NFC North Preview on PredictionStrike
Dalvin Cook ($3.10) is finally a free man, and perhaps it is much too late for him to get the bag he desires. However, Cooks' exit from the NFC North isn't the end of the world for the Vikings who still have to believe they're the front runners for this division in 2023.
Alexander Mattison ($1.20) is largely the beneficiary of the Cook exit and figures to be a main ingredient for this offense as they look to improve their explosive offense from just a year ago. Kirk Cousins hasn't lost much talent as they bring back Justin Jefferson ($10.64) and add rookie Jordan Addison. Lest we forget they retained the services of TJ Hockenson ($1.19) as well. This team should be the favorite for the division and it isn't particularly close for me. While they do have deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, I don't see much standing in their way with the exit of Aaron Rodgers ($6.92) this off-season.
Many pundits are picking the Chicago Bears as the surprise team to unseat Minnesota this season and I still don't see it. Many are relying upon Justin Fields ($7.44) to take that next step in 2023. With David Montgomery ($0.56) leaving and joining Detroit they are going to have to rely upon Khalil Herbert ($1.94) this season as their most talented running back. They're also going to rely upon the development of DJ Moore ($0.82) after their trade earlier this off-season as well. While the Bears are an up-and-coming young team, it feels like they are asking a lot of young talent to take the next step in their development this off-season, and very rarely can you expect all of the young players to make a jump and have it work out. The Bears likely need to figure out what they have in Justin Fields this season much like the Eagles did just a year ago. While many consider this a make-or-break year for Fields it isn't in my mind. With no surefire talent still around him, he still may have some built-in excuses should this season end like their 2022 season. However, just because he has reasons for disappointment…doesn't mean the Bears will accept it.
The Green Bay Packers are another team that is an interesting story to monitor this season as well. With Jordan Love ($1.16) taking over for Rodgers they are wild-card to win this division. I have them as the second-best team in the division and fully believe that Jordan Love will surprise plenty around the league. Should he disappoint, he still has a solid running game to fall back in AJ Dillon ($2.10) and Aaron Jones ($4.65). Outside of Christian Watson ($7.88) it does seem bare at the wide receiver position, but with the elite running backs in this group, I think they can play strong defense and control the line this season. The question should be if they are ankle biters or not. As the Lions are their main competition for the #2 spot in the division.
Jared Goff ($1.95) showed signs of improvement this past season. So much so, the Lions will have him back for another audition to be the permanent guy. While Jameson Williams ($2.71) is likely set to miss time this season they still have the highly talented Amon-Ra St. Brown ($12.48) to fall back on. As I have said over the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't rule them out from getting involved in the Deandre Hopkins ($4.00) contest either. Signing Hopkins will show teams around the division the Lions are serious about their expectations for this season to win and compete for the division.
Honestly, this could be one of the more fascinating divisions to watch this season as you could make a great case for any of these teams if you wanted to. While I ultimately believe the Vikings and Packers make the playoffs this season, I could see any of these 4 make it out of the NFC and not be surprised.
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Justin Andrew & The PredictionStrike Team