We’re still nearly two months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. Earlier this summer, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.
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As the 2015 season inches closer, we’re examining each NFL division, asking you which team you expect to finish atop the East, North, South, and West. Having already taken a closer look at the East divisions and the AFC North, we’re shifting our focus to the NFC North, where there’s one clear favorite up in Green Bay.
As long as Aaron Rodgers is at the helm, the Packers figure to be the perennial favorites in the division, especially if the club can continue locking up its key players to affordable deals, like it did this offseason with wide receiver Randall Cobb and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. Green Bay wasn’t active on the trade market and didn’t bring in any notable outside free agents, but the team still heads into the 2015 season as the frontrunner in the North.
Still, it won’t be a cakewalk for the Packers. The Lions nearly took the division crown in 2014, and despite the loss of Ndamukong Suh, Detroit should field a solid team again this year. The Bears were one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments last season, and will look to rebound under new head coach John Fox in 2015. It remains to be seen if Fox and new offensive coordinator Adam Gase can have anywhere near the success in Chicago with Jay Cutler that they did in Denver with Peyton Manning, but the duo looks like an upgrade over former head coach Marc Trestman and OC Aaron Kromer.
Finally, the Vikings are a popular early dark horse pick in the NFC, with Teddy Bridgewater heading into his second season, Adrian Peterson returning to the field, and young linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks looking to help lead an underrated defense. Minnesota isn’t viewed as a probable playoff team at this point, but there’s plenty to like about Mike Zimmer‘s squad.
What do you think? Do any of the Packers’ three division rivals have a shot to take the division from Green Bay in 2015? Who do you expect to win the NFC North? Let us know in the comment section below!