In 2009-2010, the NFC North will be a very interesting division to watch. If Brett Favre attempts to make yet another comeback, it will be the MOST interesting division in all of football.
Reports today indicate that Favre told the Vikings coach Brad Childress that he will not sign with the team and will stay retired. It is only mid-May though, so things could change a dozen times between now and August.
Each team will have something for everyone to keep an eye on.
In Detroit, how will first overall pick Matthew Stafford perform for a team that went an unprecedented 0-16 the previous season.
In Chicago, will offseason addition of quarterback Jay Cutler be what the Chicago Bears need to reach the postseason?
In Green Bay, how will Aaron Rodgers perform in his second full season as a quarterback, and will switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 improve the Packers' defense?
And in Minnesota, will Favre feel the itch to play again? If Favre keeps his word and remains retired, then is Sage Rosenfels the answer at quarterback for the Vikings?
If asked how strong this division is, I would have to say that right now it's in the middle of the pack, with the potential to be very strong.
Once again the Vikings will have a top notch defense, and the best running back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson. But will rookie wide-out Percy Harvin be able to contribute right away? And if not, who is going to step up?
There is good news for both Chicago and Detroit. For the Bears the good news is that they have Adrian Peterson. The bad news is, it's not THAT Adrian Peterson. The good news for the Lions is they have the No. 1 overall pick at quarterback and a top-five wide receiver. The bad news is they are still the Lions and don't have much of competing for the division.
In Green Bay, once again expectations are high. The Packers are very talented on offense and might have the best group of line backers in the entire NFL. If not for a ton of injuries, and atrocious fourth quarter defense, the Packers would have run easily won the division last season.
So, what are the Packers' chances to win the division this season? One would have to think pretty good. They will continue to put up points, and should have a much improved defense. One question will be whether or not Aaron Kampman will be able to make the transition from Pro-Bowl linemen to linebacker.
I believe (if they can stay healthy), the Packers should win at least 12 games. Their schedule outside of the NFC North looks to be quite friendly. Tough games at Pittsburgh and at Arizona will be tough, and they have two home games against quality opponents (Dallas and Baltimore) but beyond that the Packers should have no problems.
If I had to pick a team that could give the Packers a run for their money in the division I guess it would have to be the Vikings. I like what the Bears did in adding Jay Cutler, and though neither Minnesota or Chicago is great on offense, I have to say that having Adrian Peterson and a great defense is more than enough to try and defend their division title.
However, when it's all said and done I firmly believe the Packers will be NFC North champions and be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.