NFC North: Preview and Predictions
The NFC North seems to have more drama than a Jerry Springer Show. The 2008 Season and 2009 Offseason may have been the craziest in the history of the division. All four teams seemed to make headlines. From "0-16" to "The Brett Favre Saga," the NFC North has been a lot of fun to watch.
There are many unanswered questions in this division, and through this article, I hope to answer one: Who will come out on top?
Along the ride, some more may be answered. So fasten you seat belts, as we get ready to take a ride on the roller coaster we like to call the NFC North.
First off is Detroit. We start with the Lions because, just like the beginning of a roller coaster, you can only go up from where you are.
If you don't already know, the Lions didn't have the greatest season last year. They say you split the year up into four game quarters to evaluate teams. In my evaluation, I saw the same thing throughout; they were just plain awful.
After the first four, the fire was diminishing. After the next four, the fire was out. After the next four, the fire was back, just to simply get one win. After the final four, the fire may as well been Lake Michigan.
But a new season brings new hopes, the hopes of at least one win.
Possibly, the biggest burden of an 0-16 season is the number 1 overall pick in the draft. It was a lose-lose situation. Either you pick the quarterback and overpay him to the point that it's almost gross, or you take the "safe pick" and the quarterback goes to a great situation and succeeds. They chose the first one.
Don't get me wrong, if Matthew Stafford is handled well in Detroit, and with their wide receivers, they could turn out to be a good team to start a rebuilding project with. But Matt, lets get serious. Can he really make an immediate impact on this franchise? Personally, I don't think so.
One tip of advice to Lions' fans: Keep your hopes at one win.
Your about to reach the top and... whoosh! You quickly go down! Whats next? The Chicago Bears.
After a 2008 season where they barely missed the playoffs, Chicago made one of the biggest moves of the offseason when they traded for Jay Cutler. They brought the hometown hero back to Illinois and things couldn't be better. We'll see how long the excitement last.
What can we expect from this Chicago team? You made the fans happy. You finally have a Pro Bowl quarterback.
As said above: Whats next? Management brought in a gunslinger, but they have a conventional offense. They brought in a quality tackle to protect the quarterback while he's throwing to who? That's whats next! Get some receivers!
The Bears starting receiver is Devin Hester, who would be third string at best in any other system. They did bring in Orlando Pace, but one lineman isn't enough to keep your precious little Cutler upright, especially in that division.
I'm excited to see how good he is throwing from his back, because I didn't see that very much in Denver.
The good thing for Chicago is there dominate defense. It should give Cutler more chances to try and stand up.
You could say I have a biased opinion on Cutler and the Bears because of how Cutler betrayed my team, but I did this as fair as I could. The Bears will be a good team, but I'm just not sure if this franchise knows what direction they're heading in.
Twist! Turn! Flip! Up! Down! The excitement rolls on with the Minnesota Vikings.
September 30th, 2007 - It's a normal day in Minnesota. People are eating breakfast, going to church, and getting ready to head to the Metrodome for the Vikings game. This week they are playing the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre. Once it reached game-time, this ordinary Sunday in Minnesota turned into an epic day in the history of sports. On this day, Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's all-time touchdown record.
Little did Favre know, this was the last touchdown he would ever throw in Minnesota. After retiring, unretiring, and getting traded to the Jets, Brett Favre has now re-retired. At least for now. The Vikings are trying to re-unretire Favre and bring him in to lead their team.
This would break the hearts of Packers' fans. Their hero for so many years would leave for the most hated team in Wisconsin. Well sorry Packers' fans, it really might happen.
Whether this trade goes down or not, the Vikings seem to be lookin' good. With Adrian Peterson at running back, a quarterback is not a necessity. This is already an exciting offense, and the addition of Brett Favre would help, but not as much as expected.
A dominating defense and a running game superior to any other gives the Vikings a chance to compete for an NFC Championship this year. Hopefully they can build off last year's success.
Green Bay Packers
Ahh... Finally! The ride is over. Let's calm down and close with the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers have one thing that none of these other teams have. That is stability.
Last season, Aaron Rogers got his first chance to start at quarterback in the NFL. This move was a controversial one. They had the choice between Super Bowl-winning, record-breaking Brett Favre or Aaron Rogers, who has never started a game in this league.
Who should we choose? The obvious choice: Aaron Rogers? That doesn't make sense, but as we know, in the NFL, many teams don't do the ordinary.
The Packers made the right choice. Although Aaron Rogers started kind of rough, he shook of the nerves and calmed down. He began to show promise late last season. On the other hand, Brett Favre had a fast start with the Jets, but began to diminish and turned out to be awful toward the end of the season.
In 2008, the Packers missed the playoffs with a 6-10 record and received the 9th pick in the Draft. With this pick they selected coveted Boston College DT B.J. Raji.
Then, they traded up in the first round once again and selected USC LB Clay Matthews. Both are sure to help them in the transition to a 3-4 Defense.
The Packers offense seems to be set for this season. A power running game should be a good complement to the steady passing game. Green Bay seems to be sitting pretty good as the most balanced team in a crazy division.
As pictured in this photo, Adrian Peterson is taking the ball and running away from a defender for a touchdown. In my projections, I see him running with the division. Here are my projections:
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Chicago Bears
4. Detroit Lions
I am pretty confident in two of these team's positions. The first is the Vikings. With a running back that can break it any play, and an unstoppable defense, I'm almost positive that they will take the division. The second is Lions. No need for explanation. (Sorry Lions' fans.)
The 2 & 3 spots are somewhat of a toss up for me. I don't know what to expect from the Bears and I'm counting on Aaron Rogers improving in his second season.
Thanks for reading! Next week is the AFC South. Here is the schedule for the series:
*May 17: AFC North: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/177693-afc-north-preview-predictions
*May 23/24: NFC North
*May 30/31: AFC South
*June 6/7: NFC South
*June 13/14: AFC West
*June 20/21: NFC West
*June 27/28: AFC East
*July 4/5: NFC East
July 11/12: League Wrap-up
* - Slide Show