continues its series of previewing each division for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. The NFC North has some major quarterback questions that need to be answered for the top contenders. Aaron Rodgers returns to the Green Bay Packers. The Minnesota Vikings, who were in the NFC Championship game, felt they needed to upgrade to become even better than last year. 

Chicago Bears 

The Bears are still in rebuilding mode and nowhere ready to topple the Vikings or the Packers. There is some buzz in the Windy City, though, with the hiring of new head coach Matt Nagy. Young QB Mitchell Trubisky showed flashes from the Bears’ trading up in the draft last year as he enters his second season. His pass-catchers in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton are an upgrade from a season ago. The Bears ranked 10th overall in total defense, per usual for the Monsters of the Midway to have play on that side of the ball. The home schedule is difficult as Rams, Patriots and Seahawks come to town. The new-look offense appears better, but Aaron Rodgers isn’t ready for the Bears to come up just yet. 

Detroit Lions 

The Lions are in a tough position. With the Packers and Vikings looking to battle for the NFC North crown, it’s going to be tough for the Motor City team to make the playoffs. Especially with the offensive line missing key pieces from last year. The signing of LeGarrette Blount isn’t the answer at running back, as he’s a power back, not a game-breaker. The team finished tied for last at 3.4 yards-per-carry. Matthew Stafford could also use help from a pass catching running out the backfield. New head coach Matt Patricia will need some time to put his scheme in place. 

Green Bay Packers 

Aaron Rodgers / (USATSI)

A certain top three QB in the league returns from injury. Aaron Rodgers missed nine contests due to a broken collarbone. With Rodgers returning, it’s almost certain a return to the playoffs are in order. With Green Bay having a subpar defense, it’s usually up to Rodgers to push the team to greatness. Green Bay splurged on the draft and added Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson through free agency. Graham will be Rodgers’ favorite target since the Packers released wide receiver Jordy Nelson. 

Minnesota Vikings 

The Vikings went 13-3 last year on the strength of an elite defense and an offense that was effective, but not high-octane. On paper, both sides should be better. Can new QB Kirk Cousins open up the offense? Cousins enters the fray after three, straight, 4,000-plus yard campaigns in the nation’s capital. He’ll be distributing the ball to a talented receiving core. A top five defense added one of the best 3-technique defensive lineman in Sheldon Richardson. Tune into a week four match-up on Thursday Night Football when the Vikings go on the road to take on the high-powered Rams. 

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S.K. Patrick is a sports journalist from Louisville, Ky with over 5 years of sports journalism experience. Patrick graduated from the University of Louisville with his BA in mass communications and a minor in marketing. Patrick has been part of Louisville's local sports community for several years. He’s a former high school football player and little league football coach. Patrick has covered press conferences and games for U of L’s Sports Information Office. He now covers the ACC, along with Western Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati. He has reported on Rick Pitino, Bobby Petrino, Jimbo Fisher, Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, and many others. Professionally he has covered the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine.

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