Breaking Down the NFC North, 2024

El Guapo

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The Denny Green tirade of "letting em off the hook" is the ultimate emblematic representation of Viking frustration.
All great points. Of course, Denny was the coach of the Cardinals when he made this amazing quote, but you're right that it was emblematic of the Vikings.

I'll also say that Denny was right. Chicago was a fraud (at that point in the season) and the Cardinals did let them off the hook. That game helped catapult them to the Super Bowl.
 

AmishMafia

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All great points. Of course, Denny was the coach of the Cardinals when he made this amazing quote, but you're right that it was emblematic of the Vikings.

I'll also say that Denny was right. Chicago was a fraud (at that point in the season) and the Cardinals did let them off the hook. That game helped catapult them to the Super Bowl.
You're right! Damn, I'm getting old.
 
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The Vikings have a tough schedule through Week 8 (@ the Rams) and then it gets much easier, so I'll stick with my prediction that they would try to start McCarthy versus the Colts. It's followed by three road games but those are against the Jaguars, Titans, and Bears - all good games for a rookie QB.

Vikings Schedule
at NY Giants
vs San Francisco
vs Houston
at Green Bay
vs NY Jets
BYE
vs Detroit
at Los Angeles
vs Indianapolis
at Jacksonville
at Tennessee
at Chicago
vs Arizona
vs Atlanta
vs Chicago
at Seattle
vs Green Bay
at Detroit
I see a 2-3 start for MN there before the BYE. They could go 3-2 over the next 5 to get to 5-5. That’s optimistic but realistic. I just don’t see a scenario where MN doesn’t lose at minimum 7 contests, which means they will not win the division. Vikes could be a team “in the hunt “ late in the season. Their issue will be finishing against GB and at Detroit. I think they get eliminated by us before the Detroit contest and that’s being optimistic. Kirk Cousins is better (singularly impactful) than anyone on the MN roster until proven otherwise and he’s gone.
Just my opinion.
 
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The Bears are most improved. Not too surprising when you own their draft capital.
Bringing in Keenan and Odunze as receivers
It’s hard to imagine a world where Caleb is a downgrade from Justin Fields. But I could see a possibility where he struggles some as a Rookie.

The addition of Montez Sweat is their best D addition. Sweat is a MONSTER at TFL at an elite level and general disruptor whenever on that field. Upgrade at QB upgrade at WR. Upgrade at Edge and slight upgrade at RB.

The Bears benefit from a very mediocre schedule. They really don’t play any stretches of tough ball until that last stretch with us TWICE Detroit, SF, etc. I could see a world where IF Caleb looks good, they are in that 9-8 10-7 area.

I can see why many are saying the NFC North took a serious step up as far as Divisional strength. Any 3 of the 4 teams could compete for Postseadon. Again it all rests on how fast Caleb acclimates
 
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GB was already good last season. Adding 9 players from Power 5 schools and 6 inside the first #111 overall? 3 from SEC and 4 from PAC-12 and then upgrading to Jacobs at RB? Then acquiring an upgrade at Safety (Savage to McKinney). Another outlier is Stokes as he could be a nice addition if he stays healthy. Then factor our historically young Offense gaining another year experience together? It just spells we are better. Now that’s internal stuff, other teams get better some got worse.

We have to scan our Division and League. A factor to be applied is our schedule is much tougher than 2023 though. Also the Bears are a relative unknown. They have a good Run D and added a superior pass Rusher. Still skeptical at Pass D though. Their Receiving core got a substantial upgrade. Much of the 2024 Bears will rest on the speed at which Caleb Williams adapts.
 
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The Lions went after their obvious weakness..Pass Defense. They ranked tied at #30 overall in Net yards/pass. They also sucked in several other Passing Defense categories (29th Pass TD’s; 27th Pass Yards allowed) Built similar to Chicago they excelled stopping the Run, but suffered in the D Passing game as a result.

THE FIX. Bolster the DB room.
Bolster they did by trading up to #14 overall, CB Terrion Arnold. Then followed in suit with #61 overall, Ennis Rakestraw. They tripled down (similar to GB) to fix this with star all-around athlete, DB/RB Sione Vaki at #132 overall. Throwing a 1st/2nd/4th to upgrade their secondary.
It was clear what their mission was. Secure the DB room (3 draft picks) and then bolster their OL (2 picks).

They then turned focus intently by trading their 2025 3rd Rounder to grab British Columbia’s Giovanni Manu in Round 4. Known as “Baby Shaq” in HS Basketball. He stands 6’7” and 350lb. But make no mistake he ran a 5.06 (85th % 40 time) and jumped 33”. He’s got that Nijman athleticism for a Large man. So it’s a hefty price for a hefty player, who by many accounts was rated a late Day3 to priority undrafted prospect. Still going to be hard to run through 350 with length and quickness, so I get it.

