2022 NFC North Preview: Packers Should Cruise To Fourth Straight Division Title

NFC North Is Once Again Green Bay’s To Lose

The Green Bay Packers cruised to 13-win seasons in each of Matt LaFleur’s first three years as head coach, and the relatively weak NFC North has been a key reason why.

The Chicago Bears haven’t finished with a winning record since 2018. The Detroit Lions are coming off a fourth straight losing season. The Minnesota Vikings fired Mike Zimmer after recording consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 2013-14.

Green Bay lost superstar wideout Davante Adams after trading him to the Las Vegas Raiders, but there is more than enough talent on both sides of the ball for the Cheeseheads to remain a prime Super Bowl contender.

At FanDuel, one of Michigan’s top sportsbooks, the Packers hold giant -170 odds of winning the division. They’re followed by the Vikings (+280) and Lions (+850), with the Bears holding the lowest odds (+950).

Rodgers still has more than enough weaponry, with 2022 second-round pick Christian Watson likely to slot in as his new WR1. First-rounders Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker add more strength to an already potent defense that didn’t have Jaire Alexander for 13 games a year ago.

Even if the Packers’ offense takes a step back, inevitable improvement from the defense and special teams will make up for it.

 

Lions & Bears Not Ready To Challenge Packers

The Lions are officially in year two of a lengthy rebuilding plan. Aaron Rodgers and company are the major favorites to win the NFC North at online sportsbooks. The Lions, who haven’t won a division title since 1993, are right near the bottom of winning both the division and Super Bowl 57 in Michigan online sportsbooks.

Through its online gambling industry, residents of Michigan can play a wide variety of casino games such as poker, blackjack, slots and more. Once the 2022 season begins, football fans in The Wolverine State will be able to place a wide range of different bets — including over/under, point spreads, the straight-up winners and more.

Second-year GM Brad Holmes once again delivered an excellent showing at the draft. The Lions snagged local Michigan product Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 pick, before trading up for Alabama wideout Jameson Williams in the No. 12 slot.

On paper, the Lions already look significantly better than the 2021 group that went 3-13-1. Jared Goff should fare much better with Williams and former 1,000-yard wideout D.J. Chark Jr. joining an offense that already has T.J. Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift.

If 2020 first-rounder Jeff Okudah can stay healthy, he just might take his game to a Pro Bowl level. That said, the rest of the secondary is a work in progress. Six wins feels like the ceiling for Detroit.

 

The Bears fired head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace after a dismal 6-11 season. Matt Eberflus was hired as the new head coach, and Ryan Poles will now serve in the GM chair.

Chicago has had a rather uninspiring offseason, to say the least. They haven’t done much to fix the offense around promising QB Justin Fields. The defense looks much worse after a) trading away Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers and b) letting Akiem Hicks walk in free agency.

The offensive line leaves a lot to be desired. Fields doesn’t have much to work with offensively outside of Darnell Mooney and David Montgomery. Even if the defense regains its 2018-2020 form, it’s unlikely to be enough to make up for the offense.

The Bears should be happy if they manage to match or surpass last year’s win total of six.

 

 

Vikings Can Make A Play For A Wild Card Spot

The Vikings are what they are with Kirk Cousins: Good enough to push for ten wins and a wild card berth but a) not good enough to compete for a Super Bowl b) not bad enough to contend for high-end selections.

New head coach Kevin O’Connell, fresh off a Super Bowl 56 championship season with the Los Angeles Rams, will be a nice change for the Vikings.

Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson will greatly benefit from a coach with an offense-first background. But there are still question marks on the offensive line and all over the defense, which is why the Vikings can’t be taken seriously as a challenger to Green Bay.

But a manageable schedule and bound-to-improve offense should help Minnesota stay in contention for a wild card spot. Nine to 10 wins is very doable with this group.

 

NFL Categories: 
3 points

Comments (7)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PatrickGB's picture

June 07, 2022 at 07:34 am

I pretty much agree with this article. However, I do expect the Vikings to really challenge the Packers this season. They seemed dis functional on offense last year despite having a good WR core and running back tandem. I see them playing tough on defense and the addition of Z will help their pass rush. It might come down to their kickers ;-)

3 points
3
0
GregC's picture

June 07, 2022 at 07:29 pm

Yeah, I think the Vikings could possibly be pretty good. They had a ton of injuries last year, especially on defense, and everything sort of snowballed in a bad way for them. They still have a dangerous offense. It's hard to see the Lions or Bears doing much. The Bears' refusal to acquire offensive talent, year after year, is a real head-scratcher. The Lions' coach has gotten a lot of mileage out of his initial press conference, but I'm not sold on him yet. Detroit is where head coaches go to die.

1 points
1
0
HarryHodag's picture

June 07, 2022 at 07:52 am

There's a fundamental flaw in the thinking behind this article. It assumes that 2022 will follow the same building blocks as transpired in 2021. History has proven it doesn't work that way.

Things change from year-to-year. The Packers have a brutal schedule(again), especially in the second half of the season.. To say they're going to 'cruise' is really putting the cart before the horse. Can they win the division? Sure. But the Vikings have a lot of talent and now they have to prove to a new coach they can win. The Lions are not going to be the walkovers anymore. The Bears, it's true, don't have the talent to compete at this point.

While this time of the year is always full of silly speculation there are times when fans must temper the optimism with a grain of reality.

4 points
4
0
DragonSilk's picture

June 09, 2022 at 07:49 am

I think you're basically right, but I wouldn't say there's a flaw. What else is there to go on except last year and any changes made for this year?

0 points
0
0
Leatherhead's picture

June 07, 2022 at 04:34 pm

I cannot disagree with the author, but I wish he hadn't said it. It gave me a flashback to the Spring of 2010, over at Zbuds forum, where a guy who became The Daily Norseman (Chris Gates), said that the "Vikings are the clear class of the division". Because, of course, they'd almost gone to the Super Bowl a few months before.

Well, that was pretty much like installing an icemaker on the Titanic. If you recall, the Vikings had a total collapse that ended with Favre on the bench and their season in ruins. Again. They lost something like 10 straight division games.

I also remember starting the 2005 season, right after we had "wasted a draft pick on Rodgers", and we thought we had a really good team that would win the division again. We had just brought in a great new defensive coordinator, Bates. We had some injuries and Favre started just throwing the ball around like it was crap and he was a monkey at the zoo. He had 36 turnovers and we went 4-12. He'd throw three picks and Sherman would give him Wednesday off and make the receivers work extra. No kidding.

So, I think we're good. Really good. But I also know that it's when you think you're free and clear that you get whomped the hardest.

1 points
1
0
HarryHodag's picture

June 07, 2022 at 04:40 pm

Ah, yes, another veteran of Zbud. My name was net . Lots of good discussion there but it evolved into a site where a few people dominated and pounced on anyone with an idea that didn't jive with their group think.

Glad this place has some reasonable citizens.

0 points
0
0
jimperm's picture

June 09, 2022 at 08:37 am

Bears fan here. Should the pack win the NFC north this year? Sure. This article paints it to be a cake walk. I'm not so sure. If I were a Packers fan, there would be plenty to make me nervous this year.
The Bears are set to lose this year. 2 wins for the pack, of course. Detroit has been doing all the right things. They are not going to be an easy out. I could see them pulling out 1 win with the pack.
The Vikes have a lot of talent on offense. Better than the pack minus the qbs. And with a new offensive coach they might reach their potential. They still just have a better than average qb, of course. What if they get lucky?
What would worry me if I was a Packers fan is the dearth of wrs for Rodgers. The author acts like a non power 5 wr will easily be wr1 in his rookie year? History says don't bet on that. I do think the pack will win the NFC north. But it won't as easy as suggested. What would really make me worry is if Rodgers gets frustrated with his lack of support at wr? He has hinted at retirement?
So the Packers win the NFC north. The Vikes put up a good fight. (The Packers won't win 13 games again this year.) The pack get into the playoffs and face plant again. Rodgers says to heck with it and retires? There's a lot to worry about. And no, this is not wish full thinking. I just see that this could happen. Rodgers is an all time great. There is no replacing someone like that.

0 points
0
0