Quarterbacks rule the NFL, which is why the Chicago Bears had difficulty competing during the pre-Justin Fields era.
In a division dominated for the last three decades by Green Bay Packers quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, the NFC North has felt like an easy unit to predict at this time of year. But that may be about to change.
NFL.com’s Adam Schein published his ranking of every division based on the strength of its quarterbacks, and while it shouldn’t surprise anyone that his top three divisions are in the AFC, it’s the North reigns supreme in the NFC.
Schein lists the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins and the Detroit Lions’ Jared Goff as the division’s top quarterbacks, which is fair from an outsider’s perspective. Of the four division quarterbacks, they far outpaced the other two in statistics and accomplishments last season.
But the belief in Justin Fields is very real.
“Fields is the most fascinating figure in this quartet, and not just because he took the league by storm last season with 1,143 yards on the ground, including a whopping 10 gains of 20-plus yards. In addition to his dynamic legs, Fields boasts a big arm and solid frame,” Schein wrote. “Chicago upgraded his protection in free agency (OG Nate Davis) and the draft (OT Darnell Wright) while also nabbing him a No. 1 wide receiver via trade (D.J. Moore). It’s Year 3. It’s go time. And I’m a huge believer.”
Fields seems to have a lot of ‘believers’ entering the 2023 season, even outside of Chicago.
Earlier this month, ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Justin Fields in the MVP conversation this season. He clarified on Twitter that he did not believe Fields would win the MVP award, but he believes Fields should play well enough to be in the conversation.
According to Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt, he had a text exchange with Matt Nagy shortly after the latter was fired from Chicago, at a time when Nagy could have easily claimed that he never wanted Fields or that Fields was the one to blame for failures in the 2021 season. Instead, Nagy told Brandt that the Bears ‘have the right guy in Justin. Justin is the answer.’
That has to be music to the ears of Bears fans, who spent much of the last three months enduring nothing but negativity about Chicago’s quarterback situation. Now, after a universally acclaimed offseason for GM Ryan Poles, most of NFL media has bought into the Justin Fields hype.
Now, it’s up to Fields to deliver and move to the top of the NFC North QB rankings.