I don’t see Detroit as a regression team. Pretty good chance 2024 has GB and Detroit at the forefront once again. The outlier that makes it difficult to determine if the Packers improve markedly on their 9-8 record is our schedule and our division. Both will bring a higher grade of competition and exceeding our 9-8 mark would imply we are much improved, even if only at 10-7 etc. Anything beyond a 10-7 finish would imply we’ve had substantial improvement imo.
 
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AmishMafia

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The Lions went after their obvious weakness..Pass Defense. They ranked tied at #30 overall in Net yards/pass. They also sucked in several other Passing Defense categories (29th Pass TD’s; 27th Pass Yards allowed) Built similar to Chicago they excelled stopping the Run, but suffered in the D Passing game as a result.

THE FIX. Bolster the DB room.
Bolster they did by trading up to #14 overall, CB Terrion Arnold. Then followed in suit with #61 overall, Ennis Rakestraw. They tripled down (similar to GB) to fix this with star all-around athlete, DB/RB Sione Vaki at #132 overall. Throwing a 1st/2nd/4th to upgrade their secondary.
It was clear what their mission was. Secure the DB room (3 draft picks) and then bolster their OL (2 picks).

They then turned focus intently by trading their 2025 3rd Rounder to grab British Columbia’s Giovanni Manu in Round 4. Known as “Baby Shaq” in HS Basketball. He stands 6’7” and 350lb. But make no mistake he ran a 5.06 (85th % 40 time) and jumped 33”. He’s got that Nijman athleticism for a Large man. So it’s a hefty price for a hefty player, who by many accounts was rated a late Day3 to priority undrafted prospect. Still going to be hard to run through 350 with length and quickness, so I get it.

I don’t see Detroit as a regression team. Pretty good chance 2024 has GB and Detroit at the forefront once again. The outlier that makes it difficult to determine if the Packers improve markedly on their 9-8 record is our schedule and our division. Both will bring a higher grade of competition and exceeding our 9-8 mark would imply we are much improved, even if only at 10-7 etc. Anything beyond a 10-7 finish would imply we’ve had substantial improvement imo.
I'm not a believer in Goff. I think he is only capable of so much. He is surrounded by talent, though, and he gets the job done.

I like Campbell, but he sure has made some poor coaching decisions. I suspect he will learn from his mistakes but am hoping he is just stubborn enough to stick to his methods.

Detroit seems to have vastly improved their scouting staff and player selection process. The days of Matt Millen are long gone. Saw an article on top players under 25 and the Lions had,

#1 Sewel
#6 Hutchinson
#11 St. Brown
#19 LaPorta
#21 Gibbs

There were no Packers. Xavier McKinney maybe should have made the list.

Nobody I can argue with the Lions list, but Gibbs has to be borderline. Likely to be a Lions fan who compiled the list.
 

sschind

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I'm not a believer in Goff. I think he is only capable of so much. He is surrounded by talent, though, and he gets the job done.

I like Campbell, but he sure has made some poor coaching decisions. I suspect he will learn from his mistakes but am hoping he is just stubborn enough to stick to his methods.

Detroit seems to have vastly improved their scouting staff and player selection process. The days of Matt Millen are long gone. Saw an article on top players under 25 and the Lions had,

#1 Sewel
#6 Hutchinson
#11 St. Brown
#19 LaPorta
#21 Gibbs

There were no Packers. Xavier McKinney maybe should have made the list.

Nobody I can argue with the Lions list, but Gibbs has to be borderline. Likely to be a Lions fan who compiled the list.
As far as the QB situation goes I lean in Love's favor over Goff. Given Love's relative inexperience so far I would hesitate to rank him much above Goff at this time but I do think they are at least equals. What tips the scales in Love's favor to me though is I think there is a lot of room for Love to get much better and really soon, as in 2024. With Goff what you have is pretty much all you are ever going to get.

The Lions may have more top level guys but I think the Packers have more just below that level with the potential to rise type guys. The Lions have St. Brown but I think the packers have at least 3 guys with the potential to surpass him. I'm sure not all of them will but I'll take our group over the Lions although Williams is a huge wild card for the Lions. if he ever develops they will be tough to beat. I think part of St. Brown's success was that they really had no other WRs to take targets away from him. Remember when some people were saying the Packers messed up when their ex WR went off for a few games for the Eagles? Again, someone has to be the number 1. I'm not saying St Brown is in that category but when you are the only guy your stats tend to get padded.

