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2019 NFC North Forecasts: Packers on the Bubble to Make the Playoffs

The job of football forecasters is getting harder and harder. As teams continue to sit their stars, their veterans, their new acquisitions, and even their high-draft rookies, regular-season predictions are becoming little more than a crap shoot – which doesn’t stop forecasters from trying.

Sports Illustrated has given Green Bay fans some slight reason for optimism. The magazine a week ago issued it’s NFL forecast for 2019. In the NFL North division, SI has the Packers tabbed for second place in the division, with a 10-6 record. They think the Packers will go to the postseason as the lowest ranked of the six NFC teams, and will lose in a Wild Card game to the Vikings. SI feels the Vikes will be the top NFC North team, and will accumulate an 11-5 record.

Though the Bears finished at 12-4 a year ago, SI thinks they have regressed – they rank them last in the division, and predict they’ll finish the year with a 7-9 record. SI feels the Bears have slipped, mostly on the defense, since last year, while the other three divisional teams have all improved.

The loss of safety Adrian Amos (to the Packers) and his replacement by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (from the Packers) must have figured into their thinking.

For what it’s worth, SI predicts the Packers will have an up-and-down start to the season, but that as things progress their offense will become explosive. Here is their assessment of new head coach Matt LeFleur and the offensive schemes he will employ:

Green Bay’s unbalanced and condensed formations presnap motions, first-down play-actions and intertwined route combinations play to Rodger’s sharp football IQ while regulating his reads and timing. His lethal accuracy returns.

Defensively, SI terms Mike Pettine’s defense as boom-or-bust, but they are generally optimistic about the team’s direction:

Pettine’s approach works more often than not, thanks largely to the sterling young cover-corner duo of Kevin King and Jaire Alexander, who can be matched one-on-one against big and quick receivers, respectively.

The magazine likes the notion that Green Bay has a strong secondary, “with defenders taught to defeat their blocker first and worry about their run gap later.”

SI is especially high on “mega-athlete” defensive lineman Kenny Clark, and they believe “unheralded players Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster and Montravius Adams” will provide excellent line depth.

Bears vs Packers - Aaron Rodgers

Dec 16, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles with the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Other Forecasts

On August 15, ESPN published the predictions of “Forty-five writers and editors from ESPN’s NFL Nation”; that group has the Bears winning the division, but the Packers making the playoffs as a wild card team. They then compared this with something called Football Power Index, which went like this: Bears (Projected wins: 9.1), Packers (8.6), Vikings (8.5), and Lions (7.0).

Why stop there? ESPN ranked the Packers as having a 5.91% chance of going to the Super Bowl, and with a 2.62% chance of winning it all.

The Sporting News just came out with these guesses: Packers (12-4), Bears (11-5), Vikings (9-7), and Lions (5-11). Here’s the explanation they provided:

We understand the risk of picking a team that is 13-15-1 over the last two seasons, but we’re going with the Packers. Rodgers has something to prove, too. The switch to LaFleur should put Green Bay back on track in the division, one the Packers have dominated for most of the decade with five titles. If Aaron Jones stays healthy in the backfield and Rodgers relies more on the running game, then it will happen again.

On August 23, at draftkings.com, three experts predicted which teams would win each division and the two conferences. For the NFC North, the threesome were in disagreement – one picked the Bears, one the Packers, and one the Vikings; one of the three picked the Bears to go on to win the NFC conference title.

Bleacher Report back in April had the Bears and Packers finishing with identical 10-6 records, with the Vikings coming in at 9-7. In early August they updated their prognoses: Bears 11-5, Vikings 10-6, and Packers 9-7.

On August 22, Pro Football Focus published a podcast with Steve Palazzolo and Sam Munson previewing the NFC North. The feel it will be an extremely competitive three-way race, though they give the Bears the edge.

There’s a clear consensus that Green Bay will improve considerably from its 6-9-1 record last year. While many predict the Packers will slip into the playoffs, probably as a wild card team, hardly anyone sees them making a run at the championship.

