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NBC’s Peter King picks Packers to win NFC North over Bears

NBC’s Peter King picks Packers to win NFC North over Bears

The start of the regular season means it’s prediction time for writers and analysts across the NFL, and NBC Sports' Peter King always gives thoughtful answers in his Football Morning in America column.

This year, he thinks the NFC North is the toughest division to project because the Bears, Packers and Vikings are all in position for a playoff push.

In the end, he sided with the best quarterback.

“I’m betting on Aaron Rodgers, healthy and presumably challenged by Matt LaFleur, over Mitchell Trubisky,” King wrote. “The Bears’ defense could be the NFL’s best. I’m still unconvinced about the offense, which averaged 19.5 points in the last six games last year. And heaven knows if they’ll ever find a kicker who can win games. If I’m wrong, it will be because Matt Nagy figures out how to compensate for what Trubisky can’t do.”

He also believes the Packers defense will be improved with the additions of Preston Smith and Zadarius Smith at outside linebacker.

King doesn’t think any of the NFC North teams will make it to the conference championship, but he does have Khalil Mack third on his Defensive Player of the Year award predictions behind Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan.

Bears fans might not be thrilled with what King sees in his crystal ball, but it’s a more optimistic prediction than what his former employer, Sports Illustrated, printed in their NFL preview issue.

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Texans give up more for Tunsil and Stills than Bears traded for Mack

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USA Today

Texans give up more for Tunsil and Stills than Bears traded for Mack

The NFL’s cutdown deadline entering the regular season has become one of the most exciting days of the football calendar.

The Houston Texans followed the tradition started last year by the Bears, crafting a blockbuster trade of their own on Saturday afternoon.

The Texans sent two first-round picks, a second-round pick and two players to the Miami Dolphins for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills and a fourth-round pick.

Houston, which doesn’t have a true general manager this season, sent more to the Dolphins than the Bears gave up for Khalil Mack.

Ryan Pace gave up two first-round picks, a third-round pick and a sixth-round pick, but he also brought back a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round pick with his star pass rusher.

Tunsil and Stills are both instant upgrades for the Texans at positions of need, but neither are superstars like Mack.

The Bears also locked in their prized acquisition to a long-term contract before securing the trade. The Texans… didn’t get that far.

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Top NFL offensive coaches say Vic Fangio’s defense is hardest to read and attack

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USA TODAY

Top NFL offensive coaches say Vic Fangio’s defense is hardest to read and attack

When NFL analysts predict the Bears defense will take a step back in 2019, one of the biggest factors is the change in defensive coordinator.

Chuck Pagano is loved by his players everywhere he coaches, but he might not be at the elite level of defensive scheming Chicago had under Vic Fangio.

Three of the NFL’s best young offensive coaches see the now-former Bears defensive coordinator as the toughest to deal with.

ESPN asked Rams head coach Sean McVay, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur which coach’s defense is the toughest to read and attack.

“There are so many guys and every system is different, but I look at Vic Fangio,” LaFleur said. “Just the fronts and the multiple looks you get from him. That's incredibly difficult.”

“My hardest has probably always been Vic Fangio,” Shanahan said. “He does so many things with his personnel groupings that he puts you in a bind with protections. He ties a lot of stuff together.”

“For us, I think Fangio and the Bears did an outstanding job of a sound scheme with versatility mixed with great players,” McVay said.

Both McVay and Shanahan played against the No. 1 defense last season, and neither was able to reach the endzone thanks to Fangio’s work.

LaFleur hasn’t coached in a game against Fangio since 2013, when the young offensive mind was the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins and lost to Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers without scoring a touchdown.

Fangio’s reputation as a top defensive mind extends beyond his work with the 2018 Bears. Pagano might blitz more, but opposing coaches sound relieved that they won’t have to face the same defensive coordinator in Chicago this season.

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