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Breaking Down the NFC North

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packers Fan Forum' started by Dantés, May 3, 2021.

  1. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    With the draft in the books, I would like to continue my annual tradition of breaking down the rosters of the Packers and their division rivals.

    Quarterback: Obviously the Packers' QB situation is in flux. For the purpose of this exercise, I am going to assume that Rodgers plays at least one more season for Green Bay. He would obviously be the tops in the division by a wide margin, and he has a high upside option behind him. The next in line is also clear, as Kirk Cousins is good without being elite. Deciding between the Bears and Lions for last is tricky, as Goff has a hard ceiling (and likely a lower one without McVay), but is much more experienced than Fields. I will give Goff the nod, but could see that flipping really quickly if Fields is a quick learner.
    1. Packers
    2. Vikings
    3. Lions
    4. Bears
    Running Back: This one is really close at the top, with both the Packers and the Vikings having strong lead backs, and really good options at RB2. After the season that he had last year, I will give the nod to the Vikings. Jones is superior to Cook in particular areas (e.g. receiving), but Cook's production with that workload is worthy of the top spot. Once again, it's a close call for last between the Bears and Lions. Montgomery is certainly the most established player between the two backfields, but I am going to give the nod to the Lions again here because of my confidence in De'Andre Swift.
    1. Vikings
    2. Packers
    3. Lions
    4. Bears
    Tight End: The best overall player at TE resides in Detroit (Hockenson), but the Packers have a nicer group as a whole, especially Tonyan as a pass catcher and Lewis as a run blocker. The Bears and Vikings are both in flux at the position, and both have a young, promising player at the position. Irv Smith is much more of a pass catcher, and a move blocker. Kmet is more of a true Y tight end, with receiving upside. I will give the nod to Chicago, as I like the more well-rounded potential of Kmet.
    1. Packers
    2. Lions
    3. Bears
    4. Vikings
    Wide Receiver: The way this one breaks down to me is relatively clear. The Packers have the best player at the position of any of the teams, but the Vikings combination of #1 and #2 is a lot stronger than any combo that Green Bay could offer. The Bears have a very good #1 in Allen Robinson and an interesting supporting player in Mooney. The Lions are definitely a clear #4, being in flux at the position.
    1. Vikings
    2. Packers
    3. Bears
    4. Lions
    Offensive Line: I think it's largely hidden by their otherwise inefficient offenses, but the Lions have a really nice group here. Decker and Ragnow are established, high end players. Jonah Jackson was a serviceable rookie who you would project takes a step in 2021. Sewell was the best OL in the class, and likely allows Crosby, a middling tackle, to move inside. Vaitai is overpaid, but certainly a high end player to be a swing tackle. I like their group. Behind them, I think the Packers are the next best group in terms of talent, and probably the best overall group in terms of execution because of the offense in which they play. The Bears would be #3 for me, especially after adding Teven Jenkins. The Vikings are certainly making the effort with Darrisaw, but they were so poor last year, and there are enough questions around him, that I will believe it when I see it.
    1. Lions
    2. Packers
    3. Bears
    4. Vikings
    Interior Defensive Line: This is a hard spot to call. The Bears have been the class of the division for some time. But they lost a lot of depth this offseason (Robertson-Harris, Urban) and Akiem Hick was definitely on the decline last year. With Eddie Goldman coming back from his opt out, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. But the Packers could overtake them, as Clark is the best iDL in the division, and they have some promise behind him in Keke. The Vikings have bizarrely invested big money in back to back seasons in players who are really limited beyond the running game (Pierce and Tomlinson). They should be reliable, but minimally impactful in the most important aspect of the game. In Detroit, after Brockers, the Lions will be largely reliant on rookies taking their lumps-- so I would expect a lot of growing pains.
