Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Don’t sweat the loss of wide receiver Jordy Nelson to an ACL tear. The Packers’ passing game is a well-oiled machine that will plug in new pieces and keep chugging with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. Factor in Clay Matthews and a solid defense, and Green Bay should have the division crown locked up by December once again.
Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
The return of Adrian Peterson will make second-year passer Teddy Bridgewater’s life a lot easier. He’s the team’s most competent passer since Brett Favre retired in 2010, and the duo will make the Vikings worth watching this season. If a few breaks go their way, and the defense plays its part, they might be in the wild card hunt.
Detroit Lions (7-9)
Ndamukong Suh left for Miami and dealt Detroit a big blow. The league’s premier defensive tackle was often in trouble, but this defense has no bite without him. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and his record-setting target Calvin Johnson will be shouldering quite a load to keep this team afloat. It may be too much to ask.
Chicago Bears (5-11)
Hard to see how the Bears improved over the past eight months. First-round pick Kevin White was expected to create a great receiver combo with Alshon Jeffery, but White could miss a big chunk of the season after surgery. This might be the last year the NFL counts Jay Cutler as a starting quarterback unless he puts together a consistent campaign.