Breaking Down the NFC North, 2022 Edition

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The Vikings have a injury prone Dalvin Cook and a star receiver in Jefferson. I think Theilen is getting old and is on the way down. Their o line is mediocre at best along with most of the remaining cast. When not under pressure, Cousins looks super. When he's rushed, he falls apart. The Vikings will score 35 one week and turn around and put up 14 the next when they face a godd pass rush. I see their offense as very inconsistent. They look like an 8 or 9 win team. BTW, the Bears still suck and I agree their roster is a joke.

I don't think they're going to be world-beaters, but they have some good personnel and I think the offense will see a boost without Zimmer's deflating influence.
 
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Well said. The D pretty much held serve when Campbell, Douglas, P. Smith, and Alexander were resigned. Adding Walker and Wyatt makes a formidable D that much better.

And over the years (people should remember there was a time when Adams wasn't an All Pro) the Packers have "coached up" well. This year, I think concerns with the offense are a little overblown. Yes, the WR has a lot of question marks, but Rodgers is the QB. I think they'll be fine. Otherwise, the O line has been reinforced with the guy from UCLA, Bakh and Jenkins will be back, and Jones and Dillon are still the #1 and #2 RBs.

They could falter. But I think any team with Rodgers at QB is probably set right there to win 10 games. And the Packers have a lot of good players around Rodgers.
Another thing that’s been underestimated our OL. With relative certainty, Bakhtiari is a Week 1 starter.
We lost an average at best RT and RG. Yet we found solid swing OT in Nijman and I think he’s comparable to anyone we lost this offseason. We also drafted 3 more OL, but this time we went earlier at #92, #140 overall. That’s an area that has a much better hit rate than later Round 6.

I think 1 of those 2 guys Win a starting role in 2022 and at a better quality level than a Newman starter type.
I fully expect a resurgence in our ypc in the Run game. Last year was pitiful, with 4 in-season Replacement OL players, we were off kilter all season. IF Elgton gets back by mid-season? I fully expect a full 1 yard per carry increase down the stretch. Otherwise expect 0.5 yard per carry increase.

We barely cracked the top 20 in team Carries #17; Rushing TD #22; Rush yards #19; embarrassing when we have easily a top 5 tandem at RB.
We did do a good job in 1st downs Running the ball at #7 overall. We have the 247 pound Sledge and he damages teams when we need 1 yard.

Yet, that running game was overall bordering on pitiful, when you consider who is toting that rock and the distraction under Center. That unit is fully capable of being Top 3 Rushing unit and should never be outside a top 10 ranking as long as #12 and either RB is available.

Luckily, we were right in the middle of below-mediocrity ranking there … rubbing up with the Lions, Bears and Vikings. We all sucked. I’m sorry but there’s no more excuses, we’d better execute this year. My guess is I wasn’t the only one who noticed it, as we drafted heavy with guys who are downright effective body movers in the trenches.

Time to separate our Run game from these middling NFC North counterparts.
 
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Heyjoe4

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Another thing that’s been underestimated our OL. With relative certainty, Bakhtiari is a Week 1 starter.
We lost an average at best RT and RG. Yet we found solid swing OT in Nijman and I think he’s comparable to anyone we lost this offseason. We also drafted 3 more OL, but this time we went earlier at #92, #140 overall. That’s an area that has a much better hit rate than later Round 6.

I think 1 of those 2 guys Win a starting role in 2022 and at a better quality level than a Newman starter type.
I fully expect a resurgence in our ypc in the Run game. Last year was pitiful, with 4 in-season Replacement OL players, we were off kilter all season. IF Elgton gets back by mid-season? I fully expect a full 1 yard per carry increase down the stretch. Otherwise expect 0.5 yard per carry increase.

We barely cracked the top 20 in team Carries #17; Rushing TD #22; Rush yards #19; embarrassing when we have easily a top 5 tandem at RB.
We did do a good job in 1st downs Running the ball at #7 overall. We have the 4 pound Sledge and he damages teams when we need 1 yard.

Yet, that running game was overall bordering on pitiful, when you consider who is toting that rock and the distraction under Center. That unit is fully capable of being Top 3 Rushing unit and should never be outside a top 10 ranking as long as #12 and either RB is available.