    1. Bears
    2. Packers
    3. Vikings
    4. Lions
    Edge Rusher: There's a good case that Za'Darius is the best player at this position in the entire division, and he adds the value of working well inside, allowing the Packers to get extra rushers on the field. Gary took a step in year 2, and came on big down the stretch. He's poised to break out. Preston Smith disappointed after a big 2019, but he's a very good 3rd rusher. It's hard to pick between Minnesota and Chicago. Danielle Hunter is the best of the bunch, but the supporting cast isn't great. Khalil Mack isn't far behind him, and Robert Quinn is arguably a better 2nd option, but not by much. I will give the nod to Minnesota because of Hunter's ability. The Lions bring up the rear, as they have solid run defenders on the edge, but lack dangerous pass rushers.
    1. Packers
    2. Vikings
    3. Bears
    4. Lions
    Linebacker: The Vikings are a clear #1 here. Kendricks is the best player in the division, Barr is also quality, and they have some interesting depth (Dye, Surratt). The Bears have a quality young player in Roquan Smith, but Trevathan have dropped off. It's hard to make a call between the Packers and Lions. Both are young, inexperienced, and talent poor. Jamie Collins isn't what he used to be, but I will give Detroit the nod because of his presence.
    1. Vikings
    2. Bears
    3. Lions
    4. Packers
    Cornerback: Perhaps as much a testament to the poor quality of the position in the division as a nod to the Packers' talent, I think Green Bay is #1 here. Jaire is maybe the best corner in the league, let alone the NFCN. King and Sullivan aren't any great shakes, but they're supplemented by a 1st round pick. The Vikings shouldn't be quite as terrible as they were in 2020, with the additions of Peterson and Alexander, and the growth of Dantzler. However, Gladney has been a problem on and off the field, and Peterson has appeared to be washed up. The Lions are hard to call here, because they were horrid in 2020, but were also put in the worst position of any secondary in the league by their coaching. I think fans should be somewhat optimistic about their talent if placed in a different position. The Bears are in a bad way here. Jaylon Johnson was OK as a rookie, but they're now going to have to ask him to be the #1 guy and the rock of the secondary. Behind him, they have reclamation projects who have played poorly in recent seasons (Burns, Trufant).
    1. Packers
    2. Lions
    3. Vikings
    4. Bears
    Safety: This is another position where the Packers are an easy 1st place. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are both quality players. Harrison Smith is still a very good player at safety, and you could do worse than Xavier Woods next to him. Tashaun Gipson is a solid player, but Eddie Jackson is more name than game at this point. He's totally fallen off since he lost Amos. The Lions definitely bring up the rear, with poor veteran place holding while the new regime works on the roster.
    1. Packers
    2. Vikings
    3. Bears
    4. Lions
    Overall: The Packers have five 1st place finishes, the Vikings have three, and the Bears and Lions have one each. The average of the rankings:
    1. Packers: 1.7
    2. Vikings: 2.3
    3. Lions: 3.0
    4. Bears: 3.0
    Observations:
    • Green Bay has absolutely no excuse not to improve on defense. They easily have the best combination of talent when it comes to pass rushing and coverage, which are the key aspects of defense in 2021.
    • The Bears could totally fall apart on defense even as they show signs of life on offense. Mack and Quinn have totally disappointed as pass rushers, Hicks and Trevathan are on the decline, the return of Goldman minimally impacts the passing game, and the secondary is straight trash.
    • The Lions have a strong enough roster to play themselves out of a top 3 pick and ruin their shot at a top QB, which is a worst case scenario.
    • Despite all the bullshit about how the Packers are Rodgers and nothing else, they have the strongest roster in the division. If he doesn't play, they probably won't win the division. But if Love is solid, they would be competitive for it.
    Projected Finish:
    1. Packers: 12-5
    2. Vikings: 10-7
    3. Bears: 8-9
    4. Lions: 6-11
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
  2. gbgary

