The Green Bay Packers have been a consistent force in the NFC North since the turn of the century. Their competition in the division has been a revolving door of the remaining three teams. Early on it was the Minnesota Vikings. Then the Chicago Bears and their defense gave the Packers a run for their money. Even the Detroit Lions had their chance at the division crown. As we near the start of the 2018 season, it looks as if things have come full circle.
The Bears have been the bottom feeders of the NFC North for the past few seasons. After finally moving on from Jay Cutler, Mitchell Trubisky now commands the Bears offense for his second season. Trubisky showed promise after taking over for Mike Glennon, which was helped by the running game with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. The Bears are still a couple years away from being legit contenders. But their arrow is certainly pointing in the right direction.
The Lions were once in the Bears’ shoes. Years and years of mediocrity came to an end when the Lions finally made the playoffs in 2011. That playoff appearance looked to be the springboard to a new Lions era. However, the Lions have failed to win any of their three playoff games. With the Bears in rebuilding mode, and the Vikings Super Bowl contenders, that leaves the Lions somewhere in the middle.
Speaking of the Vikings, they remain the biggest threat to the Packers. After going 13-3 and losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game, the Vikings moved on from quarterback Case Keenum and invested their future in Kirk Cousins. While the signing of Cousins certainly puts a target on the Vikings, last season’s first matchup gives the Packers all the motive they need. Anthony Barr’s hit on Aaron Rodgers all but ended the Packers season. It’s safe to say this rivalry will go down to the very end of the season.