While the teams in the NFC North are by and large contenders for a playoff spot every year, they are not without their issues.
Each team has at least one easily spotted flaw the opposition might take advantage of if it’s not dealt with.
Of course the team with the longest, hardest road is the Minnesota Vikings. There are tons of things we could talk about here and it’s clear that they are rebuilding. However, the biggest problem I see is the amount of weapons second-year quarterback Christian Ponder has to throw to.
Percy Harvin is outstanding, but past him, there’s nobody who really is another top option. They did add a good tight end in John Carlson, but there hasn’t been a move to secure a real threat who can take coverage away from Harvin. Also, while I like Harvin, he’s not quite a field-stretching vertical threat.
The Vikings need to get Ponder some more weapons, not warm bodies.
The Packers have issues on the other side of the ball. This is a defense which did not have nearly enough bodies in opposing backfields, disrupting pass plays. Sure, the cornerbacks struggled (notably Tramon Williams), but ultimately they can only do so much when the quarterback has all day to throw.
Expect this to change in this year’s draft.
What I think the Bears need, and what they think they need, are clearly becoming two very different things. They feel they have the talent to make their offensive line work better, and I say the o-line has been problematic—long before Mike Martz arrived and made it worse.
If they don’t fix it once and for all, they’re going to fall short of the Super Bowl every year, Jay Cutler or not.
Finally, the Detroit Lions have to come up with a solution in the backfield. Jahvid Best is an outstanding running back, but his concussion problems won’t be going away anytime soon and may get worse. Mikel LeShoure is coming off an Achilles injury which can rob players of their explosion and burst—two critical parts of his game. Kevin Smith hasn’t played a whole season, much less remained healthy for one, since his rookie year.
Is this what you want to depend on when you need a hard yard? The Lions have to seriously think about two things. First, how do they get a healthy back to take pressure off the rest of the offense. Secondly, what are they doing wrong that results in them drafting backs who either have injury histories (Best), or don’t but end up hurt (Smith) or in trouble (LeShoure).
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