Robert Weintraub Robert Weintraub
Staff Writer NY Times best seller Author Decatur, GA
Follow Email Archive in Extra Points Rob Weintraub’s 2020 All-NFC North Team March 03, 9:19 am ET 15 Chicago Bears ER Khalil Mack Photo: USA Today Sports Images Log in or register to post comments
The first goal every NFL team sets is to win its division. How those eight fratricidal battles shake out usually determines team success in any given season. Yet postseason laurels are broken down by conference, if at all. That never made sense to me—even college football selects all-conference teams. Why don’t the pros anoint the best each division has to offer?
Well, now they do. We continue our naming of the All-Division teams with the Black and Blue Boys of the NFC North.
QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB
A-a-Rod trailed only Patrick Mahomes in DYAR, but was best in DVOA and QBR, not to mention MVP votes. Kirk Cousins was ninth; Matthew Stafford, in his farewell to the NFC North, finished 14th overall.
RB: Dalvin Cook, MIN RB: Aaron Jones, GB
Two of the top four backs in the NFL by DYAR. Detroit rookie DeAndre Swift had a strong combined rushing/receiving season, but still trailed the two stars by a comfortable margin.
WR: Davante Adams, GB WR: Justin Jefferson, MIN WR: Adam Thielen, MIN TE: Robert Tonyan, GB
Adams and Jefferson were our top two wideouts in the entire NFL by DYAR. Thielen and his 14 touchdowns get the nod over Allen Robinson, who in fairness was hindered by his quarterback play in Chicago. Tonyan emerged from obscurity to turn in the best season of any tight end not named Travis Kelce.
OT: David Bakhtiari, GB OT: Taylor Decker, DET OG: Elgton Jenkins, GB OG: Dakota Dozier, MIN C: Corey Linsley, GB
The Packers dominated the NFC North, and their overpowering offensive line was a big reason why. Tackle opposite the redoubtable Bakhtiari was wide open, with Decker having the fewest blown blocks among Minnesota’s Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill, Chicago’s Charles Leno and Germain Ifedi, and yet another Packers lineman, Billy Turner. Tough break for Detroit center Frank Ragnow, who was excellent but not quite on par with Linsley.
ER: Khalil Mack, CHI ER: Za’Darius Smith, GB DL: Akiem Hicks, CHI DL: Kenny Clark, GB
Wherefore art thou, Romeo Okwara? Detroit’s pass-rush specialist actually had two more charted pressures than Mack and just one fewer than Smith. But the two All-Div edgers had more well-rounded games than did Shakespeare’s doomed suitor. Clark slips by Hicks’ fellow interior lineman Bilal Nichols in a very close call.
LB: Eric Kendricks, MIN LB: Danny Trevathan, CHI LB: Roquan Smith, CHI
Kendricks missed several games to injury but was outstanding enough when out there (only four missed tackles in 11 games) that he gets on the All-Div team regardless, along with easy choices from the Monsters of the Midway.
CB: Jaire Alexander, GB CB: Kyle Fuller, CHI CB: Jaylon Johnson, CHI S: Adrian Amos, GB S: Harrison Smith, MIN
Only Alexander, perhaps the best corner in the game this season by our numbers, was an obvious choice. As with Kendricks, Johnson was so good (10th in success rate) that he makes the squad despite missing multiple games to injury, as does the slightly more durable Fuller. The redoubtable Smith was one safety, while Amos slips by his Packers teammate Darnell Savage, Anthony Harris of the Vikings, and Detroit’s Duron Harmon for the other spot.
K: Mason Crosby, GB P: Jack Fox, DET RET: Cordarrelle Patterson, CHI
Crosby edged out Chicago’s Cairo Santos, while Fox and Patterson were clear-cut choices.
15 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2021, 6:33pm
1 Very surprised to see…
by raregokus // Mar 03, 2021 – 11:54am
Very surprised to see Trevathan on this list. I thought he took a big step back this year.
Log in or register to post comments 3 Tells you everything about Green Bay’s linebackers.
by techvet // Mar 03, 2021 – 5:00pm
In reply to Very surprised to see… by raregokus
I wonder when a Packer linebacker will appear on this list.
Log in or register to post comments 5 …and remember back
by DIVISION // Mar 03, 2021 – 5:12pm
In reply to Tells you everything about Green Bay’s linebackers. by techvet
…when people were talking about Blake Martinez being overrated.
Well, he’s not!
He was undervalued in Green Bay and has continued his consistent play in New York.
He’s better than anyone Green Bay has now at the position as well.
