1st place; Minnesota Vikings
That leaves the Minnesota Vikings as the 2020 NFC North Champions.
There are some concerns in the Twin Cities about the offensive line, but it doesn’t appear to be any worse than last season’s offering which was serviceable enough.
The loss of Stefon Diggs hurts, but the cupboard at receiver isn’t bare. Adam Thielen is coming off an injury-plagued season but is still a technician with outstanding hands. Bisi Johnson is coming off a break-out season and rookie Justin Jefferson has a big upside. Toss in the tight end duo of Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr and the passing game should be alright.
Dalvin Cook is a beast with the ball in his hands and Alexander Mattison is a very capable backup. Last season the ground game set the table for the success the passing game had. If the change at offensive coordinator doesn’t disrupt that formula, the ground game should continue to be the conduit that the Viking offense facilitates through.
Kirk Cousins had a very solid season last year, but he is a game manager, not a play-maker. If he again has the help of the play-action passing game to aid him, he should continue to orchestrate the Viking offense with success.
The defense actually has question marks, but it also still has Mike Zimmer.
The defensive line is solid, but it’s spectacular at end with Danielle Hunter and Yannick Ngakoue. Both are pass-rushers supreme and both should have opposing offenses nervous already.
Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks is among the best at his position and Anthony Barr is still very versatile giving Minnesota a great one-two punch to back up the line.
The secondary is the real question. Safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris are as good as they come, but there has been major turnover at cornerback. For the time being it looks like Mike Hughes and Holton Hill will start on the outside. How well they fair will dictate how long Jeff Gladney will not be in the starting lineup.
Mike Zimmer always gets the most out of his defenses, so while the turnover at cornerback is a concern, it seems hard to believe Zimmer won’t find an answer. The Vikings are the most complete team in the division with the best head coach, so it’s hard to see them not winning the NFC North.
So there you go, the Lions have every opportunity to finish in second place in the division and with the expanded playoff format, a very good chance to secure a postseason bid.
The biggest question hasn’t changed; how far can Matt Patricia’s defense carry these Lions? The offense should absolutely do their job, but the defense will still be the key. What do you think?