Open thread: Which team will win the NFC North in 2022?

Pride of Detroit

The Green Bay Packers have had a stranglehold on the NFC North crown for awhile now, but will 2022 mark a changing of the guard in the division?

Winners of eight of the last 11 division titles, the Packers have not only been a dominant force in the NFC North, but the NFC itself. However, there are many reasons to believe that reign might be nearing an end. Aaron Rodgers is coming off his second-straight Most Valuable Player award, and despite his 39th birthday fast approaching, he is still one of the most dangerous players in the league. That being said, there’s only so much a quarterback can do, and that’s where the questions for Green Bay arise.

Green Bay boasts a sneakily good backfield, but the other facets of their offence may prove to be problematic. The offensive line is anchored by two formidable tackles, but if neither David Bakhtiari nor Elgton Jenkins can return from injury soon, the offensive line may see a significant dip in quality. The biggest departure for Green Bay this offseason was Davante Adams. Without Adams, the Packers have a smorgasbord of decent receivers, but no true star as Week 1 approaches.

Other teams in the division, meanwhile, have made some crucial moves to put the Packers at risk atop the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings made multiple moves at defensive line, linebacker, and secondary to shore up their defense. Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of head coach Kevin O’Connell, who is coming off a stellar stint with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Detroit Lions can’t be ignored either. While the division crown might be a lofty goal for a team coming off a three-win season, they should be far more competitive in 2022. Not only will the offensive line finally get a chance to play as a starting five, but the wide receivers saw an immense improvement this offseason. The defense needs to take a step forward, but there is a bright future for Detroit.

The Chicago Bears are a football team—there’s not much more to say than that. If you paid attention to our NFC North rankings, you would have noticed that the Bears were frequently at or near the bottom of most position rankings. The one position where they weren’t second or third was at tight end, but that was almost by default. Cole Kmet is a fine tight end, but the Packers and Vikings are severely lacking at tight end. The Bears will need a lot to go right—especially the progression of quarterback Justin Fields—in order to compete in 2022.

Will the Packers win the division yet again, or will one of the three two contenders emerge on top?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Which team will win the NFC North in 2022?

My answer: I think the Green Bay Packers will win the division.

I just gave a massive rundown about how two of the remaining three teams have seen notable improvements this offseason. Despite that, Green Bay still remains the top dog for a reason I didn’t mention: their defense.

In the NFC North preview series, the Packers swept the defensive rankings. Whereas the Packers in the past have been carried by their offense, I think the 2022 Packers will be a defensive juggernaut. The likes of Rashan Gary, Kenny Clark, De’Vondre Campbell, Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Adrian Amos already put them into elite territory, but the Packers also have plenty of players capable of growth and/or rebounding.

I won’t count out Rodgers playing at an elite level, but there will likely be a drop off in production. Adams accounted for 1,040 yards more than the next closest receiver, and while the Packers have potential with Christian Watson or Romeo Doubs, no player on that roster is a lock to replace Adams. With Green Bay’s strong defense and capable running backs, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become a slower paced team, aiming to smother offenses and wear down defenses.

I think the Packers are the likeliest team to win the NFC North next season, but the Vikings and Lions could challenge them, both now and in the future, respectively. I for one hope this is the last hurrah of the Packers before rebuilding.

Your turn.

Poll

Which team will win the NFC North in 2022?

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    Chicago Bears

    (0 votes)

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    Detroit Lions

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    Green Bay Packers

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    Minnesota Vikings

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