Why the Lions and Bears are set to be the Next Juggernauts of the NFC North

The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and Philadelphia Eagles are usually the teams that are mentioned by NFL fans when asked what teams have the brightest futures. Don’t get me wrong, these fans are absolutely correct, as those four teams have amazing young quarterbacks, outstanding coaching, and great cornerstone pieces of talent on both sides of the football.

However, I do believe two NFC North teams can make a push to be in that conversation in the next coming years – the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. Draft capital and cap space are what make these teams fit the criteria to be on the rise, putting them in a grand position to draft future superstars and sign experienced veterans.

It’s hard to imagine a world where the Detroit Lions could actually be good, but they are in a prime position to build their best football roster of all time. What sells me on the Detroit Lions is the two first-round draft picks they own. Thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade and the Los Angeles Rams imploding on themselves, Detroit currently owns a top-ten first-round pick. This gives Detroit the perfect opportunity to fix their sluggish run defense by drafting a guy to pair with last year’s number two overall pick: Aidan Hutchinson.

With the Lions still in the playoff race, I expect their second first-round pick to be around 20th overall. The Lions’ 28 million dollars in cap space doesn’t look like that much, but it is the 11th highest in the league. It’s not often that teams in the playoff race have two first-round picks and a load of cap space, but the Detroit Lions managed to do so. Even if the Lions don’t make the playoffs this year, I’d say it’s a lock they do next year if they draft and sign the right guys.

As Detroit plans on fixing their defense, the Chicago Bears need demolition work done all around the roster. With Justin Fields emerging as the next face of the franchise, it has become clear that the Bears’ management needs to surround him with a better-supporting cast, while also improving the defense. Luckily for the Bears, they have 120 million dollars in cap space, a whopping 52 million dollars more than the second-highest Atlanta Falcons’ 68 million. If the Bears want to get back into the win column, they need to spend big bucks on big-time players. Not only can the Bears afford big-time players, but a lot of their cap space can be used to take on a contract of a disgruntled player via trade as well.

The Bears are also sitting at a record of 3-13 and are currently in the midst of a franchise-record nine-game losing streak. But the Bears are not as bad as the numbers show, as they’re 1-7 in one-possession games, meaning they can stick with teams but not close them out. Thanks to fourth-quarter chokes the Chicago Bears are only half a game back from the first overall pick in the 2023 draft, making it possible to draft any player they want or trade back to a quarterback-needy team like Indianapolis or Carolina.

If you’re still not convinced that these two teams are on the come up then I don’t know what to tell you. There has been a lot of talk about the Bears off-season, but I do have to give praise to Detroit’s front office as they have been overlooked recently. I really wish there was a non-fictional simulate to the off-season button because I can’t wait to see the moves that Ryan Poles does over the off-season. Let’s just hope the Packers don’t find themselves at the top of the division again.
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