The NFC North has been one of the better divisions in the league for the better part of a decade.
It typically sends two teams to the playoffs and while it hasn’t had more than two teams above .500 for a few years, I think that is also a testament to just how competitive it is among the teams inside of it.
Unfortunately for us Bears fans, Chicago hasn’t been involved in the playoff race much since 2013, but ideally the team is on the right path back to both relevancy and the playoffs.
The NFC North has plenty of great players, but it made us wonder, who are the best skill players in the division?
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way, first:
Yes, the Green Bay Packers are the Bears’ arch rival. Yes, I hate green and gold more than anyone.
But, they have the best quarterback in the division, and it isn’t even close.
Rodgers is otherworldly in his skillset and play. He makes Hail Marys seem routine, he can escape pressure with the best and throw on the run with incredibly accuracy.
He’s an All-Pro player and one of the three or four best quarterbacks in the league.
While Matthew Stafford has had a good career and has led the Lions to the playoffs and Kirk Cousins brings up the level of QBs in the division, they can’t touch Rodgers. Obviously, Mitch Trubisky is just too young to put into the conversation, but we all hope he can one day be in the conversation for not just being the best in the division but the entire league.
Now that we have complimented our enemy, let’s bring it back to Chicago.
Not only do the Bears have among, if not THE, best running back history in the league, but they have far and away the best backfield in the division.
Jordan Howard is the best running back in the NFC North, bar none.
He has had two straight seasons with over 1,100 rushing yards and has rushed for at least six touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
In fact, last season Howard had as many 100-yard rushing games by himself as all the other running backs in the division had collectively (5).
Dalvin Cook is good, but with just four games to his career, he can’t unseat Howard. The Lions and Packers each have issues at the position. Howard is the king of the NFC backfields.
This one is trickier than it appears. Jordy Nelson is gone from the division, with his best days having left well before that and while there are many well-known names in the division, none really stand out as slam dunk studs.
Stefon Diggs hasn’t had a 1,000 yard season, Golden Tate has had two straight, but barely broke that barrier in either one. Davante Adams has had two straight years with 10+ TD catches, but no 1,000 yard seasons or 80+ catch seasons.
Marvin Jones had his best season as a pro, but that doesn’t automatically shoot him to the top of the board either.
Allen Robinson is now two years and an ACL injury removed from his 80/1,400/14 season, so I can’t launch him to the top either.
That’s why my pick is Adam Thielen.
His touchdown numbers are lacking, with just nine combined the past two seasons, but his catch numbers and yards per catch have been consistent and he’s proved to be a dangerous weapon for the Vikings.
Who would you pick as the best skill position players in the division? Did I miss someone?