In the last installment of the 2023 NFL Win-Loss Projection: AFC South you got an in-depth look at where each of those teams would finish the season and why, along with some key games on their respective schedules. Today we’re going to start in the NFC and project where each team in the “Black and Blue” division will finish in the Win/Loss columns for 2023. The bigger stories that impacted the NFC North this offseason included the drawn-out Aaron Rodgers saga to the Jets, and Dalvin Cook being released by the Minnesota Vikings. Along with that was the stockpile of draft picks and players that the Chicago Bears got from the Carolina Panthers for trading away the #1 pick in the draft. Then there were the Lions who traded running back D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles and draft the second-highest rated RB in the draft, Jahmyr Gibbs. Let’s see where they finish in 2023.
Detroit Lions: 10-7
The Lions have NEVER won the NFC North…until this year! They finished 9-8 last season, so it isn’t a huge leap for them to win just one more game. They had one of the best drafts this year grabbing four guys in the first two rounds that ALL could have gone in the first round. RB, Jahmyr Gibbs at #12, MLB Jack Campbell at #18, TE Sam LaPorta at #34, and S Brian Branch at #45. The Lions Bye week is also right in the middle of the season, during Week 9. If Jared Goff is as good as he was last year, they win the NFC North easily. Notable Wins: Home opener vs. Seattle and coming off their Bye Week AT the LA Chargers. Notable Losses: At Baltimore in Week 7 and at New Orleans during Week 13.
Chicago Bears: 8-9
This is one of the biggest leaps up a division this season, HOWEVER, it’s not about them getting that much better. Look at their Home Schedule! Denver, Las Vegas, Carolina, Atlanta, Arizona…plus the Packers, Bears and Vikings at home. This has go to be the easiest home schedule of any team in the NFL. They should win every one of those games, which gives them 8 wins, and division rival Minnesota is slowly imploding. It’s just too easy; even for the lowly, pathetic Bears. Notable Wins: At home vs. the Broncos in Week 4 and at home vs. the Falcons during Week 17. Notable Losses: Back-to-back losses in Weeks 8 and 9 at the LA Chargers and at New Orleans.
Minnesota Vikings: 7-10
Even though Minnesota was 13-4 last season, they were outscored by their opponents 427-424. They won A LOT of close games, while having one of the worst running games and defenses in the league; 31st in yards given up and 30th in points allowed. They didn’t get better in the offseason either. They released LB Eric Kendricks, WR Adam Thielen and RB Dalvin Cook, and traded LB Za’Darius Smith. Bye, Minnesota. Your ship has sailed.
Notable Wins: At home vs. Tampa Bay in their home opener, and at Carolina in Week 4. Notable Losses: Vs. The Chiefs in Week 5, and against the 49ers in Week 7.
Green Bay Packers: 4-13
The Packers were 8-9 last year with a 4-Time MVP (with two of those being in the last three years) quarterback Aaron Rogers and some decent WRs.
Now they have Jordan Love, and some other WRs that are forgettable at best…besides Christian Watson that is. I can see why Green Bay was holding out for more in the Rogers trade with the New York Jets, because they hardly have anything to work with this season. Green Bay hasn’t finished last in the division since 2005. Welcome back! Not only does the Packers have an early Bye Week (Week 6), but their schedule is tough. New Orleans, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, the Chargers, the Chiefs, and the Giants. Damn! Notable Wins: At Lambeau against the Vikings in Week 8, and vs. Tampa Bay in Week 15. Notable Losses: At Pittsburgh during Week 10, and KC at Lambeau (ouch) in Week 13.
This is the FIFTH of an eight part series that will cover each of the NFL divisions. Please continue to come back to find out who will be winning each division this year, making the playoffs and eventually getting to the Super Bowl. Next up is the NFC South with the Saints, Falcons, Buccaneers and Panthers. Will it be back-to-back division titles for the Bucs, or have the Saints added enough weapons to take over? How will the #1 draft pick, Bryce Young do in his rookie campaign? Is Desmond Ridder the real deal with all those weapons? When I’m finished covering each NFC division, we’ll get into the post season. That way you’ll know if you should even bother to watch football this year. Thanks for the “read”!