2023 NFL PREVIEW- NFC NORTH

2023-09-03 · 6 min read · NFL/Football
DJ Moore and Josh Oliver

Mike Comer/Getty Images | Terrance Williams/AP

As we head into the 2023 regular season, there is plenty of intrigue in the NFC North with the Lions coming on strong at the tail end of 2022, the Vikings dominating the division, Chicago trading the top pick in the offseason in an attempt to rebuild quicker and the Packers finally saying goodbye to star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
10 wins separated first place from fourth at the end of the 2022 regular-season but given all of the transactions done over the off-season, things could be much tighter in the AFC North this year.
Here is a look at each NFC North team and my predictions for 2023.
Chicago Bears
Key Additions
  • DJ Moore- Wide Receiver- Carolina Panthers
  • Tremaine Edmunds- Linebacker- Buffalo Bills
  • D’Onta Freeman- Running Back- Carolina Panthers
Key Subtractions
  • David Montgomery- Running Back- Detroit Lions
  • Matthew Adams- Linebacker- Cleveland Browns
  • Nicholas Morrow- Linebacker- Philadelphia Eagles
Biggest Strength
As bad a campaign as Chicago experienced in 2022, Justin Fields and that running game were tough to stop, leading the league in team rushing at the end of the regular season (177.3 yards per game).
Having Freeman in the backfield should take some pressure off Fields to have to carry the load on the ground in 2023 and having a more experienced and dependable receiving corps led by DJ Moore and Chase Claypool should open up their running game as defences won’t have the luxury of stacking the line of scrimmage to try and stop what was a relatively one-dimensional offence last year.
Biggest Weakness
Over the past two years, this team’s been much thinner in the linebacking corps, losing Khalil Mack to the Chargers in 2022 and trading away Roquan Smith to the Ravens last October.
Having Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards should make them tougher at that position, and Yannick Ngakoue adds some veteran presence along the line of scrimmage, but the ex-Jaguar has declined in production over the past couple of years and a team that had the fewest sacks in the NFL last season (20) might have a problematic time disrupting opposing quarterbacks again in 2023.
Prediction- Fourth in NFC North
They’ve added some depth in the pass-catching department and should be harder to run against, but overall, I think it’ll take another season for them to be respectable, though they should improve on their three wins from a year ago.
Detroit Lions
Key Additions
  • David Montgomery- Running Back- Chicago Bears
  • CJ Gardner-Johnson- Safety- Philadelphia Eagles
  • Cameron Sutton- Cornerback- Pittsburgh Steelers
Key Subtractions
  • Jamaal Williams- Running Back- New Orleans Saints
  • DJ Chark- Wide Receiver- Carolina Panthers
  • Amani Oruwariye- Cornerback- New York Giants
Biggest Strength
Jared Goff made a big statement last year as he looked like the quarterback that led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance in 2018-19, and Dan Campbell’s receivers room added more depth by bringing back Marvin Jones.
He should be a nice addition to a group of receivers with plenty of quality led by Amon-Ra St. Brown and Khalif Raymond, and if Goff continues to make intelligent decisions as he did in 2022, they could be an efficient passing offence again this year.
Biggest Weakness
The Lions will be crossing their fingers that the CJ Gardner-Johnson injury in pre-season is not too serious, but I don’t think the secondary is as much of a concern for the Lions in 2023.
I wonder how they’ll fare against the run, though, with Detroit allowing 146.5 yards a game last year, and I don’t think they did much in the offseason to bolster that position.
Prediction- First in NFC North
It took until about the midway point of last season for the Lions to start buying into Dan Campbell’s system, and this team addressed numerous areas of concern throughout free agency, while their ability to create turnovers could bail them out defensively.
Green Bay Packers
Key Additions
  • Tavarius Moore- Safety- San Francisco 49ers
  • Andre Miller- Wide Receiver- New York Giants
  • Arron Mosby- Linebacker- Carolina Panthers
Key Subtractions
  • Aaron Rodgers- Quarterback- New York Jets
  • Randall Cobb- Wide Receiver- New York Jets
  • Allen Lazard- Wide Receiver- New York Jets
Biggest Strength
There are a lot of unknowns for Green Bay offensively in 2023, but I don’t believe running the ball will be an issue as AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones are a solid one-two punch who complement each other well in plenty of running situations, while Jordan Love has shown he can scramble effectively too.
Biggest Weakness
It’s hard to know how this team will fare in the passing game this year with so many veterans leaving, and I am not sure who will provide some secondary assistance for Christian Watson.
Prediction- Second in NFC North
In a season filled with inconsistencies, the Packers still came within a win of the postseason in 2022, and while Love has some big shoes to fill, I expect Matt LaFleur to find an intelligent offensive scheme that Love will thrive under, giving the Cheesheads a shot at the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings
Key Additions
  • Josh Oliver- Tight End- Baltimore Ravens
  • Marcus Davenport- Outside Linebacker- New Orleans Saints
  • Byron Murphy- Cornerback- Arizona Cardinals
Key Subtractions
  • Dalvin Cook- Running Back- New York Jets
  • Patrick Peterson- Cornerback- Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Za’Darius Smith- Outside Linebacker- Cleveland Browns
Biggest Strength
Kirk Cousins and that Vikings offence averaged 263.8 yards through the air in 2022, mainly due to the play of Justin Jefferson.
The NFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year should have some pressure alleviated with the presence of Oliver and Tj Hoeckenson, and they might need to depend on those three to move the ball consistently.
Biggest Weakness
As exciting as their games were last season, we shouldn’t forget that this team struggled defensively all year in 2022, allowing 388.7 net yards per game, with only Detroit giving up more on average (392.4).
Losing a veteran like Patrick Peterson will not help their cause, as the secondary looks relatively inexperienced and vulnerable.
Prediction- Third in NFC North
Kevin O’Connell’s rookie season as head coach was a smashing success with numerous thrilling finishes.
Having weak defensive unit though, and missing an established running back, I fear the comeback masters from 2022 will be a little short on miracles this season.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre

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