The NFC North sent two teams to the playoffs for the third consecutive year, but none made it to the big game. Despite not winning a Super Bowl or even making one in these last three years, this is still a good division that shouldn’t be slept on, especially with the best quarterback on the planet always lurking.
The Vikings collapsed after a hot start; the Bears are in rebuild mode and finally got rid of Jay Cutler; the Lions were in control of the NFC North for most of the year, but inevitably collapsed when it mattered most; and the Packers made a crazy second-half push to make it all the way to the NFC Championship game before losing to the Falcons.
Let’s take a look at some of the bigger needs for each team heading into 2017.
Green Bay Packers (10-6 last year)
- The Packers’ secondary got exploited all season, albeit they dealt with some tough injuries. Nonetheless, the Packers need to shore up their secondary and get some reliable players back here.
- The Packers will be without Eddie Lacy next year, but that may not be a terrible thing; they need a new face back there to carry the load. Once Lacy went down with an injury last season, their backfield was a mess, featuring a wide receiver as their #1 back.
- They re-signed Christine Michael, but they need him to be the #2 back. I think the Packers will sign a big running back (A. Peterson?), or draft one in the first few rounds of the draft.
Other Needs: Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Guard
Detroit Lions (9-7 last year)
- The Lions never really replaced Ndamukong Suh or Nick Fairley, and it’s been apparent on Sundays. They need help on defense, and it all starts in the trenches.
- With DeAndre Levy gone, the Lions desperately need some help behind their defensive line.
- Ameer Abdullah should be healthy next year, but I think the Lions still need a reliable, #1 running back.
Other Needs: Cornerback, D-end
Minnesota Vikings (8-8 last year)
- People love to blame quarterback play, but I didn’t think Sam Bradford was the problem in MINN last year. He, like any other QB, needs time to sit in the pocket and make better decisions. Their first priority needs to be the offensive line so they can get back to running the football first and passing second.
- With Chad Greenway retiring, the Vikings need to replace him at linebacker.
Other needs: Secondary, D tackle, WR/RB depth
Chicago Bears (3-13 last year)
- The Jay Cutler era is finally over, and the Bears are giving a go with Mike Glennon. They can still sign a guy in the draft to develop in case Glennon doesn’t work out.
- The Bears need to address their line, especially at the tackle positions.
- With Alshon Jeffery gone, the Bears need to draft a #1 receiver for their new quarterback.
Other Needs: Defensive line, Punter/Kicker