NFC North Round-Up: Worst-Case Scenarios for Each Team in 2023

A Cruel Vikings Streak Will Continue if the Eagles Win the Super Bowl
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we went over some of the best-case scenarios for each of the NFC North teams in 2023. However, in all likelihood, this season won’t work out for every team in the division. Today, we are going to discuss some of the worst-case scenarios for the NFC North, but with a caveat. Obviously, the absolute worst-case for each team would be major injuries to young stars, so we’re going to leave those out so as to not get too repetitive.

Chicago’s Money Spent Doesn’t Pay Off

Mar 16, 2023; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds speaks during a press conference at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears spent $169 million in free agency this offseason, including $110 million in guaranteed money. The hope is that this cash paid out will help improve a team that went 3-14 last season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Three of Chicago’s big deals went to LB Tremaine Edwards, DE DeMarcus Walker, and LB T.J. Edwards worth a total of $112.5 million. Additionally, the Bears spent major capital on the offensive line to protect Justin Fields. They paid out $30 million over three years for Nate Davis while also spending the 10th overall pick in the draft on Darnell Wright.

In order to be competitive in the NFC North, they need these new additions to play well and take some pressure off their young QB. They likely haven’t seen enough from Fields at this point in his career to warrant handing out a long-term contract next offseason, but if things begin crumbling around him again, we could see the Bears back in the same spot 12 months from now.

A Jared Goff Regression

Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

In 2022, Jared Goff arguably had the best season of his career, helping the Lions catch fire down the stretch of the year and finishing with a 9-8 record after winning eight of their final 10 games.

When the dust settled, Detroit had scored the fifth-most points in the league, but they also allowed the fifth-most points, essentially evening everything out. Because of that, Detroit’s main focus this offseason was finding playmakers to help improve their defense, but what happens if Goff regresses back to, say, 2021 when he passed for just 3249 yards and 19 TDs over 14 games?

Even if Detroit’s defense improves from last season, it’s unlikely that they’ll go from one of the worst in the league to one of the very best in one year. A regression from their QB would make it tough for them to become true contenders in the NFC.

Green Bay’s Young Offense Doesn’t Click

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) against the Minnesota Vikings during their football game on Sunday, January, 1, 2023 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apc Packers Vs Vikings 3436 010123 Wag

The Green Bay Packers are fully committed to Jordan Love for 2023 after trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. As a result, they spent much of the draft grabbing weapons for him to pass to in TE Luke Musgrave, WR Jayden Reed, and TE Tucker Kraft.

In order to maximize 2023 and 2024 before they have to decide whether or not to pay Love, they need these young weapons to be productive almost immediately. If they aren’t not only does it put the Packers in a tough spot competitively for 2023, but it makes Love’s future with the organization even more unclear.

No One Emerges in the Vikings Secondary

Worst-Case Scenarios
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason (41) runs while Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) defends during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings are banking on Byron Murphy being a CB1 in their defense, but other than that, all faith is on the young defenders to help create a steady secondary. One of Andrew Booth Jr. or Akayleb Evans will probably be the CB2 to immediately begin the season, but with injury troubles hindering them last year and very limited experience, it’s no foregone conclusion that either of them can handle that load.

Minnesota’s offense should remain explosive in 2023, but this franchise is looking to turn into a Super Bowl contender, and that means they need a defense that doesn’t consistently rank among the bottom-five in the league. If the young CBs have more growing pains in 2023, that could complicate the plan for Super Bowl contention.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.