2021 NFC North preview: How do the Detroit Lions stack up?

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press) /
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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Green Bay Packers offense

Rodgers or Love, the quarterback position will be set; if Rodgers keeps up his Dick-Clark-esque routine of not showing his age, and he returns happy enough to play his best, facing them could be problematic. Blake Bortles’ and Kurt Benkert’s roles are waiting to be defined with Rodgers’ fate undecided.

Davante Adams is the biggest threat in the division at wide receiver, at 28 he had his best year scoring 18 times en route to All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honors. The Pack added rookie Amari Rodgers in the slot, Devin Funchess is back after opting out of 2020, with Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scandling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and the rest of the receivers back, the offense returns intact.

As scary as that is, Robert Tonyan, Mercedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, and Josiah Deguara are viable threats from the tight end position, too. Tonyan emerged as the top target, scoring on 11 catches in 2020, according to the NFL’s website.

While Aaron Jones is back as the No. 1 option in the run game and Jamaal Williams was lost to the Detroit Lions, the cupboard isn’t bare; they still have A.J. Dillon, most infamous for his thick legs but who is a bruising power runner, should be the second guy. Several other players are vying to be the third option, including rookie Kylin Hill.

The line, ranked 15th by Pro Football Focus going into 2021 (the Lions line was ranked 10th), is anchored by veteran left tackle, David Bakhtiari, and while the line did lose center Corey Linsley to the Chargers and right tackle Rick Wagner is gone, there is talent behind them; Elgton Jenkins and rookie Josh Myers are talented and will battle for the start at center. They are flanked by Jon Runyan, Jr. (or Jenkins), and Lucas Patrick, with Billy Turner looking to assume the spot at right tackle.

The line has depth with rookie Royce Newman, Simon Stepaniak, Yosh Nijman, and rookie Cole Van Lanen, too. So, while they are not set everywhere, they have good pieces to settle in around Bakhtiari and Patrick. While the line is not as settled as the Detroit Lions, it is the only area where the Green Bay Packers are possibly at a disadvantage to the Leo’s.

Mason Crosby is back to kick the field goals and extra points, while J.K. Scott is the returning punter. While there’s stability there, the return game was near the bottom of the NFL in both punt and kick returns, according to ESPN.