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The NFC North is looking to bounce back from a rough 2018 campaign. The Bears had a resurgence back to prominence with a very good season. The other teams in the division struggled.
The Vikings are looking to get the rushing attack going to balance out the offense. The Packers are hoping for a better season led by the offense and improving defense. The Lions are looking for some respect and the offense needs to be better.
It should be much tougher for Chicago to walk through this division in 2019. Here’s a look at each team.
Record in 2018: 12-4
Key Player: Runningback- Mike Davis
Player to Watch: Wide Receiver- Anthony Miller
The Bears look to repeat last season’s dominance. Even with that success, there are still questions to be answered. They will have to replace productive running back Jordan Howard. Can Mike Davis full that role and keep the offense balanced?
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky must continue to improve. If he does, this team will be a true Super Bowl threat, rather than just making a post season appearance. The defense was near the top of every key category. They very opportunistic last season. Typically, teams don’t lead the league in takeaways two years in a row. Can Chicago buck the trend? Prediction: 11-5
Record in 2018: 6-10
Key Player: Left Tackle- Taylor Decker
Player to Watch: Runningback- Kerryon Johnson
The Lions are looking to get out of the cellar of the division, a position they have held for the past few seasons. First order of business is to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford was sacked 40 times and still put up big numbers. The offensive line will be crucial to any success they have. Rookie tight end TJ Hockenson should help by exploiting the middle of the field.
The defense was much better than the offense last season, finishing in the Top Ten in yards per game and 16th in points allowed. Can they put it all together and make a push for the playoffs? Prediction: 6-10
Green Bay Packers
Record in 2018: 6-9-1
Key Player: Left Tackle- David Bakhtiari
Player to Watch: Defensive End- Montravius Adams
Packers fans want order restored, meaning Green Bay back atop the division. We know about Aaron Rodgers and his exploits but it’s the running game that holds the key to the offense. Can Aaron Jones and/or Jamaal Williams be consistent enough to keep defenses honest?
The defense had played better than expected but must continue to improve to make them serious contenders again. They’ll need a new identity with longtime cornerstone Clay Matthews now with the Rams. They’re hoping third year defensive end Montravius Adams can generate the pass rush Matthews’ used to. The pieces and talent are there but they must gel as a unit. Prediction: 8-8
Record in 2018: 8-7-1
Key Player: Runningback- Dalvin Cook
Player to Watch: Center- Garrett Bradbury
The Vikings have their eyes on the division leading Bears. The offense could be scary and is primed for a big year with a healthy Dalvin Cook taking over as the workhorse running back. The passing attack is elite with quarterback Kirk Cousins and top tandem wide receivers Stefan Diggs and Adam Thielen.
Although the defense is stingy stat wise, they don’t create enough takeaways. The offense is constantly working with a long field. Cousins is a capable quarterback but by no means elite. He could greatly benefit from some short fields. Hopefully this defense can give him a few to work with this season. Prediction: 10-6