Luckily, we were right in the terrible ranking there with Lions, Bears and Vikings. We all sucked. I’m sorry but there’s no excuse for that. My guess is I wasn’t the only one who noticed it, as we drafted heavy with guys who are downright mean in the trenches.
You're right. And even if there's an average OL in front of them, you just give Jones and Dillon their touches. That was one of MM's downfalls, and still is. And MLF falls into the "pass-only" trap as well. With these WRs, he can't do that, at least not to start.

I think Jenkins is back by week 4. The guy from UCLA starts at RG, Bakh returns, and the OL starts out well and just gets better.
 

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Well said. The D pretty much held serve when Campbell, Douglas, P. Smith, and Alexander were resigned. Adding Walker and Wyatt makes a formidable D that much better.

It's interesting to note that the defense is set to return a total of 18 players who played a combined 77.6% of the snaps last season. In addition to Walker and Wyatt being added in the draft Alexander will hopefully be able to stay healthy as well. The unit only lost a single player who logged more than 400 snaps last season in Sullivan.

Therefore I fully expect the defense to be excellent this season.

And over the years (people should remember there was a time when Adams wasn't an All Pro) the Packers have "coached up" well. This year, I think concerns with the offense are a little overblown. Yes, the WR has a lot of question marks, but Rodgers is the QB. I think they'll be fine.

Rodgers has never had a receiving corps lacking as much talent as entering this season. We'll have to wait and see how it works out but I'm not overly confident in that side of the ball.

I fully expect a resurgence in our ypc in the Run game. Last year was pitiful, with 4 in-season Replacement OL players, we were off kilter all season. IF Elgton gets back by mid-season? I fully expect a full 1 yard per carry increase down the stretch. Otherwise expect 0.5 yard per carry increase.

The success of the running game will significantly depend on how the passing offense ends up performing. If opponents will be able to load the box I don't expect any improvement over last season.

I think Jenkins is back by week 4.

I expect Jenkins to start the season on the PUP list, meaning he won't be available until week 7.
 

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It's interesting to note that the defense is set to return a total of 18 players who played a combined 77.6% of the snaps last season. In addition to Walker and Wyatt being added in the draft Alexander will hopefully be able to stay healthy as well. The unit only lost a single player who logged more than 400 snaps last season in Sullivan.

Therefore I fully expect the defense to be excellent this season.



Rodgers has never had a receiving corps lacking as much talent as entering this season. We'll have to wait and see how it works out but I'm not overly confident in that side of the ball.




The success of the running game will significantly depend on how the passing offense ends up performing. If opponents will be able to load the box I don't expect any improvement over last season.



I expect Jenkins to start the season on the PUP list, meaning he won't be available until week 7.
This D should be ready to go from day 1. I don't recall a unit as talented since the SB team, and I'd argue this D is better (I'm assuming Walker and Wyatt play as expected). And their only loss is Sullivan? Wow.

I agree that Rodgers has never had a more uncertain group of WRs to work with. I hope at least one or two of these guys steps up as reliable wide outs. Watson should be able to replace MVS' production. No one replaces Adams production, and with Alexander signed, maybe they can find a good WR - but from where?

And thanks for the info on Jenkins. Agreed he'll likely start on PUP and start week 7 to save a roster spot. Question, if they put him on IR, Designated to Return, is there any difference as to when he could return (meaning earlier than 7 weeks)? I doubt it.
 

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Watson and Watkins both have the speed to draw coverage by a safety that will hopefully open up space for Tonyan, Lazard and Jones. I don't see teams loading the box with a safety if Watkins and Watson can run deep routes. The speed at the WR position should help the run game and the underneath routes in the passing game.
 

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Watson and Watkins both have the speed to draw coverage by a safety that will hopefully open up space for Tonyan, Lazard and Jones. I don't see teams loading the box with a safety if Watkins and Watson can run deep routes. The speed at the WR position should help the run game and the underneath routes in the passing game.
That's a good, concise analysis. I'm not sure about Watkins speed anymore, but certainly Watson will force a safety too stay over the top. Watkins will garner some attention/respect based on his experience and could be useful on short slants over the middle or over-the-shoulder out routes. Lazard can do the same. Well let's hope it plays out this way. With Jones and Dillon, they definitely want to keep the RPO in play.
 
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The success of the running game will significantly depend on how the passing offense ends up performing. If opponents will be able to load the box I don't expect any improvement over last season.
Ok you can look at it that way.

