Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NFC North Actually The Toughest Division in NFL For 2024 | Deadspin.com

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Maybe you’ve heard the joke somewhere along the way.

It goes like this: How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?

Answer: It’s a really obscure number. You’ve probably never heard of it.

If anything can heal this divided nation of ours, it might be hipster jokes. Surely, we all can set aside our differences and chuckle at the people who obsess over skinny jeans and artisan soaps.

But let’s be honest. There is something kind of intriguing about hipsters. There is something appealing about the notion of discovering something before it becomes mainstream.

For some, it’s a band. For others, it might be a dive bar or a taco spot that is a well-kept secret.

Can someone be an NFL hipster, then?

Sure, why not? Let’s give it a try.

Lame-stream take: The AFC North is the toughest division in football.

Super cool-person hipster take: The NFC North is actually the toughest division in football. (It’s a really obscure division, you’ve probably never heard of it.)

In all seriousness, the NFC North in 2024 could be the football equivalent to saying you followed the Foo Fighters back when they played tiny clubs.

Think about it. Every single team in this division could be sneaky good this season.

The Detroit Lions already have announced themselves to the league. Detroit went 12-5 last season to win the NFC North for the first time since 1993. They won a postseason game for the first time since 1992.

This year, the Lions could be even better.

The same is true for the Green Bay Packers, who finished second in the division last season. Jordan Love finished the season significantly better than how he started it, and the Packers’ trajectory is pointed upward as the franchise embraces life after Aaron Rodgers.

How about the Vikings and Bears, who finished tied for third in 2023?

Start with the Bears, who no longer resemble the laughingstock that languished on Chicago’s lakefront for the last however many years.

Top pick Caleb Williams has all the physical tools to become the franchise’s best quarterback since — not even joking — Sid Luckman, who played from 1939-50. He also has unconstrained confidence, which should serve him well in a city that is looking for him to be the savior.

The Bears used to bring in rookie quarterbacks and surround them with shoddy offensive linemen and catching-impaired receivers, but that is not the case anymore. Williams steps into a great situation with D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen and first-round pick Rome Odunze at receiver, and he has solid blocking in front of him and dual-threat running backs behind him.

How about the Vikings? Sure, Kirk Cousins chased the Kohl’s cash all the way to Atlanta, but Minnesota nabbed Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy with the No. 10 pick. If McCarthy can be a cheaper version of Cousins – which is entirely possible – the Vikings could thrive with a tremendous supporting cast that includes Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and former Packers running back Aaron Jones.

Yes, it’s easier to argue that the AFC North is tops in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers certainly pose a solid foursome.

It’s tough to poke holes in the Ravens, but are we really sure the Bengals, Browns and Steelers are as vaunted as they once were? Are those who champion the AFC North as the league’s best more focused on the recent past instead of the near future?

Because if you want to know the next big thing, we’re telling you, it’s the NFC North.

Now where did we leave our fedora?

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