As for next Thursday’s NFL season opener, The Sporting News is going with the Packers:

“If our predictions for the season play out, the result will be Green Bay topping Chicago in the NFC North. The defending division champions will have plenty to say about that as the season plays out, but in Week 1, put your money on a fresh Aaron Rodgers, with last season’s opener providing the reminder as to why. Prediction: Packers 27, Bears 23.”

Tags:
Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”

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32 Comments

  1. Cheese August 30, 2019

    “They (Sports Illustrated) think the Packers will go to the postseason as the lowest ranked of the six NFC teams, and will lose in a Wild Card game ”
    .
    Lol, I think these guys are finally catching on. Although ranking Chicago last in the division after last year is plain silly.

  2. PF4L August 30, 2019

    That was somewhat entertaining.
    ***
    I view win/loss record predictions right along side all the mock draft experts
    I also think it’s entertaining when a publication declares we have a strong segment of a team, based on….anticipating a player stays healthy (and plays well)? On rookies playing Pro Bowl ready right out of the box? On picking up an average safety in free agency? Give me a fookin break, How about….we have a strong segment of our team, when it has proven itself in an actual NFL game?
    ***
    Call me crazy….but something isn’t strong just because someone said so typing it out on their laptop in Los Angeles Don’t they have to show it on the field anymore? The last time i saw this Packer team on the field is when they got rolled senseless 0-31 against the 5-10 Detroit Lions…IN GREEN BAY. Can i see the Packers show us how strong they are first, before i believe some writers version of needing something to write for his job? Someone who probably doesn’t even follow the Packers. Thankfully…all this bs talk gets swept aside, because the moment of truth is about to appear. We will soon find out exactly what the 2019 Green Bay Packers are all about. Not what some dweeb thinks it’s gonna be because he has a deadline..

    Remember….as Sporting News advises…put your hard earned money on a fresh Aaron Rodgers against the Bears, in Chicago.
    Why?….Well, according to Sporting News… because of Rodgers improbable 4th quarter 1 point comeback win against the bears in last season’s opener.
    Sounds damn logical to me….lol.

    Yes…right now i have too much time on my hands :)

  3. Ferris August 30, 2019

    I predict the Vikings front office throwing up in a garbage can over a fifth round draft choice they traded for a kicker that can’t kick. I though that guy was the next Justin Tucker. You should have let the Bears have him.

  4. Howard August 30, 2019

    I don’t predict anything, except I thought it was interesting that LaFleur in today’s press conference spoke of Kizer in the past tense then stopped and corrected himself. Makes you wonder.

    1. PF4L August 31, 2019

      Good call Mr Howard. Not many surprises in the cut down. Looks like they want to give St. Brown some time to think about things. i guess one receiver out of 3 isn’t bad, as long as MVS progresses (and he’s going to have to in a big way)
      ***
      It also looks like Rashan Gary made the 53. Go figure. I knew he’d be kept because people can’t stop talking and bragging about him, and all he did in pre-season was make big plays and got his name out there. Pro Bowl almost guaranteed. Now…all they need to do is find a starting spot for the best player in the draft………“I feel like I’m the best player in the draft, defensively and offensively,” Gary said Wednesday during media day at the Michael Johnson Performance Center. “I’m the best player in the draft.
      https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/02/13/rashan-gary-calls-himself-the-best-player-in-the-draft/
      ***
      Anyone miss Mike Daniels?….meet Rashan Gary.

      1. Howard September 1, 2019

        Thanks PF4L. I thought EQ showed promise. My problem with EQ is if you think about it, how many games has EQ played in and had to leave the game injured? I think almost every game, and that is with limited snaps. Not sure EQ can hold up if he had to play full games because he hasn’t held up with limited snaps.
        Speaking of getting stronger and IR, I thought the team would put Madison on IR. Madison did get his knee or ankle rolled up against the Raiders. Madison needs to get stronger and develop a better anchor. I guess teams never activate more than 8 O- lineman for game day so hopefully Madison does not see the field much this year.
        Would not be suprised if their are 2 or 3 waiver pickups by the team at RB, OLB, and ILB.