I actually see the exact opposite. The Run sets up the Passing game. Let them load that Box and then get burned multiple times by our MVP QB.
Isn’t that the basic principle??

But just Don’t be surprised to see #12 audible and hit a strike and watch what happens the next series after our TD.
 

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This D should be ready to go from day 1. I don't recall a unit as talented since the SB team, and I'd argue this D is better (I'm assuming Walker and Wyatt play as expected). And their only loss is Sullivan? Wow.

I agree that Rodgers has never had a more uncertain group of WRs to work with. I hope at least one or two of these guys steps up as reliable wide outs. Watson should be able to replace MVS' production. No one replaces Adams production, and with Alexander signed, maybe they can find a good WR - but from where?

And thanks for the info on Jenkins. Agreed he'll likely start on PUP and start week 7 to save a roster spot. Question, if they put him on IR, Designated to Return, is there any difference as to when he could return (meaning earlier than 7 weeks)? I doubt it.

You mean as opposed to season ending IR ;)

I'm pretty sure that to be eligible to come off the IR the player has to be on the 53 man roster at the start of the season. If he is on the 53 then they could place him on IR once the season starts and he could potentially come back sooner than if he started the season on the PUP list. The upside is they could get him back sooner but the downside is he would take up a roster spot on the 53 to start the season.

If a player is placed on IR prior to the start of the season he is in fact done for the year. That my friend is a true season ending IR designation.

This is assuming no changes have been made to the IR rules. I know they made some special ones for Covid and I haven't heard of any changes.
 
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You mean as opposed to season ending IR ;)

I'm pretty sure that to be eligible to come off the IR the player has to be on the 53 man roster at the start of the season. If he is on the 53 then they could place him on IR once the season starts and he could potentially come back sooner than if he started the season on the PUP list. The upside is they could get him back sooner but the downside is he would take up a roster spot on the 53 to start the season.

If a player is placed on IR prior to the start of the season he is in fact done for the year. That my friend is a true season ending IR designation.

This is assuming no changes have been made to the IR rules. I know they made some special ones for Covid and I haven't heard of any changes.
I’ll never look at the term “Season-Ending” IR the same.

The rearing fear of retribution is too great!

I’ve got enough stress in my life (not really my feet are kicked up high and I’m just being melodramatic here)
The last thing I need is another improper and inappropriate IR designation just a hangin’ over my head. :eek:
 

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I agree that Rodgers has never had a more uncertain group of WRs to work with. I hope at least one or two of these guys steps up as reliable wide outs. Watson should be able to replace MVS' production. No one replaces Adams production, and with Alexander signed, maybe they can find a good WR - but from where?

Julio and Fuller currently seem to be the best free agent wide receivers available. It might be another option to evaluate the receiving corps in season and make a run at OBJ if deemed necessary.

I have no idea who might be available in a trade.

Watson and Watkins both have the speed to draw coverage by a safety that will hopefully open up space for Tonyan, Lazard and Jones. I don't see teams loading the box with a safety if Watkins and Watson can run deep routes. The speed at the WR position should help the run game and the underneath routes in the passing game.

I agree that if Watkins and Watson make enough plays downfield there's no way teams will be able to load the box. At this point that's still a question mark though.

I actually see the exact opposite. The Run sets up the Passing game. Let them load that Box and then get burned multiple times by our MVP QB.
Isn’t that the basic principle??

As mentioned above, opponents will only be able to put an extra defender in the box if the Packers deep passing game doesn't work.
 
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Julio and Fuller currently seem to be the best free agent wide receivers available. It might be another option to evaluate the receiving corps in season and make a run at OBJ if deemed necessary.

I have no idea who might be available in a trade.



I agree that if Watkins and Watson make enough plays downfield there's no way teams will be able to load the box. At this point that's still a question mark though.



As mentioned above, opponents will only be able to put an extra defender in the box if the Packers deep passing game doesn't work.
That’s typically how it has worked in the past. So Yes, that’s why you need that burner WR.
Yet while GB may have lost WR experience, they definitely didn’t lose speed overall in the WR room, they actually gained some.

Watkins, Watson and Doubs are all guys that will punish you if left unattended or with no help over the top. Rodgers doesn’t miss many throws and if he sees that Box formation he’s going to adjust and eventually burn you. All 3 guys we picked up are fully capable of shake n bake for 15+ Per over a good sample size.

