Predicting NFC North standings after 2024 NFL schedule release

Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp
Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

It's a much better time be watching the NFC North than actually playing in it.

The Lions are in the heart of their Super Bowl window, and it wouldn't be at all surprising to see them back in the NFC Championship game next season. The Bears got the biggest makeover of any team in the NFL this offseason, and now have one of the best quarterback prospects in the last decade throwing passes to arguably the deepest wide receiver group in football. The Vikings are a couple years behind the rest of the pack, but still have the pieces to make up the ground quickly. And the Packers' mysterious witch magic has once again paid off with what looks like a third straight All-Pro caliber franchise QB surrounded by the league's youngest roster.

So who's coming out on top this year? We'll tell you! The moment of truth, the very reason you clicked, is finally here.

NFC North predictions after schedule release: Somehow, the Packers have returned



1. Green Bay Packers


2. Detroit Lions


3. Chicago Bears


4. Minnesota Vikings


1. Green Bay Packers (11-6)

I don't like it either. But the Packers have the coach, the QB, and the roster in place. And they're all, like, 23 years old. Jordan Love established himself as a Top 10 QB this past season, and throwing to a trio of Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Christian Watson certainly helps. Their offensive line could use some work, but Josh Jacobs will be an improvement and gives them some backfield versatility that they were missing last year. They're not going to be the world beaters that they were during the height of the Aaron Rodgers years – at least not yet – but they seem like the only team ready to pounce on the expected Lions' regression.

2. Detroit Lions (10-7)

At this point, all the talk about the impending step back in Detroit this year makes the Lions start to somehow seem underrated, which they'll surely love. They're really riding with Jared Goff, which definitely won't come back to bite them at any point in the next three or four years. Their offense will still be great – according to Pro Football Focus, the worst starting lineman the Lions have is still the 15th-best at his position; the other four are all Top 5. I certainly wouldn't want to rely on Goff to win some late-season divisional road games, but it's not like losing a couple guys made them noticeably worse.

3. Chicago Bears (9-8)

Third place, on the surface, does feel like a bit of a bummer for the first year of the Caleb Williams era. But that's life in the NFC North – the good news is that the Bears finally have the infrastructure in place, but the bad news is that so does every other team in the division. There figures to be at least a few weeks of growing pains, which will be especially annoying to deal with now that everyone thinks their team could be the next 2023 Houston Texans. The Bears are going to be good eventually. Just keep repeating that.

4. Minnesota Vikings (5-12)

Someone's gotta lose NFC North games. Maybe JJ McCarthy proves literally everyone besides Jim Harbaugh wrong and the Vikings are immediate contenders, but this season feels destined (/cursed) to feature anywhere between 6-8 Sam Darnold starts. There's obviously pressure to figure it all out before their star players decide they want to go play for either the Rams or the Dolphins, but no one's going to be surprised by an underwhelming season this year.

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