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NFC North: Packers show Aaron Rodgers no Love

Minnesota Vikings


ADDITIONS: DE Yannick Ngakoue, WR Tajae Sharpe

SUBTRACTIONS: WR Stefon Diggs, DT Linval Joseph, DE Everson Griffen, CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Trae Waynes, WR Laquon Treadwell, DE Stephen Weatherly, CB Mackensie Alexander, S Jayron Kearse

OUTLOOK: The Vikings underwent significant turnover for a team that won 10 games. The defense, one of the best in the league, was particularly hit hard by the defections. Offensively, Diggs was traded and essentially replaced with first-round pick Justin Jefferson. Perhaps the biggest loss to that unit was coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who left to run the show in Cleveland. Despite that, Mike Zimmer will see to it that the Vikings continue to rely on a run-heavy offense that showcases star running back Dalvin Cook. On defense, the Vikings got a whole lot younger at cornerback. If that gamble pays off, they should be right in the mix once again and will be helped significantly by the acquisition of an elite pass-rusher like Ngakoue late in training camp

PREDICTED FINISH: First place, 10-6

Green Bay Packers


ADDITIONS: LB Christian Kirksey, OT Rick Wagner, QB Jordan Love (draft), RB A.J. Dillon (draft)

SUBTRACTIONS: OT Bryan Bulaga, LB Blake Martinez, LB Kyler Fackrell, TE Jimmy Graham, WR Geronimo Allison

OUTLOOK: The Packers stunned just about everyone last year by putting up a 13-3 mark before losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. A successful season like that at this point in a Hall of Fame quarterback’s career would typically call for a team to add a couple players around him and try to take advantage of the closing window. Instead, the Packers drafted Jordan Love, Aaron Rodgers’ heir-apparent, in the first round. The fact the organization made the move instead of shoring up the offensive line, getting Rodgers a receiver or even trying to patch up a leaky run defense that surrendered almost 300 yards in that championship game says there’s not much belief in a repeat performance out of this group.

PREDICTED FINISH: Second place, 10-6

Detroit Lions


ADDITIONS: LB Jamie Collins, WR Geronimo Allison, S Duron Harmon, S Jayron Kearse, LB Elijah Lee, LB Reggie Ragland, DT Danny Shelton, CB Desmond Trufant, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, DT Nick Williams

SUBTRACTIONS: OL Graham Glasgow, DT Damon Harrison, LB Devon Kennard, P Sam Martin, RB J.D. McKissic, CB Rashaan Melvin, CB Darius Slay, TE Logan Thomas, S Tavon Wilson

OUTLOOK: There’s more optimism in the Motor City than one might expect for a team coming off a three-win season for a perpetually miserable franchise. Much of that is focused on Matthew Stafford, who was having an incredible season before it was derailed by back problems. If the issue is behind him and he can pick up where he left off, the Lions could see a dramatic improvement. Coach Matt Patricia, facing an ultimatum to contend for a playoff spot or be fired, brought in some players he has worked with in the past to help quickly fix a defense that was atrocious at times last season.

PREDICTED FINISH: Third place, 8-8

Chicago Bears


ADDITIONS: QB Nick Foles, TE Jimmy Graham, LB Robert Quinn, LB Barkevious Mingo, G Germain Ifedi

SUBTRACTIONS: CB Prince Amukamara, TE Trey Burton, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, QB Chase Daniel, LB Leonard Floyd, WR Taylor Gabriel, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, DT Nick Williams

OUTLOOK: Mitch Trubisky has been saddled with the lofty expectations of having been selected so high in the draft in a year when the Bears could have picked Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. The critics won’t get any quieter if he loses the job to Foles, which is a distinct possibility. Whoever wins the job would be wise to get the ball to star receiver Allen Robinson as much as possible. There’s not much that needs to be said about the defense, which includes one of the most dominant front sevens in all of football.. The pieces should be there for the Bears to look more like the 2018 team than the one they put on the field last year, but the quarterback situation could hold them back.

PREDICTED FINISH: Fourth place, 7-9

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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