Can the Lions Repeat As Division Winners? PFN Simulations Predict Detroit Will Defend NFC North Title

With OTAs in action, PFN's Playoff Predictor has tried to figure out who will win the NFC North. Who came out on top?

The NFC North has been a historic division dating all the way back to the inception of the NFL. Everyone knows what this group brings every single season.

From the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers going at it every single year. And don’t sleep on the Minnesota Vikings, either. This division has it all, and 2024 won’t be anything less exciting than usual, if not more.

With OTAs underway, we used Pro Football Network’s NFL Playoff Predictor tool to try to predict who will win the NFC North.

Lions Dominate, Packers Challenge for NFC North Title

In our simulations, the Lions get it done once again, having the best odds to win the division and host another playoff game. However, the Packers weren’t far behind and have a fair shot as well.

The Lions won the NFC North for the first time in 2023 and are returning a really good roster going forward. Additionally, they added talent in both free agency and the draft.

They’ll face a tougher schedule in 2024, but they are more than built for it.

The Packers were one of the youngest teams in the NFL in 2023 and were the youngest team to ever win a playoff game. As a result, Green Bay is just getting started.

In 2024, the Packers will be more developed and have added plenty of talent. If they can put it together and quarterback Jordan Love can have another really good year, they could a big threat.

Neither the Bears nor the Vikings had great odds to win the division, but the predictor did give the Bears their flowers. However, PFN’s simulators suggest a battle between the Packers and Lions for the NFC North.

Is Chicago on the Rise?

The Bears had the first overall pick in 2023, and the expectations aren’t lofty for 2024. But their team, especially the offense, is completely different moving forward.

After adding Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze in the draft, the Bears are already looking new. Additionally, they brought back DJ Moore and added Keenan Allen.

The Bears could very well struggle again, but the team’s upside is definitely there and worthy of attention. A coaching staff on the hot seat fighting for their job could also give the entire squad more incentive to make a run.

MORE: Bears May Be Poised for Monster Year Due to Easy Schedule

However, the Bears will still ultimately have to go through their own division first before anything.

Potential NFL Playoff Matchups

For the Lions, their most common playoff matchup is the New Orleans Saints, though it fluctuated.

More often than not, the Lions were a top-two seed, meaning they’d face one of the lower seeds that gets into the playoffs. Some other teams they faced were the Atlanta Falcons, and both the Packers and Bears.

For the Packers, they most frequently faced division winners, such as Dallas, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and even the Lions. They also, however, matched up with the Falcons and Los Angeles Rams.

For the Bears, their playoff appearances saw them face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, along with the Lions. The Vikings, on the other hand, made the playoffs just once, facing the Eagles.

What Team Will Get the No. 1 Pick in the 2025 NFL Draft?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the Vikings have the best odds in the NFC North, getting the top pick 6% of the time. No other team in the division got the top pick a single time, though the Bears did get the second pick 6% of the time.

Neither the Packers nor the Lions got a top-five pick even once.

KEEP READING: Top 100 Prospects to Watch in the 2025 NFL Draft

The Vikings head into 2024 with no designated quarterback. First-round pick J.J. McCarthy is the favorite due to his draft position, but there’s a chance free agent signing Sam Darnold could find his way into the starting lineup.

This comes as a major change from previous years, where Kirk Cousins gave Minnesota plenty of consistency.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles