NFC North Defensive Power Rankings for the 2017 NFL Season
In terms of defensive sides, the NFC North Defensive Power isn’t looking great for 2017. While the Minnesota Vikings have a strong defensive line that places them near to the top of the league, the remaining three teams are easily ranked in the lower end of the bottom 16.Here are our defensive power rankings for each team in the division.
Chicago Bears 4th in the NFC North Defensive Power Ranking
The Bears defense struggled in 2016. They were right down the bottom of the ranking in turnovers, only managing to force 11 throughout the season, and they were close to the bottom in points allowed throughout the year. Cornerback and defensive end are weak points for the team. They don’t have depth and they lack star players that can lift the defense.2017 is not likely to get much better for the Bears. They didn’t pick well in the draft, and there was a lot of criticism aimed at the team for selecting Mitchell Trubisky for offense, over defensive end Solomon Thomas. Their lack of signings mean that the defense doesn’t change much this year, and it’s difficult to place confidence in the players that they already have. Head coach John Fox has done well with previous teams, and is known as a man who is able to create strong defensive sides, but so far, there’s no evidence of that happening with the bears.Both Parnell McPhee and Leonard Floyd are excellent linebackers, but they are simply not enough to hold the defense together. It’s clear that the coaching staff saw their 3 – 13 record better addressed by improving the offense, but we’ll need to wait for the start of the season to see how far that will get them. They finished 4th in the NFC North last year, and this year could be another year to forget.Vic Fangio is the defensive coordinator for the season, and the defensive line will use a 3 – 4 arrangement.
Green Bay Packers 3rd in the NFC North Defensive Power Ranking
Defense is not the strongest aspect of the Green Bay game. The only reason they managed a 10 – 6 record last year, with a Divisional Playoffs win, was because of their offense.The defensive coordinator this season will be Dom Capers, and the coaching staff have selected a 4 – 3 defensive arrangement to start the season with.Knowing that they need to address weaknesses in their defensive game, the team have used the NFL Draft primarily to build up their defensive side. In safety they’ve got Josh Jones, a player who has been labeled as one of the best strong safeties to come out of the Draft. Montravius Adams will play defensive end, and he has also been highly rated throughout his college career. Playing for Auburn he was labeled by many experts as the most “consistent force” in the college team.Veteran Clay Matthews will continue to be important for the defensive side, and it should be remembered that he ranked 57th last year in the NFL Top 100 Players on NFL.com.
Detroit Lions 2nd in the NFC North Defensive Power Ranking
The Lions had a disappointing defense in 2016 that left the offensive side carrying the team to their 9 – 7 record. There’s no question that a stronger defense would help the team and ensure a playoff position this year, and maybe a higher position than 2nd in the NFC North.Teryl Austin is the defensive coordinator for 2017, and the team will use a 4 – 3 defensive layout.The lack of depth in the defense is evident whenever the Lions play, and last year they only managed to create 14 turnovers throughout the season. This is simply not enough and it puts too much pressure on the offensive to perform. The team is not lacking in overall talent but they do need some standout playmakers. Haloti Ngata and Ezekiel Ansah are strong players, but the defensive line as a whole does not come together as it should. This year, they’ve brought in Jarrad Davis from the draft, and the team are putting a lot of faith in him as a potential starter in linebacker. Whether this will be enough to lift the defense significantly, is yet to be seen.
Minnesota Vikings 1st in the NFC North Defensive Power Ranking
The Vikings will use a 4 – 3 base defense this year, with George Edwards as defensive coordinator. The team only finished third in the division last year, but their early games showed an excellent defensive side where they allowed just 63 points in the first five games. This helped their early winning streak with a 5 – 0 record. The problem with Minnesota doesn’t come from the defense, but instead comes from a lack of offensive strength which leaves too much work to do. By the end of the season the team were tired and it showed in the results.The defense is able to put pressure on opposing sides and they’re excellent at creating turnovers. This year they haven’t made major changes to their defensive side (their acquisitions this year were more focused on offense) which means that they’ll have the same high quality defense coming into 2017. If they manage to sort the offensive out then they will be a stronger team overall this year, and their 2017 record should be much better if the defense doesn’t need to carry the whole team. Both Dalvin Cook and Sam Bradford will continue to be key players this season.