(CBS Chicago) — For awhile this offseason, it appeared like three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers may not stay the Packers quarterback. Rodgers was nonetheless fuming over the Jordan Love’s choice within the 2020 NFL Draft to be his eventual substitute. And phrase received out earlier than this 12 months’s draft that he not wished to play in Inexperienced Bay. His departure would have opened up the NFC North race to the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. Nevertheless it didn’t play out that approach.
After one other Championship season, Rodgers returns beneath middle for the Packers. A minimum of for another 12 months, Inexperienced Bay would be the class of the division. “We now know who the quarterback in Inexperienced Bay is,” in line with CBS Chicago sports activities anchor Marshall Harris. “So I’ve received to present it as much as the reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers and say the Pack. It’s their division to lose. He’s received a lot to show proper now. He’s received one of many largest chips on his shoulder for a man who’s an precise MVP. And but he nonetheless appears so indignant. You noticed his press convention, how he reacted the primary time he was in a position to talk with the media, how he felt the offseason went. He’s received one thing to show, and I simply really feel dangerous for all the opposite groups in his approach and their defenses and the defensive coordinators, particularly.”
Inexperienced Bay nonetheless has all of the items to make one other run at a Tremendous Bowl. Rodgers accomplished 70.7 p.c of his passes final season, throwing for 4,299 yards and 48 touchdowns. Davante Adams, who hauled in 115 catches and 18 touchdowns, stays among the many league’s greatest move catchers in a deep receiver core. Randall Cobb returns to the fold, and Amari Rodgers is available in out of Clemson. Aaron Jones, who picked up 1,104 yards on 5.5 yards per carry, will anchor the run recreation.
Though Joe Barry took over for Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator, the already stable protection hasn’t modified a lot both by way of personnel. First-round choose Erik Stokes might take over for Kevin King at cornerback and additional solidify a secondary that allowed solely 221.2 yards per recreation passing.
Not like the Packers, the Bears have loads of questions at quarterback. Andy Dalton is penciled in because the starter, with first-round choose Justin Fields ready within the wings. Both might be an enchancment over the departed Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago’s scenario at offensive line might additionally shake up their quarterback scenario.
“It’s vital to have an excellent offensive line,” Harris notes. As a result of that’s the place issues begin and finish with most soccer groups, and particularly one the place the Bears don’t essentially have lots of questions answered there. When it’s a must to exit and signal a 39-year-old to play deal with in Jason Peters, that tells me that you simply may want somewhat bit extra depth and also you may want persons are somewhat more healthy than possibly what they’re.”
Allen Robinson, one of many league’s higher broad receivers, will assist whoever is beneath middle. And Marquise Goodwin gives one other menace from the wideout place. A robust operating recreation would assist, if the Bears had one. David Montgomery ran for 1,070 yards final season, with 4.3 yards per carry. Tarik Cohen remains to be recovering from a torn ACL and can miss a minimum of the primary six weeks of the season. And it’s unclear how a lot this offense will have the ability to do behind the offensive line they’ve assembled.
“They may go to the playoffs once more,” Harris suggests. “And lots of that’s going to rely upon their protection and whether or not their superstars can really be superstars. I need to see what Khalil Mack does. The Raiders are attempting to get him again, however the Bears are like ‘nah, we’re going to carry on to this man, as a result of we gave up loads to get him, we’re attempting to do one thing now.’ I feel they’re attempting to do some now. Once more, I can’t inform with the entire Andy Dalton-Justin Fields factor.”
The Vikings don’t have a problem at quarterback, a minimum of as they see it. Kirk Cousins put up robust numbers final season, throwing for 4,265 yards and 35 touchdowns. However the crew misplaced 5 of their first six video games and by no means actually challenged within the division. Dalvin Cook dinner was the NFL’s second main rusher, with 1,557 yards on 8.2 yards per carry. Extensive receiver Justin Jefferson additionally had a robust rookie season. However tight finish Irv Smith Jr. will seemingly miss the season after knee surgical procedure.
The Vikings protection needs to be higher, due to well being and up to date additions. Danielle Hunter returns after neck surgical procedure sidelined him for all of final season. The linebackers room stays robust. And the addition of Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland ought to bolster the secondary.
The Lions proceed to rebuild, now beneath new head coach Dan Campbell. Longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff. Goff took the Rams to Tremendous Bowl LIII in 2018, however has struggled the final couple years.
“Jared Goff, a number-one choose now quarterbacking in Detroit… I’m to see what he has,” says Harris. “The person has had some turnover points the final couple of seasons now. So you are taking one number-one general choose in Matthew Stafford, ship him out and get one other one in Jared Goff. I feel Matthew Stafford is best than Jared Goff. I don’t know what the rebuilding in Detroit goes to seem like.”
The offense Goff might be operating is full of different new gamers. He’ll be throwing to new broad Tyrell Williams and Kalif Raymond, neither of whom appear more likely to stand out. Jamaal Williams must also get some touches alongside D’Andre Swift, who stays from final season.
There’s additionally loads of change on the defensive facet of the ball. The league’s worst unit allowed a horrendous 419.8 yards and 32.4 factors per recreation final season. However lots of these gamers are gone. Defensive finish Michael Brockers, previously of the Rams, might be an enchancment, assuming he’s wholesome and able to play. Linebacker Alex Anzalone from the New Orleans Saints and security Dean Marlowe from the Buffalo Payments needs to be each be a step up as nicely.
https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2021/09/02/nfc-north-preview-packers-bears-vikings-lions/ | ‘Obtained To Give It Up To The Reigning MVP In Aaron Rodgers,’ Says CBS Chicago’s Marshall Harris – CBS New York