In 2021, EQ not so much, Lazard not so much, even Adams is more leaning possession and used high volume targets. Expect slightly less volume (catches) targets but more gross (yards) per target.

In 2022, both Doubs and Watson and even Watkins are all 15+ Per catch type Wideouts. We had 1 guy that was a bonafide field stretcher in MVS. Now we have 3 options.
 
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captainWIMM

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That’s typically how it has worked in the past. So Yes, that’s why you need that burner WR.
Yet while GB may have lost WR experience, they definitely didn’t lose speed overall in the WR room, they actually gained some.

Watkins, Watson and Doubs are all guys that will punish you if left unattended or with no help over the top. Rodgers doesn’t miss many throws and if he sees that Box formation he’s going to adjust and eventually burn you. All 3 guys we picked up are fully capable of shake n bake for 15+ Per over a good sample size.

In 2021, EQ not so much, Lazard not so much, even Adams is more leaning possession and used high volume targets. Expect slightly less volume (catches) targets but more gross (yards) per target.

In 2022, both Doubs and Watson and even Watkins are all 15+ Per catch type Wideouts. We had 1 guy that was a bonafide field stretcher in MVS. Now we have 3 options.

It still remains to be seen if the receivers you mentioned will be able to use their speed to catch enough deep balls to prevent opponents from putting an extra defender in the box though.
 

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The interesting and undeniable thing about our WR room is their potential and styles which exist in it are perhaps the most ample we’ve had in years.

The concerning and undeniable thing about our WR room is their production/experience and abilities to stay on the field exist and are perhaps at a level we have never had going into a season.

Both of those items are true statements….which is why I’m sick of either side pretending the other doesn’t exist.

The styles of our WR and the type of guys we have are freaking awesome, IF they illustrate in the production column - which is a MASSIVE IF.

I’m apprehensively optimistic because we have mother freaking Aaron Rodgers behind center. Aaron has illustrated so many times he is that damn good and can make guys like Boykin, Janis or Allison type WRs look like studs at times. Between our RB targets and the weapons they are being seriously special, mix in ARs comfort guys in Cobb and Lazard (once he signs tender) I truly believe AR and MLF is gonna make this group produce and by the last quarter of the season will be hitting on mostly all cylinders I bet.
 
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The interesting and undeniable thing about our WR room is their potential and styles which exist in it are perhaps the most ample we’ve had in years.

The concerning and undeniable thing about our WR room is their production/experience and abilities to stay on the field exist and are perhaps at a level we have never had going into a season.

Both of those items are true statements….which is why I’m sick of either side pretending the other doesn’t exist.

The styles of our WR and the type of guys we have are freaking awesome, IF they illustrate in the production column - which is a MASSIVE IF.

I’m apprehensively optimistic because we have mother freaking Aaron Rodgers behind center. Aaron has illustrated so many times he is that damn good and can make guys like Boykin, Janis or Allison type WRs look like studs at times. Between our RB targets and the weapons they are being seriously special, mix in ARs comfort guys in Cobb and Lazard (once he signs tender) I truly believe AR and MLF is gonna make this group produce and by the last quarter of the season will be hitting on mostly all cylinders I bet.
Yeah. We’re definitely more projection than production. I agree.
While it’s super important to have high level targets, the other Key ingredients in the trifecta of our Receiving game is QB and the head HC/OC
The Packers score A+ in those 2 of those 3 categories.

Plus, Aaron will want to prove that he didn’t need OTA’s. We’ve got that going for us :tup:
 
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An underrated aspect of the passing game are guys that can get open in tight spaces in the red zone like Adams. Its great to have deep threats, but you need WR's with great separation due to their ability to win at the LOS and cut on a dime. Maybe Cobb can still play that role.
 

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An underrated aspect of the passing game are guys that can get open in tight spaces in the red zone like Adams. Its great to have deep threats, but you need WR's with great separation due to their ability to win at the LOS and cut on a dime. Maybe Cobb can still play that role.
Cobb, Deguara and honeslty Lewis on designed releases I say are the best three healthy atm of our TEs and WRs.

That said Watson and Doubs both have insanely quick first two steps - which when in tight is crucial. Are they finessed enough and have enough repore with AR for the timing to work we will see.

