Power ranking all 8 NFL Divisions and where the Bengals stand

Dec 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader (98) reacts after
Dec 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader (98) reacts after / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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5. NFC North

While the Packers were the team to beat for the past couple decades, future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers has been traded to the New York Jets. This changing of the guard signals a new start for the four teams in the NFC North as the division is now up for grabs.

The Lions have rebuilt their defense the past two seasons, finding a Pro Bowler in third-round pick Kerby Joseph, and the rookie of the year in Aidan Hutchinson. They took a huge swing in free agency, securing the 2022 league leader in interceptions, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and solid cornerback Cameron Sutton. This Lions’ roster has one of the best mixes of high-upside players while also being young and fresh.

The Packers have typically always had a solid defense under Rodgers' tenure, and they have doubled down on key areas of concern this past draft. They do not have many household names, save from Jaire Alexander, but they remain a very solid group of players.

When healthy, Danielle Hunter is a force to be reckoned with on the Vikings' d-line, but aside from Byron Murphy Jr, Harrison Smith, and Jordan Hicks, the Vikings’ defense lacks consistent players with explosive traits. Hunter notched twelve sacks in 2022 and cruised to a stellar 86.3 grade. However, Hunter lacks playmakers around him, with the loss of linebacker Eric Kendricks in free agency hurting this once highly-productive defense.

The Bears, oh where do we begin? This team’s defense brings down the NFC North in this divisional ranking. If the Chicago front office truly wants to give Justin Fields a chance at a playoff berth, they need to make bigger moves than overpaying linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Although the former 16th overall pick from 2018 registered a career-high 79.0 grade on Pro Football Focus in 2022, it was his only season recording a grade above 61. Edmunds has been inconsistent and was no doubt bolstered by Buffalo’s defense this past season.