As I keep rolling through all of the divisions to bring you the 2016 edition of “Bold Predictions,” it’s time to move onto the NFC North. We’ve got some good football here and there should be a battle for the top spot in the division between two teams. Before I get into that, let’s get the predictions done for each team. Here we go!
Chicago Bears- I fully expect Jeremy Langford to get the starting job and flourish with the Bears this season. There may be times where John Fox makes you want to rip your hair out with his committee approach, but have no fear. Jay Cutler will step in and make it known that he will throw three picks a game if he can’t use Langford like he did Matt Forte. Langford needs to get his receiving game up, because he only averaged 3.6 yards-per-carry last year, but that should change in 2016. I think 1,300+ all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns sounds about right for this young runner. I would also expect Alshon Jeffery to be force-fed 15 touchdowns this year if he can stay healthy for a big majority of the season.
Detroit Lions- We’re to believe that Ameer Abdullah is going to be the man in Detroit, but I think we have to look at what Theo Riddick did last year and expect him to be heavily involved this upcoming season. I don’t expect him to match his 80 catch effort from last season, but I do expect him to be a lot more involved in the running game and close to matching his receptions from last season. I would bet on a 1,300 yards from scrimmage year with double digit touchdowns as they figure out L.A.M., or, Life After Megatron. To go along with that thought, Golden Tate should go over the 1,000 yard mark this season and also double digit touchdowns. Look for Corey Fuller to get involved and bring in over 600 yards this season after a four reception season in 2015.
Green Bay Packers- It should be expected that Eddie Lacy bounces back this year, and I think he will, but I think Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy have an agenda this season and are going to try and prove something after all of the criticism they received last year about the offense. Rogers is going over 5,000 yards and 45 touchdowns this season. They are going to try and throw for as many touchdowns as possible this year and Lacy will need to catch a few to get his total in double digits. I still think Lacy finishes in the top-10 for running backs, but look out for the passing attack. Both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are going to have double digit touchdown totals and over 1,000 yards as well. This team is going to be scary.
Minnesota Vikings- This will be the year that Teddy Bridgewater takes a step forward and takes more control of this team from Adrian Peterson. This will likely cause the talks of wanting to be traded and all that great drama. I’m not yet ready to go overboard with his projections, but he will finish in the top half of the league for quarterback performance. He’s got some good receivers to throw to and make life easier, not to mention a better line to protect him. I’m looking at rookie Laquon Treadwell to go over 700 yards and 10 touchdowns to take some pressure off Peterson and the rest of the offense. Don’t be surprised when he makes people upset for passing on him, especially the teams that took receivers ahead of him. Also, expect the Vikings defense to be in the top-6 in the entire league.
This division should be a battle between the Packers and Vikings to finish in the top spot, but I find it hard to go against the Packers after a “down” year last year. Their defense should also be improved from a season ago, but I fully expect both of these rivals to make it into the playoffs this year. There should be a battle for third between the Bears and Lions, but I’m not ready to anoint a “winner.” This division should make for an entertaining year, but a reward for last season to the Packers is one of the easiest strength of schedules among the league and they will cash in.
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