The NFC North features some of the best quarterbacks in the league and the expectations for their unit is certainly high. There are a couple quarterback battles taking place in the division, but we’ll gauge our focus as to who we envision will be the Week 1 starting quarterback for each team.
Let’s dive into the early outlooks for each starting quarterback in the NFC North.
Chicago Bears: Andy Dalton
The Bears have reiterated multiple times that even though they traded up to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Andy Dalton will be their guy from the jump. Dalton is an established quarterback who has the tools to put up solid numbers, but he’s not going to blow your mind away.
I think Dalton will ultimately end up being replaced by Justin Fields at some point, and I think he’ll only start about six games for the Bears before the transition takes place. My projected stat line for Dalton has him completing about 62 percent of his passes for 1,864 passing yards with a touchdown to interception ratio of 7:5. I think Dalton will break even with a 3-3 record during that span as well.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
While there’s a lot of speculation as to whether Aaron Rodgers will even be in Green Bay in 2021 or not, as long as he’s still on the roster, he’s going to be considered in all predictions surrounding him and the Packers. As we all saw, Rodgers took home the league’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2020 and he will be looking to back up that season in 2021 with another NFC North championship and hopefully a Super Bowl appearance.
I think as long as Rodgers plays in Green Bay, he has a great shot at seeing continued success. I think Rodgers will start all 17 games for the Packers, sport a 13-4 win-loss record, and complete around 62.4 percent of his passes. I also believe that Rodgers will toss 34 touchdowns and six interceptions, while racking up 4,200 passing yards.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins seems to never get enough credit for putting up rather consistent stat lines, but the main reason for that is because he struggles to move the ball down the field a lot of times. Cousins is a good quarterback, but he isn’t really great at anything in particular and doesn’t offer a whole lot of mobility at the quarterback position.
While Cousins has some knocks, he does deserve more credit as one of the most consistent signal callers in the league, which is certainly difficult to find these days. My projected stat line for Kirk Cousins looks like this: 8-9 record, 67.2 completion percentage, 28 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 4,687 passing yards.
Detroit Lions: Jared Goff
The Lions haven’t had a full-time quarterback change since 2009, but a new coaching staff lead by Dan Campbell brought new talent to the roster as well. Campbell’s first order of business was dealing away quarterback Matthew Stafford, which he managed to do with the Rams agreeing to a deal that would give Detroit Jared Goff in return.
It’s hard to predict what Goff will do in his first season in Detroit, as the team doesn’t have a lot of good weapons for Goff to throw the ball to. My stat line for Goff looks like this: 5-12 record, 61.6 completion percentage, 3,941 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. Detroit won’t be a contender in the NFC North this year.