There are less than 72 hours to the beginning of the 2019 National Football League season, and no one is more excited than your friends at Gildshire. How excited are we? A fishing buddy told us he needed some tackle and we knocked him into next week. We hate it when things like that happen, but they do happen when the NFL season comes into view. Today, we continue our eight-part series with questions facing the teams in the NFC North. It’s a division that has been dominated of late by Green bay. But, the Pack didn’t attack last year, missing the playoffs. Can the reigning division-champ Chicago Bears repeat? Let’s ask the questions and watch for the answers together.
Chicago Bears, last season 12-4, lost in the Wild Card round.
The Bears lived a charmed existence last year. At least they did after Aaron Rodgers brought his team (and himself) back from the dead on Opening Night. Relying on a tough defense, the Bears captured the division, only to suffer a disappointing one-point loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the playoff’s opening weekend. Can they overcome the loss of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and play tough defensive football. Also, can quarterback Mitch Trubiskyt become a more accurate thrower.
Detroit Lions, last season 6-10. Missed playoffs.
“Missed playoffs.” Lions’ Head Coach Matt Patricia never heard those words when he was Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator at New England. Alas, turning the Detroit team into a contender turned out to be a difficult challenge for the first-year helmsman. Will the iring of veteran offensive coordinator Darren Bevell be the answer? New receivers T.J. Hockenson and Danny Amendola will help Bevell succeed if he does.
Green Bay Packers, last season 6-9-1. Missed playoffs.
How the mighty hath fallen. The steep nosedive taken by the 2018/19 Packers brought about the firing of long-time Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Enter, Matt LaFleur on Jan. 19. Fresh from Nashville, where he was the Titans’ offensive coordinator, LaFleur hopes to refresh Aaron Rodgers’ career and help him back to elite status as a playoff quarterback. Frankly, how the new Head Coach gets along with his quarterback is the biggest question facing this team. Rodgers, who can be fractious at times, can be a handful for a coach who likes to be in charge of his own offense.
Minnesota Vikings, last season 8-7-1. Missed playoffs.
Before last season, the Vikings gave a zillon dollars to Kirk Cousins, with the charge to “do better.” That was a tall task as the Vikings were a Hail Mary pass from playing in the NFC Championship in 2017. In year one of his deal, Cousins did not do better. This is a win/loss league, and Vikings’ fans expect more of the former from their high-priced signal-caller. “Now, he’s comfortable,” say loyal fans. He had better be, says Gildshire.
That’s our preview of the questions facing the teams in the NFC North. Watch us this week, as we complete the series just in time for the regular-season opener. Who plays the first game? Why, the Packer and Bears, of course. What’s better than a first-game bloodbath from Soldier Field in Chicago?