(CBS Minnesota) — The Green Bay Packers, down NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, dominated the NFC North past season. Rodgers returns nether halfway for the Packers, contempt immoderate offseason play that brought into question whether helium would stay with the team. His beingness solidifies Green Bay arsenic the part favourite going into the season.
The Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears each person immoderate questions astatine the backmost position. Kirk Cousins has won 1 playoff crippled with the Vikings successful his 3 seasons, contempt what galore considered playoff-caliber squads. Being unvaccinated, helium could miss clip this play owed to unwellness and NFL protocols. The Lions traded distant longtime person Matthew Stafford for chap erstwhile first-overall prime Jared Goff. The ex-Ram volition look to flooded caller turnover issues successful starring the subpar Lions. The Bears person their backmost of the aboriginal successful rookie Justin Fields. But helium volition beryllium watching Andy Dalton from the sidelines until his accidental arrives.
Being the archetypal week of the season, each 4 teams are tied for the part lead. That astir apt won’t last. CBS Minnesota sports anchor Norman Seawright III looks astatine the Week 1 matchups successful the NFL North.
All times listed are Eastern.
Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, September 12 @ 1:00 p.m.
Last season, the Vikings mislaid 5 of their archetypal six games. They were each but eliminated from superior playoff contention by the bye week. Minnesota has the violative weapons to commencement strong. Cousins threw a career-high 35 touchdowns. Dalvin Cook picked up 1,557 yards rushing, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. But, arsenic Seawright noted, “the Vikings discourtesy hasn’t afloat been successful sync successful the preseason. Mike Zimmer was being strategical with that, trying to marque definite helium got each the rookies immoderate looks. See what helium tin get retired of these guys successful the preseason, truthful helium knows what to bash erstwhile gathering extent down the road.”
Tight extremity Irv Smith Jr. was expected to person a breakout season, but is present sidelined for the twelvemonth aft genu surgery. “Tyler Conklin isn’t needfully a immense downgrade,” Seawright pointed out. “He’s good successful that position, but I cognize they truly wanted Irv there.”
Defense should beryllium a squad strength. “The defence evidently figures to beryllium truthful overmuch amended this twelvemonth than it was past year,” according to Seawright. “It has been said that it’s mostly the same. But that ignores the information that Danielle Hunter astatine antiaircraft extremity has returned. Dalvin Tomlinson is there, Patrick Peterson is there. And it’s not conscionable the carnal things they tin do. It’s the mentorship they tin supply for the younger players, which they truly want.”
They’ll person to incorporate a steadfast Joe Burrow starring an inexperienced Bengals squad. It’s unclear if young QB volition person the blocking to enactment upright successful his 2nd season. But helium surely has the targets, namely Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd, to bash immoderate damage.
San Francisco 49ers @ Detroit Lions, Sunday, September 12 @ 1:00 p.m.
These 49ers are overmuch antithetic from the banged-up squad that limped to a 6-10 decorativeness past season. They inactive person immoderate uncertainty astatine quarterback. Despite the beingness of Jimmy Garoppolo, the squad drafted Trey Lance with the 5th wide pick. “I deliberation they’re going to extremity up starting Jimmy Garoppolo, conscionable truthful helium [Lance] benignant of gets an thought of what the crippled is similar with Jimmy doing this thing,” Seawright said. “They inactive look to judge somewhat successful Jimmy, truthful it’s benignant of going to beryllium a flip up betwixt however they consciousness astir these guys.”
The 49ers look to person settled connected Garoppolo for Week 1, a presumption they haven’t wavered from since trading up to draught Lance.
He’ll beryllium up against a young, inexperienced Lions defence that didn’t play good successful the preseason, and inactive has plentifulness of holes. “Detroit’s defence won’t person an reply for this discourtesy truly astatine all,” Seawright said. “So they’ll tally and propulsion each implicit them. At this point, it doesn’t truly substance who that backmost is. They should beryllium good offensively.”
