The Sportmeisters NFL Season Preview: NFC North

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The Sportmeisters NFL Season Preview: NFC North
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

By Derek and Ryan of The Sportmeisters

With the NFL season fast approaching, Sportmeisters Derek and Ryan break out the crystal ball and forsee the future of all 32 NFL teams. Today, Derek and Ryan look at the NFC North, and discuss how they got to their respective decisions. What follows is a transcript of that discussion.

Ryan:

Derek:

  • Minnesota Vikings: 11-5
  • Green Bay Packers: 10-6
  • Chicago Bears: 10-6
  • Detroit Lions: 2-14

Ryan: Derek, we definitely have some big discrepancies here in the NFC North.

Derek: Ryan, the NFC North will be extra competitive this year, as all four teams have made major upgrades. Even though Detroit is in the league, there is a strong chance for three of the four teams to be over .500.

Ryan: I don’t think its going to shape out that way, and the Brett Favre experiment will backfire, while the Jay Cutler era starts shining in Chicago.

Derek: Chicago went out and traded for their first real 'Franchise Quarterback' in over 20 years. Jay Cutler and a revitalized Brian Urlacher will lead the Bears, and Greg Olsen, Matt Forte, and Devin Hester will have MONSTER years.

Ryan: Absolutely, I am completely sold on the Bears in 2009, making strides reminiscent of their 2006 team, with the most complete team since 1985.

Derek: I’m going to disagree. I think they will lose key divisional games to Green Bay and Minnesota, as well as games vs. Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Arizona that may hold them out of the playoffs for a third straight season.

Ryan: I’ll agree on Pittsburgh taking down Chicago, but I expect victories over the rest except for Atlanta and Minnesota.

Derek: Speaking of Minnesota, they have now gone out and signed Brett Favre to run the offense and with him at the helm, RB Adrian Peterson may see a few less eight-man fronts, or it could be the other way around and because Peterson is so good, Favre may have his receivers one on one and be able to torch the defense.

Ryan: No way Derek! Favre is going to bust completely for the Vikings. He’s still hurt, he’s missed all of the preseason, he has no respect from his team right now, how can people call this team a Super Bowl contender?

Derek: Even the great Favre won’t be able to win them all, and losses to Pittsburgh, Arizona, Carolina, Green Bay, and Chicago will make this a close race at the end of the year.

Ryan: I feel an under-performing team falls to 7-9, punctuated by losses to Green Bay, Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the New York Giants. Then, finally, the Brett Favre era will be over.

Derek: Let’s move on to Brett Favre’s old team, the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay went out and hired a new Defensive Coordinator and will go with the 3-4 this year, moving DE Aaron Kampman to OLB. They have looked sharp so far this preseason, but not as sharp as their offense has looked.

Ryan: I LOVE the 3-4 defense Derek, and Green Bay is adjusting amazingly to it, and I think that will be a huge factor in their 2009 season, helping load some of the work off of the offense.

Derek: Being led by QB Aaron Rodgers should lead them to wins over Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore.

Ryan: I see one of those games as a loss, but they will still finish second in the division, fighting for the wild card.

Derek: Finally, Detroit will be at the very bottom again, but they won’t repeat their 0-16 season.

Ryan: The Lions have gone to great pains to remove the stench of last year, and behind a new Coach in Jim Schwartz, and a team filled with a lot of new blood, I think five victories is a realistic stretch.

Derek: At best, they get two wins, against St. Louis and San Francisco, as neither team has the secondary to stop Megatron, WR Calvin Johnson, and that’s better than 0-16.

Ryan: I have a little more confidence than you in Detroit, and possibly better success in picking the NFC North.

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