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NFL Draft

Record Predictions: Who Will Win NFC North?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 13, 2021
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The Green Bay Packers have been the class of this division ever since it was renamed “NFC North.” The Wisconsin-based football team has brought home 11 division titles since 2002—no other team in the group has more than four—including the last two. However, given the uncertainty around future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, is another team poised to dethrone Green Bay in 2021?

The NFC North champion has averaged 11.6 wins per season since 2002, with only one team (2013 Packers, 8-7-1) sitting atop the division with fewer than 10 wins in that timeframe. The Packers won 13 games in each of the last two seasons… will a now 17-game season necessitate 13 or more wins to take home the crown yet again?

Let’s dive into the 2021 schedules for each of the four teams in the NFC North.


Week 1: @ Saints (W)

Week 2: vs. Lions (W)

Week 3: @ 49ers (W)

Week 4: vs. Steelers (W)

Week 5: @ Bengals (W)

Week 6: @ Bears (L)

Week 7: vs. Washington (W)

Week 8: @ Cardinals (W)

Week 9: @ Chiefs (L)

Week 10: vs. Seahawks (L)

Week 11: @ Vikings (W)

Week 12: vs. Rams (W)

Week 13: BYE

Week 14: vs. Bears (W)

Week 15: @ Ravens (L)

Week 16: vs. Browns (L)

Week 17: vs. Vikings (W)

Week 18: @ Lions (W)

Record Prediction: 12-5

The Packers are an incredibly tough team to predict because of all the uncertainty surrounding Rodgers’ status. I’m assuming somehow, someway he’s on the field for Green Bay by Week 1. If that is indeed the case, the Packers should be the favorites to win the division once again.

Green Bay has a pretty tough home schedule, so it would not be shocking to see them go as low as 4-4 at Lambeau Field this season—but I feel like 6-2 is a safer bet. On the road, they match up favorably against teams trying out new starting quarterbacks (Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco) and get two additional non-playoff teams from last season outside of their division in Arizona and Cincinnati. Outside of two of the AFC’s toughest teams in Kansas City and Baltimore, the Packers should be able to handle the rest of their road schedule without too much hassle.


Week 1: @ Rams (L)

Week 2: vs. Bengals (W)

Week 3: @ Browns (L)

Week 4: vs. Lions (W)

Week 5: @ Raiders (W)

Week 6: vs. Packers (W)

Week 7: @ Buccaneers (L)

Week 8: vs. 49ers (L)

Week 9: @ Steelers (L)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: vs. Ravens (L)

Week 12: @ Lions (W)

Week 13: vs. Cardinals (L)

Week 14: @ Packers (L)

Week 15: vs. Vikings (W)

Week 16: @ Seahawks (L)

Week 17: vs. Giants (W)

Week 18: @ Vikings (L)

Record Prediction: 7-10

There is a ton of excitement around the Bears for the first time in a while following the selection of quarterback of the future Justin Fields with the No. 11 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, this team will still experience some growing pains at the quarterback position whenever they do decide to sit Andy Dalton down in favor of Fields. Plus, the Bears’ defense should still be good, just not as good as it has been over the prior three seasons—cornerback is a concern right now, for example.

I expect Chicago to be competitive this season. Who knows… maybe they catch lightning in a bottle with Fields as a rookie and get to double-digit wins. The safer play is hanging somewhere around 7-8 wins, especially with a very challenging road schedule.


Week 1: @ Bengals (W)

Week 2: @ Cardinals (L)

Week 3: vs. Seahawks (L)

Week 4: vs. Browns (L)

Week 5: vs. Lions (W)

Week 6: @ Panthers (W)

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: vs. Cowboys (W)

Week 9: @ Ravens (L)

Week 10: @ Chargers (L)

Week 11: vs. Packers (L)

Week 12: @ 49ers (L)

Week 13: @ Lions (W)

Week 14: vs. Steelers (W)

Week 15: @ Bears (L)

Week 16: vs. Rams (W)

Week 17: @ Packers (L)

Week 18: vs. Bears (W)

Record Prediction: 8-9

The Vikings are in a weird spot as a team that has some really exciting pieces but isn’t a true contender. They trot out an average-at-best quarterback in Kirk Cousins and a defense that was an Achilles heel for the team last season. Minnesota allowed the sixth-most yards and fourth-most points in the NFL last season. The Vikings added Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander, and Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency to help that side of the ball, but it’s hard to imagine this unit not flirting with the bottom-10 in all major categories yet again.

So where does that leave the Vikings? Stuck in purgatory. Their ceiling is the sixth or seventh seed in the NFC, their floor is, what, the No. 8 pick in the 2022 draft? It’s not an exciting spot to be in, even if Minnesota is a more enjoyable watch than their record indicates.


Week 1: vs. 49ers (L)

Week 2: @ Packers (L)

Week 3: vs. Ravens (L)

Week 4: @ Bears (L)

Week 5: @ Vikings (L)

Week 6: vs. Bengals (W)

Week 7: @ Rams (L)

Week 8: vs. Eagles (W)

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: @ Steelers (L)

Week 11: @ Browns (L)

Week 12: vs. Bears (L)

Week 13: vs. Vikings (L)

Week 14: @ Broncos (L)

Week 15: vs. Cardinals (L)

Week 16: @ Falcons (L)

Week 17: @ Seahawks (L)

Week 18: vs. Packers (L)

Record Prediction: 2-15

The Lions are in strong competition with the Houston Texans to be the worst team in football this season. Detroit is going through a complete franchise rebuild in the post-Matt Patricia era and that means there will be tremendous growing pains—specifically on defense, a unit that needs to be completely rebuilt. On the other side of the ball, the Lions have the worst receiving corps in football and I’m not optimistic about Jared Goff succeeding away from Sean McVay when he struggled to do so with him.

I’m never going to project a team to go winless—the Lions will sneak a couple upsets into their season somewhere—but the only race this team will be in is for the No. 1 overall pick in 2022.

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