The Vikings and Packers have their eyes on the prize, while the Lions and Bears are looking to make strides. Here are five things to look for in the NFC North in 2018.
The typical NFC North storyline isn’t necessarily applying to the division in 2018. Generally, it consists of a good season and often a division title for the Green Bay Packers, while maybe one or two other teams try to push them for it, but ultimately fall short.
In 2018, however, the Packers are trying to rebound after missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. They’ll have superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers back to help them do that this year after he missed most of last season with a broken collarbone, but the NFC North is more or less the Minnesota Vikings’ division to lose. At least, it better be after they broke the bank for Kirk Cousins.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are introducing new head coaches this year, so both teams will be looking to make strides and get back into the championship race.
At last, here are five things to look for in the NFC North in 2018…
5. Which new coach will have a better debut season?
There are a pair of new head coaches taking over NFC North teams this year, and both are tasked with getting their respective franchises back into title contention.
The Detroit Lions, who struggled on the defensive side of the ball last year, have tabbed defensive specialist Matt Patricia to run the show. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears, who struggled on the offensive side of the ball last year, have recruited offensive specialist Matt Nagy to turn things around.
Both coaches have impressive resumes and are both deserving of the faith shown by their respective organizations. Patricia spent 14 years with the New England Patriots, learning under defensive wizard Bill Belichick, and served as defensive coordinator for the last six years. Nagy spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs as both a quarterbacks coach and an offensive coordinator, learning under longtime head coach Andy Reid.
Nagy will try to turn around an offensive unit that ranked 30th in total offense in 2017, while Patricia will be in charge of fixing a Detroit defense that ranked 27th. As far as making strides as a team, Patricia might have the advantage as the 2017 Lions still managed a 9-7 record despite poor defensive play, while on the other hand, the Bears stumbled to a 5-11 mark as the NFC North cellar dweller.