The division Red hates most of all.
Vikings. What a start to last season with the Vikings coming out of the gate 5-0. Then cold hard reality (like a Minnesota winter) set in and the team went 3-8 to finish the season. But for the fast start an even season would have looked pretty good after losing Teddy Bridgewater to what may still prove to be a career-ending injury. With Sam Bradford at the helm and little help from the running backs, the Vikings probably did about as well as could be expected. Adding Latavius Murray and rookie Dalvin Cook will give SB some more tools and there have been improvement on the O-line, but this season will turn on the defense. Mark Zimmer had the unit humming last year – ranking 3rd in yards allowed and 6th in points allowed. They start the same basic unit this season with only Captain Munnerlyn and Chad Greenway gone. Just a little better play from up and coming players like Danielle Hunter, Tres Waynes and Eric Kendricks could make this the second or third best defense in the league. More turnovers and they are there. Red likes the Vikings chances in an overall down year for this divisions. Minnesota blows no one away but manages a title with a 11-5 record.
Packers. Packers needed six consecutive wins to end the season after a mealy 4-6 to claim the NFC North last season. But guess what – they still have Aaron Rodgers and a talented crew around him. That is, except for at tailback where the untested Ty Montgomery is stepping in. Opening with Seattle will be a reasonable test of the Pack and could set the tone for the first half of the season. But it doesn’t get any easier for the Packers as they also face the Falcons, Bengals, Cowboys, Vikings and possibly dangerous Saints before a favorable Week 8 bye. Expect a 4-3 record at the break. After that it is a bit easier. Packers are 10-6 and in as the Wildcard.
Lions. Matt Stafford is now the highest paid player in the history of the NFL? Does that make any kind of sense – even nonsense? No. Even with the HPPITHOTNFL, the Lions were drubbed in the playoffs by Seattle. This year no one gets the chance to drub the Lions in the playoffs. Detroit is an 9-7 team at best and while that got them a playoff beating last year – it won’t be good enough in 2017.
Bears. Red swears the Bears will not switch gears and stay in arrears (in wins) this year, so hear this, steer clear (if you hold your cash dear) of ever betting on the Bears – except to lose – Red fears. Sorry. Chicago 3-13.