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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Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers defense (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Green Bay Packers defense

The Packers’ defense ranked ninth in yards per game (334.0 per game) and thirteenth in scoring defense (23.1 points per game) according to ESPN’s website, which puts them easily in the top half of the NFL in both categories. Green Bay’s only major loss was inside linebacker Christian Kirksey. The Packers’ only major investment defensively during the draft was first-round cornerback, Eric Stokes.

The Pack opted to re-sign players and hold serve as much as possible. Up front, they have Kenny Clark to anchor the middle, he is a very good nose tackle who can pressure quarterbacks. The ends are solid with Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster. The edge rushers are as talented as any in Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Rashaan Gary.

Rookie T.J. Slaton was brought in to back-up Clark, while Kingsley Keke, Anthony Rush, and Delontae Scott provide the rest of the primary depth on the line. Randy Ramsey and Jonathon Garvin are the edge depth. All-in-all a very solid front.

Up the middle of the defense are capable inside ‘backers Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin. De’Vondre Campbell, Oren Burks, and Ty Summers are set to give the Pack depth inside.

One of the main things to gather is that there are no major gaps in this defense. They are a solid unit and it’s no wonder that they helped Rodgers and Co. look so good in 2020.

The secondary has top players in safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Jaire Alexander, with safety Darnell Savage really coming ongoing into his third year. The other starting cornerback is Kevin King unless he is unseated by rookie first-rounder, Eric Stokes. The Packers hope to upgrade over King on the outside as soon as possible but are okay with keeping him there as the No. 2.

Chandon Sullivan, Josh Jackson, and rookie Shemar Jean-Charles give Green Bay decent depth at cornerback, too. The safety depth is solid with Vernon Scott and Will Redmond.

As a team, this is the most solid top-to-bottom team in the division unless everything goes wrong. The first domino is Rodgers, though, if he’s back they are in the driver’s seat for the NFC North and to make a run in the playoffs. If that domino falls and Rodgers sits out or is traded, the Packers are still potentially the best the North has to offer despite having some close calls with the Detroit Lions in recent years.