NFC North Rundown, Pre-Week 1 Edition: Setting expectations for Packers rivals

The Green Bay Packers head into 2022 as the prohibitive favorite to win the NFC North Division title. After winning three straight division championships and three consecutive 13-win seasons, the Packers are definitely the team to bet on and have the weight of heavy expectations on their shoulders.

Still, there are three other teams in the division, all looking to spoil the Packers’ party this fall. While the Minnesota Vikings appears to be Green Bay’s closest competitor, the Detroit Lions seem to be on the rise and Chicago Bears still form the other half of the NFL’s longest rivalry.

The first NFL Sunday of the 2022 season is just days away, and fans of NFC North teams will be treated to a high-profile division game as the Vikings host the Packers. Before we get to that, though, let’s take a look at where each team plans to enter the regular season:

2022 NFC total win projections: Packers, Buccaneers, Rams continue to reign; The Eagles take the East | NFL.com
The mathematical models put the Packers in control of the NFC again, with their expected conference-leading 11.3 wins. Minnesota is projected as the last Wild Card team, however, with the 7th-highest expected win total in the conference.

Now, let’s take a look at our fellow SB Nation blogs to see how things stack up for each of the Packers’ divisional rivals and sift through the rest of the NFL media coverage to find some newsworthy bits for each. of these three teams.

Minnesota Vikings

Week 1: vs. Packers

Minnesota Vikings 2022 NFL season preview: How it’s going – Reuters
A new tree head coach Sean McVay takes over to revamp the offense, while a pair of former Packers defensive coordinators will transition the defense to a plus 3-4 base. But can the Vikings really compete with the Packers for the NFC North crown? We will have an idea on Sunday afternoon.

Vikings’ Mike Zimmer Created ‘Toxic’ Culture, Report Says | deadspin.com
It appears culture was the main reason for the Vikings parting ways with their former head coach, who was 72-56-1 in eight years at Minnesota.

Chicago Bears

Week 1: Cons 49ers

Chicago Bears 2022 NFL Season Preview: How It’s Going – Windy City Gridiron
Chicago also has a new brain trust, with a new general manager and head coach. However, this offense could be putrid around Justin Fields, especially if Chicago’s offensive line is as ugly as it looks on paper.

Bear looking at two different offensive line combinations | bear yarn
Speaking of that line, former Packer Lucas Patrick finally practiced on Monday after breaking his thumb in the second practice of training camp. He may not be ready for the first week, but a return would at least help solidify the interior a bit.

Detroit Lions

Week 1: against the Eagles

Detroit Lions 2022 NFL Season Preview: How It’s Going – Pride Of Detroit
The second year of the Dan Campbell era began very publicly with the Lions hard knocks, and this offense could take a nice step forward. No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson will help the defensive front, but can the rest of this unit step forward? Either way, the arrow seems to be pointing up in Detroit right now.

Detroit Lions place Halapoulivaati Vaitai on reserve/injured list | The Detroit News
The Lions are dealing with their own injury issues on the offensive line, having recently placed their starting right guard on IR with an undisclosed injury. That likely elevates second-year pro Tommy Kraemer, who started three games last season as a rookie, into the starting lineup.

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