La Porta had a great rookie season but if Kraft or Musgrave had been healthy all year and didn't have each other taking targets away would either of them been very far behind. I don't think so and honestly, right now, I'd rather have our guys than LaPorta.

Sewel and Hutchinson are elite and in their case I don't think we really compare on an individual basis. I don't think we have anyone at their level.

Gibbs also had a great rookie year but Jacobs just missed the cutoff at 26 and I don't think I would put Gibbs over him.

Part of the problem with having a bunch of guys on the best under 25 list is that you don't always have a lot of information to go on. Sewel has 3 years, Hutchinson 2 and St. Brown 3 and they have played at high levels so far but as we all know the Packers had the youngest team in the league last year and probably will again this year. Many of our guys only have 1 or 2 years behind them give them 1 or 2 more and I'll bet a few of them crack that list.
 
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Sewel and Hutchinson are elite and in their case I don't think we really compare on an individual basis. I don't think we have anyone at their level.
They are both excellent. Gary has the potential to be there if he has a good year. Also we are now going into Van Ness’ Sophomore season, I’d expect him to make the most likely jump here.
Karl Brooks looked pretty solid for a Rookie also. I think our potential is there but it’s just that until Hafley utilizes them properly.
Gibbs also had a great rookie year but Jacobs just missed the cutoff at 26 and I don't think I would put Gibbs over him.
We know Jacobs had 1 down year. Yet he’s a 2 time Probowler and 1 time All Pro. Pretty hard to argue a RB who has never cracked 1000 yards (not saying he won’t) just automatically gets the nod. Id give Jacobs the edge because of his track record imo. Any RB can have a tough year, but Jacobs has had a fantastic career already. He was #3 on the Raiders all time and he’s nowhere near done.
Many of our guys only have 1 or 2 years behind them give them 1 or 2 more and I'll bet a few of them crack that list.
I agree. I think we have more young talent (particularly on O) poised to rise up. The math doesn’t lie. I’m near positive that Musgrave will double last years production. That kid oozes talent he runs like 6’3 225lb WR but at 6’6” 250lb. He’s a total mismatch for 75% of the D secondary.
 

Krabs

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They are both excellent. Gary has the potential to be there if he has a good year. Also we are now going into Van Ness’ Sophomore season, I’d expect him to make the most likely jump here.
Karl Brooks looked pretty solid for a Rookie also. I think our potential is there but it’s just that until Hafley utilizes them properly.
At this point I think Gary has reached his potential. I would say he is a solid starter with streaks of being above average. I don't treat PFF as the football bible, but it's a good source of information. He didn't crack their top 20 for linebackers in 2023. They rank him as 80 for a grade. He had a total of 17 solo tackles, which puts him at 72nd in that category. He had 10 sacks and that puts him at 22nd. Hutchinson graded out at a 91 overall. He had 30 solo tackles and 11 sacks. He's younger and I believe he also gets more attention from the oline in terms of blockers. I don't think Gary will ever be that. I'm not saying Gary is horrible. Just in terms of comparison it is not there. Now, I do think Van Ness can get close to that level. He played less snaps than Gary but still had 23 solo tackles and 5 sacks.
We know Jacobs had 1 down year. Yet he’s a 2 time Probowler and 1 time All Pro. Pretty hard to argue a RB who has never cracked 1000 yards (not saying he won’t) just automatically gets the nod. Id give Jacobs the edge because of his track record imo. Any RB can have a tough year, but Jacobs has had a fantastic career already. He was #3 on the Raiders all time and he’s nowhere near done.
I'm in agreement. The Lions might have a better 1-2 punch, but Jacobs is better. Lloyd is a wildcard at the present time. We might be able to pass them up this season has having the best duo on the North.
I agree. I think we have more young talent (particularly on O) poised to rise up. The math doesn’t lie. I’m near positive that Musgrave will double last years production. That kid oozes talent he runs like 6’3 225lb WR but at 6’6” 250lb. He’s a total mismatch for 75% of the D secondary.
Love him!
 

Calebs Revenge

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All great points. Of course, Denny was the coach of the Cardinals when he made this amazing quote, but you're right that it was emblematic of the Vikings.

I'll also say that Denny was right. Chicago was a fraud (at that point in the season) and the Cardinals did let them off the hook. That game helped catapult them to the Super Bowl.
No fraud team beats N.O. the way we did. We lost the Super Bowl bc of Rex Grossman’s woman sized hands and he couldn’t grip the ball when it started to rain. We were winning till it rained. Took away our speed advantage.
The next reason we lost was M. Mohammed throwing a tantrum on Grossmans pick instead of tackling the defender and then let him return it for a TD. I don’t like that man.
 

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