        1. PF4L September 1, 2019

          Yea…i thought EQ was an important piece this season, i think he could make a good living as a possession receiver. Don’t be shocked, but i would GLADLY trade Rashan Gary for a strong #2/3 receiver from someone in a trade.
          ***
          As far as Madison, i’m going to tell you what i initially thought of when i first learned he was going home for the season last year. Because he was mentally capable of attending 2 camps, my “hunch” was that when he was in camp, he discovered he would need to get stronger to just have a chance to make the roster. hence skipping the season to work out. I’m probably wrong, but that is my hunch to this day. I don’t want to sound cold hearted so please keep that in confidence.

  5. stiggy August 31, 2019

    “thanks largely to the sterling young cover-corner duo of Kevin King and Jaire Alexander”

    lol. Kevin king getting the national praise.

  6. Disposable H3ro August 31, 2019

    K. King will get hurt by week 4 and not play again until December so there goes that theory.

  7. Ferris August 31, 2019

    Goodbye J’Mon, do they get a refund on the 4th and 5th round picks from 2018? Moore and Madison. Maybe they will keep Madison, but I doubt it. Practice squad maybe. Nice picks Gutey. Good thing you got Alexander right. Plus the NO trade that turned in Savage. We forgive you for Moore….maybe

    1. PF4L August 31, 2019

      Well…Savage better be as advertised citing his drat position, not to mention they gave up a couple of 4’s for him.

      1. PF4L August 31, 2019

        *draft

  8. Deepsky August 31, 2019

    Every year the media annoints the active off season teams as the next big thing. This year it’s the Packers turn.

    Let me say goodbye right now to all the Packer fans who came on board since 1992. This is going to be tough for those of us who stood by during the 4-12 seasons. We are going to be the only Packers fans left. The rest of you can become Chiefs fans.

    The Packers are going no where.

    First, the Packers are only going to win a couple games the first half of the season. New coaches NEVER EVER start out winning.

    Second. The two wins will be true if LaFluer is a decent coach. But La Fleur hasn’t shown any success yet in the NFL. He may not win a game till December. And he hired an offensive coordinator who was so bad he was fired midseason (ala McCarthy). The rest of the offensive coaches have almost no experience. Even frickin Lindy Infante had a top 5 offense and made the playoffs before coming to Green Bay. Somehow we are relying on LaFluer to modernize the offense.

    Third. The only way the Packers will win any game is with Rodgers heroics. At 36, he’s on his last legs, not in his prime. A couple games of his heroics and he’ll be carted off. I give about a 25 percent chance he makes it the entire season.

    I blame Mark Murphy for this whole mess and he will be fired.

  9. PF4L August 31, 2019

    As many of you know, my (winning/SB) expectations with this team ended at least 3 seasons ago, maybe longer. You also know i view these seasons as entertainment value only as the team, and more importantly Packer Nation wait out the storm, as i’m doing. I just can’t turn off being a Packer fan, and not watching anymore, that’s not an option for me, or if you are a hardcore Packer fan. That’s not how true fans operate. So this is how i cope trying to reduce the stress of watching a train wreck These years in Packer lore will go down as an embarrassment…What i mean by that….is that this team regressed as people in charge watched, and watched, and watched. The sin is they let it regress, while doing next to nothing. Making it worse, is that they did it with a HOF QB on the roster. So when Murphy decides to finally do something (or is told to do it) he then picks out the slowest most arduous process. We are now entering the final stage of Murphy’s process, as he is the last man standing to be judged.
    ***
    Deepsky’s cliff dive is …i guess understandable at best.
    I think he’s right about the newer fans, they all won’t defect, but a good portion will as each losing season rolls by. If the Packers can’t make this team right by the time Rodgers retires, and they DON’T find the 3rd HOF QB in a row, i think you’ll see even a larger does of these newer fans. Along with them leaving, so leaves their wallets. IF that happens, Title Town District may have yielded more financial success had they turned it into a waterpark destination.
    ***
    Although Deepkys points he makes about the lack of winning backgrounds with the coaching staff is technically correct. I refuse to take that outlook, Although Deepsky’s views might be valid, those decisions were made and they are what they are. My outlook is they were hired, and while they are here, i will give them every chance to be successful before i impose judgement. Just as “predictors” can’t predict player or team success before they play actual games, nor can the new coaching stuff be judged, before they get a chance to do their jobs. So far now, until i see their work, i stand behind the coaching staff, until i’m given reason not to.
    ***
    I blame Murphy also Deepsky, and you may be right about his job status. Maybe the next President the Packers hire, will have some experience actually running a NFL football team. It could be argued that some blame could also be shared by the BOD’S and Executive Committee, for not putting the heat on Murphy early on. But then again, one staple of Murphy’s leadership has been the lack of accountability. So par for the course i guess.
    ***
    BROKEN

