What every NFC North team needs do before Week 1


DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 15: Frank Ragnow #77 of the Detroit Lions plays against the Los Angles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 13-10. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It’s been a division dominated by one team the past two seasons. But the Green Bay Packers and their NFC North neighbors all still have plenty to do.

It’s been a foursome dominated by one team the past two seasons. The Green Bay Packers have won back-to-back NFC North titles. But in 2019, they were joined in the playoffs by the 10-6 Minnesota Vikings. This past season, the Chicago Bears were the NFC’s No. 7 seed with an 8-8 record.

There’s a new head coach in Detroit, a new starting quarterback in the Windy City and a continuing issue in “Titletown” surrounding the organization and the 2020 NFL MVP. And by the time you read this, the saga may have taken more twists and turns. In any case, each of these teams still have some things to settle before they embark on the league’s 102nd season.

Detroit Lions: Establish a physicality on both sides of the ball

The franchise’s newest sideline leader is Dan Campbell, who enjoyed a brief stint as the interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015. He comes over from the Saints after a five-year stint with that team. And it’s safe to say that he’s made quite the early impression during his press conferences.

The Matt Patricia Era – which lasted less than three seasons – was nothing short of disastrous for a team that appeared to be making strides under Jim Caldwell. The Lions owned a combined 36-28 regular-season mark under his guidance and the club reached the playoffs twice. Detroit failed in both of those attempts but keep in mind that Caldwell’s final season still resulted in a 9-7 record.

The past three seasons, the team owns a combined 14-33-1 mark in 2020, featured a defensive unit that allowed a stunning 65 offensive touchdowns. Detroit also surrendered 519 points, the second-highest single-season total in NFL annals.

Campbell looks to change all that. An offensive front with some talented pieces now has arguably the best tackle in the 2021 draft in Penei Sewell. New general manager Brad Holmes and Campbell hope to establish a new mindset for a team that has struggled to find a running game for seven seasons. Physical football is the goal and the Lions have work to do before they open the year at home against the 49ers.

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