The Lions offense, with Goff alternatively of Stafford, could support things interesting. An improved violative enactment should assistance D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams prime up yards. It’s unclear who Goff volition propulsion to, however, too T.J. Hockenson. “Detroit’s discourtesy seems similar it’s benignant of chaotic successful immoderate of the amended ways,” according to Seawright. “Jared Goff has a batch to prove. So helium volition beryllium a small spot much motivated arsenic quarterback. But they volition person to people a lot, and they volition person to people often, due to the fact that that defence isn’t going to bash them immoderate favors.”
Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday, September 12 @ 4:25 p.m.
The Packers are coming disconnected a 13-3 play that saw them tally distant with the part and autumn conscionable abbreviated of the Super Bowl. The squad averaged a league-high 31.8 points per game, and Rodgers won his 3rd MVP award. The Packers person built a beardown squad astir Rodgers, though possibly not rather beardown capable successful Rodgers’ eyes. Aaron Jones averaged 5.5 yards per transportation en way to a 1,104-yard season. Davante Adams hauled successful 115 passes, including a league-leading 18 touchdowns. Randall Cobb returns to the fold aft a mates seasons distant from the team.
“For arsenic messy arsenic this offseason has been, I deliberation they’re going to beryllium hard to beat,” Seawright said. “Typically speaking, I don’t truly stake against Aaron Rodgers. I request to beryllium overwhelmingly convinced that I should beryllium doing that.”
“He’s coming disconnected an MVP year, and he’ll astir apt beryllium motivated to punctual the enactment why,” Seawright continued. “Until helium gets to the constituent wherever he’s declining, he’s beauteous overmuch going to privation to thrust that until the wheels autumn off. And he’s got Davante Adams astatine wide receiver too, truthful he’ll beryllium comfy doing what helium does.”
The Saints volition beryllium without their ain aboriginal Hall Of Fame QB. Drew Brees’ status aft a decennary and a fractional nether halfway successful New Orleans leaves a large opening to beryllium filled by Jameis Winston, astatine slightest for now. Taysom Hill volition surely spot the tract successful immoderate capableness “Who are they going to instrumentality with?” Seawright wondered. “Around the league, folks are inactive trying to person themselves that Taysom Hill should beryllium a semipermanent quarterback, and I’m not convinced astir that. I thin to autumn a small spot much connected Jameis Winston’s broadside based connected his preseason performance.”
Winston and the Saints discourtesy volition trust heavy connected the multi-dimensional Alvin Kamara for now. Wide receiver volition miss the season’s archetypal 5 games. Running backmost Latavius Murray was precocious released by the team.
Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, September 12 @ 8:20 p.m.
Andy Dalton takes implicit arsenic the Bears’ quarterback, with rookie Justin Fields waiting successful the wings. It won’t beryllium agelong until Fields takes implicit from him, but it besides won’t needfully beryllium this week. The Rams boast 1 of the NFL’s champion defenses, and perchance the NFL’s champion antiaircraft subordinate successful Aaron Donald.
“They privation to marque definite the rookie backmost benignant of gets an thought for the game,” according to Seawright. “So helium doesn’t get bushed up by Aaron Donald close away. I wholly get that. But Justin Fields is truthful good. You’ll person fans calling for him astir apt by the 2nd quarter, similar ‘put him successful close now.’ But you don’t privation to get him mashed up close away. That violative enactment is inactive benignant of suspect. They’re not ace originative connected offense, which isn’t needfully the worst happening successful the world. But you don’t truly privation to enactment your shiny caller backmost retired determination to get bushed up, erstwhile you Andy Dalton has astatine slightest a accidental to marque that a small spot much respectable…”
Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and the Bears’ defence whitethorn person their ain struggles. Matthew Stafford comes successful arsenic the Rams’ starting quarterback, successful a commercialized that sent Jared Goff to Detroit. “Stafford wants to shot retired this year,” said Seawright. “He wants to beryllium he’s got thing near successful him. McVay is going to fto him bash it. He’ll springiness him a batch of creativity, a batch of weapons to enactment with. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, they volition springiness that defence immoderate headaches.”