    1. PF4L August 31, 2019

      *staff
      *dose

  10. Deepsky August 31, 2019

    Here is a great example of why the Packers are in generational decline:

    Deshone Kizer = cut

    Damarius Randall = solid starter for the Browns. Four interceptions last year. Almost 90 tackles. Browns fans consider him snubbed by the Pro Bowl.

    1. PF4L September 1, 2019

      That’s a snippet.
      ***
      The best example can be described in two words….Mark Murphy

  11. MMSUCKS September 1, 2019

    Where to begin . . . It is difficult to even get up the energy anymore to take time to write about this Mark Murphy circus. As many of you know, I bitched and hollered about McCarthy, Thompson, and Capers for all the years that I have been on this site. The years preceding this site were spent being ostracized by Packer “homers” on various sites because of my beliefs about those three until I finally found this site and left the others. After the Super Bowl win, I just wanted that fucking Buffoon of a coach McCarthy fired. It was PAINFULLY obvious that he was in over his head. Little did I know just how damaged the brain trust actually was that McCarthy was a part of. In the very next year or two after the SB win, we were all shown just how bad it was going to become. The REAL SCOUTS and talent upstairs at 1265 started to leave via the Super Bowl exodus that usually happens with every team after a win. This is where the rubber met the road. In those few short years after the SB win, Green Bay lost Schneider, Dorsey, and McKenzie. Following shortly after that was their personal staff and scouts that thought as they did. We saw what happened to our draft classes in each successive year following the SB win. The talent was nowhere much of the time. While Schneider, Dorsey, (and even McKenzie at times) were getting extremely talented draftees and free agents for their new teams. While all of this was happening, I was totally focused on TT, MM, and DC fucking up (which they did). Looking back on this, I believe that I was 100% correct in doing so, they fucking warranted much of our animus. However, I missed one large piece to the real puzzle and that was Mark Murphy. He was the problem in the organization. The man even played football at the pro level, so he should have known that the direction that they were headed in was wrong. However, he was so MYOPIC in his approach that he let the lunatics run the asylum while he strong-armed purchased land and attempted to build a “mecca” in Green Bay instead of a legacy of winning football in Packer-land. Murphy was the Achilles heel in the Packer organization that would bring a two HOF QB led football team to its knees in less than a decade. How the Board of Directors was complicit with this baffles me to this day. The only thing that I can take from this, is that it was perhaps driven by the land grabs and written off as a long-term plan knowing that Aaron Rodgers was enough of a draw and talent that most fans could be gas-lit into believing that the Packers were a great team just by Rodgers amazing abilities alone.

    ********

    Jump to the present day. So Murphy has hired a new GM and HC and DC over the last few years. As PF4L has stated; (paraphrasing of course) Let’s wait and see what happens before I take a stance for or against this new regime. I am in agreement with this only because I am a loyal and true fan of the Packers and the game of football. If it were me as one of the Board members, I would have been screaming the day that they let Dorsey go. He stated the he wanted to stay in Green Bay! Look at what he did in Kansas City! look what he is doing in Cleveland (even today as I write this) what is BG doing? Very little compared to Dorsey. I get it, hindsight is 20/20. But for fuck’s sake! Even an armchair GM could see what was going on in Green Bay the last 10+ years. Most everything that I said and predicted about this team has come true! I am by NO MEANS an expert in the operation of Pro Football! But if a casual fan of the game can see how poorly a team was functioning . . . How could Murphy not? But better still . . . How did the Board of Directors allow this circus to hit bottom without getting rid of the root cause? MURPHY is the root cause. We will get nowhere in the long-term while this charlatan holds the reins. Who knows? perhaps LaFleur will be great. Perhaps the Packers win 10 or more. Perhaps Rodgers stays upright for the whole season. If those things happen, I will be overjoyed. But history tells me to continue to take a more cynical approach while this Murphy fool is still in town.
    I believe that is what I will do . . . As PF4L says: BROKEN