    gbgary Cheesehead

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    Packers didn't improve in free agency (due to cap issues) and the draft remains to be seen (but i liked it with depth, and maybe a soon to be starter or two, aquired). everyone else in the division DID improve though. as for the possibility of whether the Packers win the north or not depends on the quarterback position. will it be one more for Rodgers or not? if not can Love be, at the very least, competent (with more than competent being the hope)? i think either way the Packers win the north...but it could be a tighter race with Love. if it doesn't happen with Love, a pick in the top 15 wouldn't hurt our immediate future what so ever. a SB isn't happening in either scenario Rodgers or no. as for the order of finish for the other three...who really cares. if it's not the Packers it'll be min in my opinion.
     
  3. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    I am not really sold that the other teams definitively improved this offseason.

    The only place where I feel really confident saying that is in regards to the Vikings front, with Hunter and Pierce returning, and Tomlinson added.

    But in the main, I think teams made some gains and dealt with some losses. I generally think the Packers held serve.

    For instance, the Lions made a lot of positive changes, but they made a significant step backwards at the most important position.
     
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  4. Do7

    Do7 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't buy Minnesota having a better receiving corps than Green Bay.
     
  5. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    You could make the case to the contrary based on depth of targets beyond #1 and #2 (e.g. Lazard, Funchess, maybe Rodgers), but Thielen and Jefferson are such a strong combination at the top that it's hard to argue with them, especially when neither offense is using a lot of 3/4 WR sets. In trying to stay objective, I gave them the edge. Furthermore, with how good Jefferson was as a rookie, would it be a total shock if he was as good or better than Adams in 2021? If we don't think as Packer fans?
     
  6. Do7

    Do7 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Adams is top 5 arguably Top 3 in the league today. Jefferson would have to make some SERIOUS strides if was as good let alone better than Adams. Maybe in a few years possibly.
     
  7. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    The guy was 88/1400/7 in 14 starts in a lesser offense with a lesser QB. I don't think he's as far off as you're suggesting.

    And he didn't just feast in a couple match-ups either. In half of his starts, he was over 100 yards. In four more he had between 64 and 85 yards.

    And he was a rookie.

    I hate to say it, because he is a Viking, and I didn't like him pre-draft, but I stand by my original statement: there's a real chance he's comparable or Adams in 2021.
     
  8. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    Rodgers plays this year, then the Packers win the North. Love starts at QB, Vikings win the North. QB is by far the most important player on an NFL team and I just don't think Love is ready to play yet (otherwise I imagine he would have at least been active for games last year).
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    This is what I suspect as well. If Love were to play really well in his first season, it would be really competitive.
     
  10. XPack

    XPack Cheesehead

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    New coach. Players still getting used to scheme. We'll find something to screw up in D. Don't worry.
     
  11. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I highly doubt the Packers stand any chance of winning the North with Love starting at quarterback.

    While Adams is the best receiver in the division overall the Vikings have definitely more talent at the position.
     
  12. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    If we had to see a 2021 with Love at QB - I think I would place the over/under at 7.5 for our team. There is a lot to love about this roster on both sides of the ball, and all Love would have to do is have clean games to win some for sure.
     
  13. gbgary

    gbgary Cheesehead

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    you're free to "highly doubt" all you want. i get the feeling you'll be rooting against Love. in this system, with the team that they have, if Love is at least competent, they can win the north. will he be a step down from Rodgers? sure...but what's the harm? they're not winning a SB in 21 either way so why not fix the cap situation? why not be able to add talent to the team in 22? the cap explodes in 23. why not do all they can to put the best team possible around Love while he's cheap?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I think you're overvaluing the talent on the Packers roster.

    That's utter BS. I would definitely root for Love to succeed but the odds would be stacked against him in 2021.

    The Packers were possibly only one play going their way away from winning the Super Bowl last year. How can you be convinced they don't stand a chance to win it this year???

    In addition trading Rodgers doesn't improve the team's cap situation at all.
     
  15. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    Top WR in the game
    Top 10 worst case RB in the game with a #2 that appears SOLID
    Ascending TE and a veteran as well
    when back one of the best LT in the game
    one of the best guards in the game
    Top5/10 DL in Clark
    Z Smith is one of the most productive OLB in the game
    ascending Gary and solid Preston
    one of the best CBs in the game
    Couple of the better graded out Safeties as well...

    This roster is not a slouch by any means or stretch of the imagination.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  16. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I haven't said anything about the Packers not having any good players on the roster aside of Rodgers.

    Many other teams have that many talent at other positions aside of quarterback as well though.

    I would be surprised if the Packers end up winning more than 7.5 games starting Love next season.
     
  17. Sanguine camper

    Sanguine camper Cheesehead

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    The problem with the Packers roster is that once you get past the elite players. there are huge holes that are easy to exploit.
    1) D Line - After Clark, at best back up caliber players.
    2) Cb _ After Alexander its a mess. King was awful in the NFCCG.
    3) ILB - Can anybody cover a TE?
    4) WR2 - lack of production and dropped passes. Hopefully Amari steps in.
    5) OT, position is thin after Backtiari who will miss much of the season and Turner who is a converted guard. OT was a disaster in the NFCCG.
    6) After Crosby. Special Teams are a mess.

    Rodgers has been covering for the Packers roster. When he has been injured, the winning percentage went down to 6-12-1-About a 33 percent winning percentage. Even if Love is competent enough to be a game manager, with the Packers first place schedule. they are a 6 to 7 win team and that is if they are lucky enough to stay healthy. If injuries revert to the norm, the Packers are most likely a last place team without Rodgers.
     