Watkins hasn’t sucked in the RZ in his career however mostly fades
 
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An underrated aspect of the passing game are guys that can get open in tight spaces in the red zone like Adams. Its great to have deep threats, but you need WR's with great separation due to their ability to win at the LOS and cut on a dime. Maybe Cobb can still play that role.
I think you underestimate our players.

Are you saying that Sammy Watkins, Samorie Touree, Romeo Doubs, Allen Lazard, Christian Watson or any other Receiver we keep can’t get separation?

I just watched a film study of Sammy Watkins the other night.
He has some of the better feet in the league. He’s also a very good route runner. That is also a strength of Samorie, he’s very nifty in double moves etc.. Now Watson? That young man will just smooth run right by you if you’re not an elite speed DB

my concern is will they run the right direction? :whistling:
 
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Until the players above consistently get separation in the red zone like Adams, its premature to think they can beat CB's in tight windows. Maybe they can, but Adams was exceptional at it. Cobb is good in the red zone and has had good TD production in his career to show for it. My take, is that Cobb will be numero uno in the red zone for AR until one of the other receivers proves he can separate in tight spaces to earn the ball from AR at the goal line.
 

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Until the players above consistently get separation in the red zone like Adams, its premature to think they can beat CB's in tight windows. Maybe they can, but Adams was exceptional at it. Cobb is good in the red zone and has had good TD production in his career to show for it. My take, is that Cobb will be numero uno in the red zone for AR until one of the other receivers proves he can separate in tight spaces to earn the ball from AR at the goal line.

While this is just a small slice of the picture of course, according to what stats I show for RZ and Lazard:

2020 - He was targeted 9 times, 8 receptions and 3 TDs
2021 - He was targeted 13 times, 5 receptions and 5 TDs

On 22 targets in the last two seasons, 8 TDs is nothing to laugh at honestly.
 

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Until the players above consistently get separation in the red zone like Adams, its premature to think they can beat CB's in tight windows. Maybe they can, but Adams was exceptional at it. Cobb is good in the red zone and has had good TD production in his career to show for it. My take, is that Cobb will be numero uno in the red zone for AR until one of the other receivers proves he can separate in tight spaces to earn the ball from AR at the goal line.
We seem to be drafting OL with good skills at run blocking. If they work out; I expect more TDs from the running game. And that would also help with receivers having a chance to get open.
 
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Until the players above consistently get separation in the red zone like Adams, its premature to think they can beat CB's in tight windows. Maybe they can, but Adams was exceptional at it. Cobb is good in the red zone and has had good TD production in his career to show for it. My take, is that Cobb will be numero uno in the red zone for AR until one of the other receivers proves he can separate in tight spaces to earn the ball from AR at the goal line.
Yeah we definitely do need to lean on his experience, particularly early in.

This years WR class was top heavy, but also a deep class and across the board, with the exception of QB
Part of that I read was due to a % of holdovers from College during Covid. I’m not sure if that’s true, but the 2022 draft seemed pretty thick with WR. I would say guys were going a full round later towards the end of Day 3 compared to an average WR draft. Just the fact that 6 WR were drafted before our selection? Has that ever happened? Is that a record? Idk

What I’m pretty confident in saying is that GB got 3 WR that in many drafts would’ve snuck in a Round earlier. This was true of nearly every drafting team and most position groups.
Watson is arguably a late 1st Rounder. Doubs is arguably a 3rd Rounder. Toure? An easy 6th Rd.

Last time we drafted 3 WR this wasn’t the case. Those players were slightly over drafted if anything. We saw that was very frustrating for Rodgers, his confidence in his WR group hit an all time Low. He had those guys abs a couple UDFA’s and an aging veteran and Adams hadn’t quite peaked. Moore didn’t even play 2 seasons with us. Moore and Doubs were in that same draft board range. Yet Moore struggled mightily with drops at Missouri, Doubs slight is more YAC concerns. I’ll take the latter. Also Doubs more calm, friendly demeanor is near the antithesis of Moore’s more grumpy personality. Doubs is “Mr. Hands” and ranked in that top 15% range of all college draft prospects for catches and drops.

Partly due to our recent draft history, it’s my opinion that our expectations are ultra-tempered. That’s approach is fine and even justified. That said, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that we get production from 1-2 Rookies this year.
 
