|Team||Overall Rank||Offense Rank||Defense Rank||Special Teams|
One note; these rankings are not adjusted to reflect strength of schedule, which actually should hurt all four NFC North teams because collectively the division has only played two games against a team currently ranked in the Football Outsiders Top 10. The Bears beat the Bengals in Chicago, and the Packers lost in Cincinnati. Also, that does not include the 49ers, who are currently ranked number twenty-seven overall, right below the Browns.
Which team might be expected to improve as the season goes on? The Bears defense was the top rated unit in 2012 according to Football Outsiders, but the firing of Lovie Smith and the recent season ending injury to DT Henry Melton might keep them from moving up the rankings. The Packers defense can't get much worse, and it's more likely that they get better once all the starters return from their hamstring injuries. Detroit's rankings are basically the same as last year, and their defense might slip once they start playing against above average offenses (the only good one they've played so far has been Washington's). Unless RB Adrian Peterson turns back into Superman, I don't know how the Vikings can realistically expect to improve.
Currently the Packers's divisional record stands at 0-0. Once they start winning their divisional games, which will begin on October 6th when they host the Lions, they'll start moving up in the rankings and the standings. They've had two tough road losses so far this season, but those losses will matter little if they go 6-0 in the division. Get healthy, forget the past, and just win the games they expect to win.