Today we will take a look at two NFC North rivals in the Packers and Vikings. Both teams have high expectations in 2021 and have two of the highest-paid QBs in the league in Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins who both could be playing somewhere else in 2022.
Let’s take a look back at how both teams fared in 2020 and predictions for 2021
The Packers had an incredible season under second-year coach Matt LeFleur as they went 13-3 in the regular season and made it to the NFC championship game. Aaron Rodgers was sensational throughout the year and won the 3rd MVP award of his career by putting up 4,299 yards and passing for 48 TDs.
The Packers looked like a lock to get back to the Super Bowl with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in frigid Lambeau field, but Tom Brady and the Bucs pulled the 31-26 upset to send the Packers home.
A big story over the offseason was Aaron Rodgers demands to be traded out of Green Bay and the Packers refusal to cave into his demands. Rodgers threatened to sit out the season and the Packers eventually caved and reworked his deal allowing him to get out of Green Bay after the 2021 season.
After an odd offseason, the Packers head into 2020 with the same expectations but with the reality that this will be the last year of Rodgers under center. This year could be reminiscent of the Chicago Bulls “The Last Dance” where they are playing with not much to lose and an aggressive mindset with the reality that the roster will likely turnover in 2022.
With Rodgers at QB, the Packers will be favored in the majority of their games and we expect him to have another big year in Green Bay as the rest of the NFC North is still not in the Packers League.
Record Prediction: 12-5, AFC North Champs, Loss in NFC Title
The 2020 Vikings had a disappointed 7-9 finish in 2020 as pressure started to mount on Kirk Cousins. The Vikings came into the year with high expectations after making the playoffs in 2019 but battled a slow start and injury issues early on.
Cousins had a good year statistically with over 4200 yards and 35 TDs and Dalvin Cook had a monster year for fantasy owners with nearly 2000 all-purpose yards and 17 TDs.
Rookie wideout Jordan Jefferson had 1400 receiving yards and should have a big year in 2021.
The Defense was one of the worst in the league and struggled against high-scoring offenses which left the Vikings playing from behind most of the season and led to them missing the playoffs.
The Vikings beefed up on defense this offseason by signing Sheldon Richardson and Dalvin Peterson on the defensive line and veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson to help on the back end. Cousins, Cook, and Jefferson may be the best trio for fantasy football in the league this year and all should have monster years in front of a packed US Bank stadium.
Mike Zimmer is a good defensive coach historically and should have the Vikings back in the middle of the pack defensively. The Vikings should be back in the playoff hunt in a tough NFC in 2021 as Zimmer and Cousins will be under plenty of pressure to avoid the hot seat.
2021 Prediction: 10-7, NFC Wildcard