NFL teams are still in the process of rebuilding and reloading for 2017, but Football Outsiders has released preliminary predictions for how teams will finish in the coming season. The ESPN partner site had the Packers finishing 12-4 and winning the NFC North in 2016, a prediction that was not too far off. The Packers ended up 10-6 in the regular season, winning two more games to reach the NFC Championship despite a rash of injuries.
In 2017, Football Outsiders have the Packers finishing atop the NFC North once again.
- Green Bay Packers: 10-6
- Detroit Lions: 7-9
- Chicago Bears: 7-9
- Minnesota Vikings: 6-10
Football Outsiders saw the overall NFC shaking out like this:
2. Green Bay
3. Arizona (wild card)
6. Atlanta (wild card)
7. Los Angeles Rams
8. New York Giants
12. New Orleans
14. Tampa Bay
16. San Francisco
The site said this about the Packers in 2017:
“When Aaron Rodgers is on his game, the recipe for the Packers is simple: good team if the defense is bad; great team if the defense is good. Our projections lean a bit more toward the former than the latter, but the Packers are still well ahead of the rest of their division.”
Football Outsiders also said the Lions will not pull out as many wins in 2017, despite winning several close games last season. The Bears were predicted to improve, but likely run into some bumps in the road on offense. The Vikings meanwhile appear poised to carry their 2016 second-half collapse into 2017 and plummet to the bottom of the NFC North.
The Packers 2017 regular season schedule has not yet been released, but they will face the following opponents:
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys
What are your predictions for the Packers and NFC North in general in 2017? What do the Packers need to do in the draft and beyond to ensure they return to the playoffs? Let me know in the comments.