Although there will be next to no shifting of quarterbacks off of last season in the NFC North, the teams have changed a lot aside from that. The Vikings have some star power on their team, especially at the receiver position, with newly extended quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing the ball. The Packers look a little different without star receiver Davante Adams, but still have quarterback Aaron Rodgers steering the ship. The Lions brought in a strong and young draft class to help them in their turnaround.
The Bears, however, did not have the offseason that the others had, along with losing some key pieces. They lost wide receiver Allen Robinson and traded away Khalil Mack, who were a couple of the premiere talents on the team, without having any signings that I am blown away by, and only had six wins last season, so who is to say this season will truly be much better? If anything, I would predict that this Chicago team would degress after the offseason that they had.
Last season, Chicago went 2-4 against their NFC North opponents, with the only two wins being against the Detroit Lions. There is some credit to be had as you hope to see a jump from year one to two for quarterback Justin Fields, but that is rather unpredictable, and he is still very young and a raw talent. To compete in your division, you need to be able to compete with the other teams within that division, and when you look at the Packers and Vikings, I am unsure that the Bears are ready to do that. Given that you would expect the Bears to win more games because of their easier schedule, it is hard to see them being competitive enough even in the weak NFC conference to rack up enough wins to jump these other teams.
I am not confident in Chicago being able to steal wins against Minnesota or Green Bay in any of those four games this season, but let’s give them credit and say they win one that I believe they should not. Let us also say that this improving Lions team does not beat the Bears. That would still be 3-3 in the division and not good enough to top the NFC North, it would be more likely to snag a wild card spot with that. With the improvements the Lions have and will make alongside the more competitive Vikings and Packers, it is difficult for me to see the Bears truly being competitive in the NFC North. The path to that happening starts with young quarterback Justin Fields making that jump, and even then it may be a lot more likely that they are being competitive for a wild card spot than being the winners of the NFC North.