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Probably being a bit generous. Cobb hasn't been a 1000yd receiver since 2014 (which I think probably *is* ancient history in NFL terms, lol). And he hasn't played a full season since 2015 (in which he was an 800yd receiver). And same's the case with Watkins, who hasn't topped 1000 yards since 2015 and hasn't played a full season except for his rookie year...

While it may be true that if you were to extrapolate their per-game averages out over a full season they'd be "1000yd receivers" I think that's a bit disingenuous (or at least some shaky logic IMO) given that these players simply do not play full seasons. Unless you are expecting both of them to play a full 16 games for the first time in 7+ years, I don't really think it's accurate to call them "1000yd receivers"....


(and FWIW Watkins' career average rec yards per game is 51.1, roughly 870 yards in a 17-game season assuming he is healthy for every game. Cobb's is 50.5 or ~860 yards in a 17 game season. Both of those seem like absolute best-case scenarios at this point.)
Yeah I'd be happy if Cobb put up 600 plus receiving yards and 4 or 5 TDs. IMO he's close to retiring. I'm not gonna go out on a limb for Watkins. I like what i've heard from him and think he has the ability to get over 1,000 yards and 7 to 10 TDs, but that's a big jump. If he listens to the coaches, listens to AR, he'll probably be fine. The wild card is injury, and that's hard to predict. I hate being a doubting Thomas here, but I gotta see it first.
 

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Tonyan was here with Adams over the last four seasons and I'm quite sure the Packers wouldn't have signed Watkins if Adams was still around.



It doesn't make a difference if the Packers passing game doesn't miss a beat in 2022. I'm not convinced that will happen though.



If the Packers stay healthy on defense the unit could definitely end up being a top five unit in the league.



The Packers weren't even close to being one of the most injured teams in the league last season.

There weren't a lot of individuals with injuries last year, but the injury bug aimed at the best players - Bakh, Jenkins, Tonyan, Meyers, Z, Alexander, I'm missing another one or two.

But hey, they still won 13 games. I credit MLF for that. He adjusts game plans as well as any HC in the NFL.
 

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As I do every year after the draft, I want to rank the various positions groups within the division to see where the Packers stack up.

Quarterback: The top two are pretty simple. The Packers have the two time reigning MVP, the Vikings have a good starting QB. But the last two are hard to stack-- you're weighing Goff's floor vs. Fields' ceiling. I went with Goff, but I would not argue either way. However, given how wretched Fields' supporting cast is, I don't think he will look better even if, in a vacuum, he is better.

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Lions
4. Bears

Running Back:
This is a really good position across the entire division. I like all four teams at this spot. But GB is #1 for me because both Jones and Dillon are very good, lead back quality players. Dalvin Cook might be better than either, but the Vikings' top 2 isn't on par. I gave the nod to the Bears because Montgomery is more established than Swift, but I don't think there's a big gap.

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Bears
4. Lions

Tight End:
If you look at the primary TE's across the board, it becomes clear who the top two teams are at this position. Hockenson is emerging as one of the premier players at tight end in the entire league, and he's a complete player. Quietly, Cole Kmet isn't that far behind him. On the bottom end, I gave the nod to GB over Minnesota because the Packers have decent role players at all three spots (Y, H, and F), though Minnesota could have a nice option in Irv Smith Jr. if he comes back healthy in 2022.

1. Lions
2. Bears
3. Packers
4. Vikings

Wide Receiver:
The Vikings easily deserve the top spot here with Jefferson being one of the league's elite young receivers in front of the still useful Adam Thielen and the emerging K.J. Osborn. The emergence of St. Brown in the slot for Detroit helps them a lot here, and they have built around him with Chark and now Jameson Williams. The Packers are #3 for two reasons, one lesser and one greater. The lesser: they have youth and potential on the roster, even if they don't have a ton of proven talent. The greater: the Bears have the worst receiving corps in football.

1. Vikings
2. Lions
3. Packers
4. Bears

Offensive Line:
It goes a little overlooked because the Lions are so bad, but they have a great offensive line. Left to right, Decker, Jackson, Ragnow, Vaitai, and Sewell are all proven quality. I love the Packers on the line too, but they are counting more on growth, whereas the Lions have guys who are a year or two ahead of their Packer counterparts. Minnesota has a huge range of outcomes on the line, depending on how well Darrisaw, Bradbury, and Ingram play. They could be above average or horrible. And the Bears have a small range of outcomes: horrible.

