3 bold predictions for Packers, NFC North in 2024

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The NFC North is the most interesting division in the league this season.

It already features one of the league's highest-paid quarterbacks after the Detroit Lions handed Jared Goff a new deal. The Green Bay Packers may soon join them with Jordan Love's contract extension on the way.

Detroit and Green Bay made the NFC's final four last year, with the Lions going one step further to reach the conference championships. Since then, the Chicago Bears drafted Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze and brought in Keenan Allen and D'Andre Swift. It's no surprise that the Hard Knocks cameras will follow them this summer.

All eyes will be on the NFC North in 2024, but what can we expect from the season ahead?

Bold predictions for the NFC North this season

Packers linebacker Edgerrin Cooper wins Defensive Rookie of the Year award

The NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award could be wide open this season. Zero defensive players were drafted until the 15th overall selection. A player to watch is Packers rookie linebacker Edgerrin Cooper.

Cooper will immediately start in Green Bay, and his skill set perfectly matches what Jeff Hafley is looking for in his new scheme. Cooper's job will be to use his speed and athleticism to make plays. And he has already shown what he can do during the Packers' OTAs.

Cooper can become an instant difference-maker in the Packers' defense. He uses his speed to close down running backs, but his pass-rushing ability is something to watch. The second-round pick had eight sacks at Texas A&M last season, and we could see Hafley regularly use him as a blitzer.

The opportunity is there. Cooper will take on a full-time role from Day 1. Playing in an aggressive scheme, he has the chance to make plays, potentially leading him to the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Bears eliminate Lions in the first round of the playoffs

The Lions may have won their first NFC North title last season, but the Bears had their number. Detroit had to overturn a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to prevent an upset at Ford Field, but Chicago convincingly beat the Lions three weeks later.

In the two games against the Bears in 2023, Jared Goff threw for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions, with a passer rating of just 61.4.

Chicago's defense had the answers for Detroit's offense. This season, the Bears will have a much-improved offense following the additions of Caleb Williams, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, and D'Andre Swift.

While the Bears may struggle for consistency throughout the regular season, they could be a dangerous playoff team if they clinch a wild-card berth. A first-round NFC North matchup could see Detroit's Super Bowl hopes fall apart.

Vikings finish with a top-five draft pick

The Vikings don't have one of the NFL's five worst rosters, but the NFC North is as tough as it gets. Green Bay, Detroit, and Chicago all have realistic playoff expectations, but Minnesota enters a period of uncertainty.

Unlike the other three teams, it's unclear who will start at quarterback for the Vikings this season. They have plenty of offensive talent, but their defensive issues could become a real issue against Jordan Love, Jared Goff, and Caleb Williams.

The Vikings should be competitive in most games they play, but with the ninth-hardest strength of schedule and six games against the NFC North, they could end up with a top-five draft pick in 2025.

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