    1. Cheese September 2, 2019

      ” It is difficult to even get up the energy anymore to take time to write about this Mark Murphy circus”
      .
      Amen to that MMSUCKS

  12. PF4L September 1, 2019

    Vikings update: Vikings cornerback Holton Hill to miss the first 8 games due to two suspensions, 4 games for PED’s, another 4 games for substance of abuse. Even with those suspensions, he was allowed to play in the vikings pre-season, where he then laid a vicious helmet to helmet hit on Paxton Lynch giving him a concussion.
    ***
    When Mike Zimmer was asked to describe why Holton Hill is still a viking…Zimmer said…”he fits right in”.

  13. PF4L September 1, 2019

    In other sports: Yelich takes Kimbrel yard for a 3 run jack in the 9th, solidifying a 4-0 win. Justin Verlander pitches his 3rd career no-no…Respect.

  14. MMSUCKS September 2, 2019

    Fuck you PF4L

    1. PF4L September 2, 2019

      Umm…ok…lol

    2. PF4L September 3, 2019

      I’d like to think there was an actual reason for that, other than someone not taking their meds.

      1. MMSUCKS September 3, 2019

        I am a Cub fan . . . I was joking around. Don;t get your panties in an uproar . . .

    3. PF4L September 3, 2019

      That’s it huh, no reasoning?

      I guess we’ll move forward with that then, but no crying.

      1. PF4L September 3, 2019

        We must have posted at the same time. That’s kind of what i figured, hence the “lol”. No panties roared.

        Last season’s finish still hurts, i understand…..carry on

        1. PF4L September 3, 2019

          I don’t know about anyone else, but this site is breaking apart as far as showing post, showing the right amount of comments, etc. Maybe it’s just me, idk.

          1. PF4L September 3, 2019

            Cubs fan and a Packer fan? Not sure how that works but then again i’m old school.

          2. MMSUCKS September 3, 2019

            Oh, I’m old school as well (over 60)! But I Never was much of a Brewer fan. Went to college in Illinois, and stayed for many years. Just became a Cub fan because I got to watch nearly every game on WGN, year in and year out.

  15. PF4L September 2, 2019

    This is what happens when you have time on your hands the way i do these days. the following is a quote that Kizer said in an interview with USA Today back in 2017, comparing himself to Patrick MaHomes.
    ***
    “Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches,” Kizer told USA Today. “No one else game plans the way I do. No one else prepares the way I do. No one else knows football the way I do. No one else is as big as I am. No one else is as powerful a runner as I am. Pat Mahomes might throw the ball 80 yards and I can only throw the ball 72, but I guarantee he can’t throw an out route the way I can.”
    ***
    First year as starting QB results….
    MaHomes …PR-113.8..NFL MVP, Pro Bowl…1st team All-Pro.
    ***
    Kizer…PR- 60.5 (sent packing, twice)
    ***
    Moral of the story? Talk is cheap. Show me, don’t fucking tell me. Don’t tell me how your going to punch someone in the mouth, don’t tell me how good a draft pick will be in the NFL (before he plays a game). Don’t tell me how strong a defense/team is, before they play a game. Do something first…or like i tell viking fans….win something first, then you can speak.
    ***
    I’m so happy that we start playing real football games this Thursday, now finally, all the bull shit talk takes a back seat to reality.

    In other news: it pays to have good friends that are willing to come over and visit their crippled busted up friend and make homemade pizza’s cooked in my smoker while watching a replay of Super Bowl LIII. Life is good.

    Bon Appetit

  16. PF4L September 3, 2019

    This dude has it right….
    ***
    S9 hours ago
    If Bears are legit contenders, they have to score more TDs than field goals, unlike last year. This year is on Trubisky, make no mistake about it.