  18. OldSchool101

    OldSchool101 Pack

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    Nice breakdown.

    I would take the combo of Jones/Dillon over Cook/Mattison. It’s close for now and it’s an excellent comparable but GB gets the edge. The only thing that really helps Cook is his usage. But Jones has just 197 less rushing yards but in 118 less carries.

    Their Passing stats are similar, but
    Jones has 6TD’s in 131 touches.
    Cook had 3TD’s in 148 touches.
    Favor: Packers

    Rushing
    Jones has 37TD’s in 651 touches
    Cook has 33TD’s in 759 touches.
    Favor: Packers

    Jones rushing 5.2/carry rec 8.1
    Cook rushing 4.8/carry rec 8.6
    Favor: Neutral


    Jones has 6 reg season fumbles (12% less attempts)
    Cook has 12 reg season fumbles (100% more on 12% more attempts)
    Favor: Packers

    Total output yardage:
    Favor Minnesota

    GB spent a 62nd overall and 5th rounder with active contracts $53mil invested and 18mil guaranteed

    MN invested a 41st overall and a 3rd rounder.
    with active contracts $65.5mil invested with 31.5 guaranteed
    Favor: Packers
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2021 at 1:34 PM
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    Well to be fair that is why you place the line at a reasonable spot. With Love the range of expectations would be broad and arguably unknown by anyone. I wouldn't be shocked either direction the team would go win 6 or win 10 honestly. Hence the self declared over/under at 7.5
     
  20. Sunshinepacker

    Sunshinepacker Cheesehead

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    I would be absolutely STUNNED if Jordan Love is the starter and the Packers win 10 games. This is not a team that's built to win despite the QB. The Packers won 13 games last season with the MVP at QB, I'm pretty sure the difference between the MVP and a second year QB is worth more than 3 games.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  21. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    Man you folks simply cannot read an entire post and context of it all....


    (Example, this post all you’ll see is “you cannot read”)
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  22. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    I think you could go either way with these two backfields.

    In my opinion, Cook and Jones are very close as players. Jones is a better route-runner, receiver, pass protector, and ball carrier.

    But the primary job of a running back is to run the ball, and Cook is the better runner. His explosion to and through the hole is special. And you can't fairly compare their YPC marks and call them neutral when Cook is carrying the ball 100+ more times.

    So while you might give Jones the edge in more areas, Cook's edge is in the most important area. Hence why I see them as very close as players.

    I would not think that what they've invested via draft capital and contracts would factor into this discussion.
     
  23. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    The Packers have a strong roster. If Jordan Love as a rookie could manage a 90-95 Passer Rating type of season (especially considering he might add some rush value), it's not absurd to think the Packers could manage 10 wins in a 17 game schedule.

    Their scoring differential could come down significantly, and they could still be in that neighborhood.

    There's zero guarantee that Love would offer that kind of season, but it's not a crazy idea either.
     
  24. OldSchool101

    OldSchool101 Pack

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    Really? I’m perplexed by this actually. So in what you and agree as the most important area as a runner, you think Jones having 651 touches over a 4 year span vs. Cook getting 769 touches in the exact number of starts is not an adequate sample size to judge their ability? I would take the RB who has 5.2 per carry and scores a TD every 17.6 touches and fumbled half as much (6)
    VS.
    a RB that has 4.8 per carry and that scores a TD every 23.3 touches? (Cook) and fumbled nearly twice as much (12)

    As you said they are both excellent, that’s not the argument I’m making. My argument is Jones is NOT inferior to Cook. I’ve seen that being tossed around a bunch and people have bought into it... but it’s not statistically accurate and I’m sticking up for A Jones. The man has been underestimated, especially by Vikings fans. They argued with me in this last year and Vikings fans wrote Jones off after Cooks fast start. Jones came back like a boomerang. He’s every bit as great a RB.

    Also, there’s a reason the Packers stepped up and signed a RB for 12mil per season. He’s an absolute monster. The Jones/Dillon duo is likely the best total RB package to ever suit up for Green Bay. We will see, but I think Dillon will be better than Lacy at his prime.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2021 at 7:02 PM
  25. Schultz

    Schultz Cheesehead

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    1. Haven't you read the Tonyan posts. Touchdowns are over rated.
    2. Put Cook in a backfield with Rodgers and Jones in a backfield with Cousins and the tie is easily broken.
     

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