We simply cannot wait for the new NFL season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first kick off. If you are like us and love the NFL, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the NFC North and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
The 2021 Chicago Bears opened the season with three wins in their first five games to spark optimism in the Windy City. But things went downhill fast as the Bears went 1-8 over their next nine games and finished the season with a 6-11 record. A woeful offense that averaged a paltry 18 points a game was one of the key reasons that led to the firings of head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace.
Chicago added receivers Byron Pringle and N’Keal Harry, and drafted former Tennessee Titans standout Velus Jones Jr. in the third round. Unfortunately, the Bears failed to significantly upgrade the offense to end a 10-year drought with just two playoff appearances.
Former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired to oversee the rebuild, but Chicago lost Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and Bilal Nichols to free agency from a unit that allowed more than 30 points on six different occasions.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 24, 2022
A porous offensive line that allowed an NFL-worst 58 sacks could hinder the development of second-year quarterback Justin Fields, who lacks enough weapons on offense to transform the Bears into a playoff-caliber team.
Former fifth-round pick Darnell Mooney hauled in 81 passes for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns last season, and will take over WR1 duties after Allen Robinson signed with the Los Angeles Rams.
Tight end Cole Kmet enjoyed a breakout season with 60 catches but failed to find the end zone a year ago. Running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert are both talented ball carriers, but this team will struggle to finish above .500 this upcoming season.
The season started on a wrong note for the Detroit Lions in 2021, as they lost their first eight games before tying the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10. But first-year head coach Dan Campbell’s squad posted a 3-5 mark during the second half of the regular season and appears primed to build off that success heading into the 2022 campaign.
The fate of a franchise that has logged double-digit losses in four consecutive seasons will hinge on the play of quarterback Jared Goff, who regrouped after a poor start to go undefeated in his final three home games.
Detroit boasts one of the best offensive lines in the NFL when healthy, and versatile running back D’Andre Swift recorded 130 or more yards in back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. Although the Lions are not yet a playoff team, a .500 finish is certainly a possibility.
Let ’em know, Jamaal!
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 8, 2022
The addition of former Michigan standout Aidan Hutchinson with the second pick in this year’s NFL Draft improves a defensive unit that limited opposing teams to 19 points or less in six outings. If third-year cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was the third overall selection in 2020, can rebound from a torn Achilles tendon and live up to his lofty draft status, Detroit has a chance to lay the foundation for future playoff contention.
The Lions have a competent offensive line and an array of offensive weapons in Swift, T.J. Hockenson, D.J. Chark, Jamal Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Jameson Williams. The 12th player drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft, Williams is a big-play threat that caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns for Alabama before suffering a torn ACL in the 2022 National Championship game.
The expectations in Detroit will be higher than usual this season, and if key players can stay healthy there is no reason this team cannot have their first winning season since 2017. Although, they might not make the playoffs this season.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers entered the 2021 season with Super Bowl aspirations and for the third consecutive season posted 13 wins. However, for the third straight year, the Packers suffered a crushing loss in the postseason as the underdog San Francisco 49ers ousted the NFC North Champions in the divisional round.
The 2022 season will be a major test for the reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who will be without star wideout Davante Adams. The five-time Pro Bowl receiver was shipped to the Las Vegas Raiders during the offseason in a stunning trade.
Although the Packers will be the favorites to capture their fourth straight NFC North title this season, fourth-year head coach Matt LaFleur’s squad will be hard-pressed to continue their streak of 13 regular season victories.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 24, 2022
The running back tandem of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon ranks among the best in the NFL, and combined with a stout defense, provides the team with an “old school” blueprint to contend for another Vince Lombardi trophy. The Packers limited six opponents to 17 points or less last season and fortified its defense with a pair of first-round picks, linebacker Quay Walker and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt.
The biggest question mark in Wisconsin is how will the passing game fare without a true WR1? Veterans Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins will be joined by rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
It is an uninspiring group that should lead Green Bay to become a run-first offense that relies on ball control and a stingy defense to subdue opposing teams. Another double-digit win total is always possible with Rodgers under center, but injuries to either Jones or Dillon could pose serious problems to the Packers’ Super Bowl dreams.
The Minnesota Vikings were perennial underachievers under former head coach Mike Zimmer, and 2021 was no different. The team opened the season with three losses in their first four games, and finished the year 8-9 which led to Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell replacing Zimmer at the helm of the Vikings.
A bevy of offensive weapons including running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Justin Jefferson should ensure that Minnesota will be in the hunt for a playoff spot. But a re-tooled offensive line that features free agents Jesse Davis and Chris Reed will go a long way in determining the success of quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ new offensive system.
Fullback C.J. Ham and receivers Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn will be key offensive contributors along with tight end Irv Smith Jr., who missed the entire 2021 season with a torn meniscus injury. Defensively, the Vikings will transition to a 3-4 scheme but have several question marks heading into the upcoming season.
The New Guys
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 24, 2022
Edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith can both wreak havoc in opposing backfields, but combined to play just nine games in 2021 due to injuries. Their availability will play a large role in the success or failure of a defensive unit that has allowed 400 or more points the past two seasons.
The addition of former Buffalo Bills nose tackle Harrison Phillips will help the Vikings defend the running game, but a lack of proven defensive lineman could derail their Wild Card playoff hopes. Only time will tell if they are good enough to make the playoffs.
When the 2022 NFL season does eventually kick off, make sure SportsTips is your go-to destination for NFL picks. We will provide NFL picks for each and every game of the season from our experts, so you can place your bets with more confidence!