included. Salary cap could be a concern as the Vikings were punished for a salary cap violation in 2019. However, did the Vikings really get better as a team? Will Kirk Cousins make decisions and throws that puts the Vikings over the Packers? Probably not. The promosing part of the roster is still the backfield with Dalvin Cook. Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, and K.J. Osborn are the prime targets for Cousins again this year. The Vikings were at the bottom in defending the run and is still a concern this season. That 7-9 record could repeat should Chicago (or Detroit) overachieve in the division this season.

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