Matt LaFleur strength: Wide open division = playing with house money?
One of Matt LaFleur's biggest strengths heading into the 2023 NFL season is that I feel like the NFC North is rather wide open.
Some people are really buying the Minnesota Vikings after last season's impressive regular season which included enough intense one-score wins to maybe put a couple of gray hairs on Kevin O'Connell's head. The question is -- can the Vikings actually repeat (or exceed) what we saw last year?
Some people like the Detroit Lions, and understandably so. The Lions, although they didn't make the playoffs, left a lasting impression in the final week of the 2022-23 season, which unfortunately had to be at Lambeau in Aaron Rodgers' final game with the Packers. The Lions are talented, but they are the Lions. Will this be the year they're not the Lions? I'm not sure.
The Chicago Bears had the worst record in the NFL last year. Even with all of the upgrades they have made in 2023, it might take at least a year to put all the pieces together correctly. And even if that ends up being the case, I think Justin Fields is still at least a little bit of a wild card.
The NFC North is still wide open, if you're asking me, and because of that, who knows what could end up happening with this Packers team. It could end up being that nine or 10 wins are enough to win this division, in which case Matt LaFleur might make himself look like a coaching savant if he is able to lead the Packers into the postseason transitioning from a Hall of Fame quarterback to a complete unknown.
The point is -- LaFleur is playing (at least a little bit) with house money. It's a transition year. He can take risks. This is an evaluation year for Jordan Love and I think the Packers are willing to live with the results, good or bad.