Log in or register to post comments 8 Green Bay was never going to…
by ChrisLong // Mar 04, 2021 – 12:44pm
In reply to …and remember back by DIVISION
Green Bay was never going to pay an average or even good middle LB 19 mil guaranteed. His cap hit last year was basically the same as all of GB’s off ball LBs combined. They, like many teams, don’t prioritize off-ball linebackers when spending money. If they can get a good one at the right price in the draft, they might. But I think they’re content with Martin and Barnes there, and will spend their money and draft capital on DL, OL, RB, and WR.
Log in or register to post comments 9 Christopher!
by DIVISION // Mar 04, 2021 – 5:52pm
In reply to Green Bay was never going to… by ChrisLong
Most people said Martinez was below average.
I counter that he’s above average. Cap hit notwithstanding, he was better than any of their LB’s on the roster now.
It’s a position of need and GB’s defense was the weak link and will continue to be.
I feel they’ve wasted so much of Rodgers’ prime with bad supporting casts and trying to be cheap on the FA market.
They may have gotten Watt if the someone in the FO actually recruited him like Steve Keim did.
We’ll never know…
Log in or register to post comments 11 However much I would have…
by Wifan6562 // Mar 05, 2021 – 8:50am
In reply to Christopher! by DIVISION
However much I would have loved to see JJ in green and gold, I think it would have been a tough signing. They need to trim cap space, so why spend big on a position where they’re not bad on a guy who’s been hurt for 40% of the games over the past 5 years. I wanted to see it anyway, but it doesn’t seem like a smart move for them.
Log in or register to post comments 12 When all you have is Keke and Lowry
by ImNewAroundThe… // Mar 05, 2021 – 11:50am
In reply to However much I would have… by Wifan6562
and are coming off of two NFCCGs, you can ‘splurge’ on a guy that started 16/16 games last year and over 1000 snaps.
If for nothing else you sell a ton of jerseys.
Log in or register to post comments 13 Agree.
by DIVISION // Mar 05, 2021 – 5:51pm
In reply to When all you have is Keke and Lowry by ImNewAroundThe…
We’ll see if he can stay healthy in Phoenix, but I like his chances of playing 16 games.
Log in or register to post comments 2 Dakota Dozier
by TheAnonymousCo… // Mar 03, 2021 – 1:07pm
Was the weak link on the Vikings OL this year, once Ezra Cleveland took over for the Elflein/Samia mess at RG. Was there really no better guard in the division?
Log in or register to post comments 4 ‘With only the Packers qualifying for the postseason,’
by ImNewAroundThe… // Mar 03, 2021 – 5:10pm
The Bears did as well. They lost to the team that lost to the SB champs
Log in or register to post comments 6 Ah, how soon we forget…
by Vincent Verhei // Mar 03, 2021 – 5:47pm
In reply to ‘With only the Packers qualifying for the postseason,’ by ImNewAroundThe…
Ah, how soon we forget. Thanks, that has been fixed.
Log in or register to post comments 7 The game was on Nickelodeon,…
by Joey-Harringto… // Mar 03, 2021 – 8:02pm
In reply to Ah, how soon we forget… by Vincent Verhei
The game was on Nickelodeon, so I can understand how you mistakenly thought it was a fictional event.
Log in or register to post comments 10 Crazy that this division was…
by Dan // Mar 05, 2021 – 2:09am
Crazy that this division was blessed with a wealth of WRs while you have to dig deep for LBs. I would’ve gone with Allen Robinson over Thielen (though they were both great) and Jamie Collins over Trevathan (though neither was).
Log in or register to post comments 14 I’m very curious why David…
by turnerjack20 // Mar 08, 2021 – 12:54pm
I’m very curious why David Montgomery isn’t more talked about throughout the league. If I watch this guy on film he looks just as solid as a Dalvin Cook or Aaron Jones IMO. Now he’s in the high 20s in almost every DYAR statistical category but could this be due to the handicap placed on him with the Quality of OL play? I just don’t think there are 10-15 running backs better than him if placed in a better situation outside of Chicago.
Also I understand that Crosby was 16 for 16 on FG but I have to give Santos the edge their kicking double the amount of FGs only missing two and only missing 2 XPs I believe all while playing in the Windy City.
Log in or register to post comments 15 Career 4 ypc
by ImNewAroundThe… // Mar 08, 2021 – 6:33pm
In reply to I’m very curious why David… by turnerjack20
is nothing to write home about. Below average both years. Jones 5ypc last two years and Cook 4.8. Both in the top 9 of DVOA and positive. Montgomery 29th and negative.
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