1. Lions
2. Packers
3. Vikings
4. Bears

Interior Defense Line:
Kenny Clark has needed help, and he got it. Jarran Reed is a useful veteran who will be better with fewer snaps, Dean Lowry is still capable as a rotational guy, and they're adding the draft's best interior rusher. The Vikings are respectable, able to field a good trio in Tomlinson, Phillips, and Watts. But the Lions and the Bears are both really weak here. Detroit has Brockers and then youngsters who aren't there yet, and the Bears have... no one.

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Lions
4. Bears

Edge Rusher:
Green Bay features a high quality starting duo of Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, and they will hope that backups like Garvin, Ramsey, and Enagbare can give them quality snaps as spell players. The Vikings are similar, though I would say with a step down in terms of certainty and ability seeing as how the healthy of Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter is an open question. The Lions could be making a move up this list in a hurry if rookies Hutchinson and Paschal hit. The Bears have an aging Robert Quinn and... ?

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Lions
4. Bears

Linebacker:
If Campbell is even in the neighborhood of the player he was in 2021, then adding Quay Walker could give GB the best duo in the NFL. The Vikings also have a nice group in Kendricks, Hicks, and rookie Asamoah, but Kendricks is starting to fade. The Bears have a high quality player here in Roquan Smith, but very little else (they should trade him). The Lions are nursing along young players who are still in over their heads.

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Bears
4. Lions

Cornerback:
Given that players take their biggest leaps between years 1 and 2, I think there's a good chance the Green Bay's top 3 at cornerback will be the best in the NFL. There's a steep drop-off after that. The Vikings have Dantzler, who is good, and they added Booth, Evans, and Chandon Sullivan. The Bears have a quality player in Jaylon Johnson and they added that cute ballerina to the lineup. The Lions are a mess at this position, largely because Okudah has not materialized, though they may have something in Oruwariye if he continues to progress.

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Bears
4. Lions

Safety:
This was a tough call at the top because I still think Harrison Smith is the single best safety in the division, but overall I think Amos-Savage is a better tandem in 2022 than Smith and a rookie Lewis Cine. The Bears could be decent here as they added Brisker, their best draft pick of the weekend, to the position along with the decent but overrated Eddie Jackson. The Lions aren't quite as messy here as at corner or linebacker, but they still aren't very talented.

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Bears
4. Lions

Overall (Lower is better):
If you think about this division from a broader perspective, this rings true. The Vikings still have a lot of quality pieces, but they're the same quality pieces that couldn't overtake the Packers previously, so they're probably stuck in the same purgatory of being a winning team that cusps between missing the playoffs and losing early in the playoffs. There's an outside chance that Pettine makes them worse than that even. The Lions are on the come, but there are still too many spots (QB, LB, CB, S) where they're really bad for them to compete at this point. And the Bears are in competition with Atlanta for the worst roster in the league. Don't be shocked if they win two games and pick #1 overall next year.

1. Packers: 15
2. Vikings: 22
3. Lions: 29
4. Bears: 34
Thanks Dantes. I know you put a lot of effort into this, and for the rest of us who are lazy (like me), this is educational.

One thing that really stands out is how horrible the Bears are on paper. I agree they should trade Roquan while they can get some decent draft capital for him. And two wins sounds about right. Was Allen Robinson a FA? Can't believe they let him walk.

The only position group I see as tough to rank is Edge rusher. The Packers have two veteran starters in P. Smith and Gary, but the Lions took the best edge guy in the draft, and the Vikings are typically well-coached and strong here. The Bears still have Smith and so will always be somewhat of a threat. I think younhave it right, but wouldn't be surprised if the Lions move up.

Looking ahead, I'd say the Lions are rebuilding in a smart way. Not trying to do too much at once. Next year will be a great year for QBs in the draft. If they can find Goff's replacement, they'll start to win more than they lose. As long as Rodgers stays in GB, they'll be the class of the division, again.

The Packers continue to be fortunate, playing in such a weak division. As long as Rodgers sticks around, along with this great D, I don't see that changing.

Something to think about, depending on how the draft falls, do the Packers take a QB if one falls to them? I've been clear that I don't think Love is the guy. I appreciate that others feel differently so no need to keep arguing the point. It's supposed to be a QB rich draft so who knows. There are very few position needs for the Packers, other than QB in a post-Rodgers world.
 

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