This year, the Chicago Bears are in for a real battle in the under-appreciated NFC North division. With the addition of Jay Cutler, the Bears can only better their pathetic 9-7 showing in 2008. What is going to come of the Bears this year?
When the Bears open their season up versus the Packers at Lambeau, the Bears are in for a real tough battle. Here is my position by position breakdown.
At quarterback, Aaron Rodgers vs Jay Cutler is probably the most interesting match up in the NFC North. Both like to throw the ball long and like to move around a little in the back field. Both are very talented and in my opinion, this is a push.
At running back, I give the Bears the edge. Matt Forte is a little more mobile than Ryan Grant coming out of the back field. Ryan Grant is much slower and isn’t much of a power runner. Forte can go up the middle like a power back or make moves and break a run to the outside like a fast back.
At wide receivers, the edge goes to the Packers. I can’t really fight Greg Jennings and Donald Driver versus Earl Bennett and Devin Hester.
On the defensive side of the ball, I am a little biased. I have always liked the Bears defense and I think this year they will make huge improvements over the depressing 22nd ranked pass defense.
Even though Dvoracek is out, the Bears D-Line will still rival the best lines in football like the Giants. With Tommie Harris, Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye, and other guys who rotate, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The only thing in question is their defensive backs. The edge definitely goes to the Packers. The Bears are filled with a bunch of unknowns at defensive back. Yes, Vasher and Tillman aren’t unknowns but they have a lot to prove. They both had pretty disappointing years in my opinion. With the loss of Mike Brown, guys like Zack Bowman and Craig Steltz have a lot to prove. Hopefully they can fill the void of Brown.
One thing worries me about the Bears versus Packers match up. I am worried if the secondary can hold up against the explosive wide outs from the Packers. Can Vasher and Tillman stay healthy enough to keep up with Jennings and Driver?
I think they can. Rod Marinelli will get this team ready to play and ready to prove themselves.
This is a very interesting match up in my opinion. With the addition of Brett Favre, I have no idea what to think of the Vikings now.
At quarterback, I have no choice but to give the edge to Brett “The Ego” Favre. He is a much better improvement over what the Vikings used to have. He holds many records and his experience trumps Cutler’s talent any day of the week.
At running back, the Vikings also have the edge. AP 28. Enough said.
At wide receiver, I give it to the Bears even though Earl Bennett and Devin Hester are much more inexperienced than Bernard Berrian. The thing that made me pick the Bears is the fact that after Berrian, who do the Vikings have? Sidney Rice? He is about as good as Johnny Knox.
I like the Bears defense better. The Vikings pass defense is much better but the Bears run defense is better. The Bears are better up front but the Vikings are much better in the secondary.
What scares me about the Vikings is the fact that they won the division with Tarvaris Jackson. If they are that talented, what will they do with Favre? Will Favre make Berrian better?
The Vikings will improve greatly this year. No division for them but a definite wild card.
The Lions had a tough season last year. 0-16 is a rough finish. The Lions will be bad but not as bad as 0-16.
At quarterback, the Bears have the advantage. Matt Stafford and Daunte Caulpepper are both worse than Jay Cutler. Cutler is so much better and talented than both. Daunte used to be better in his prime, but not now.
At running back, the Bears are better. Matt Forte is much better than Kevin Smith. Matt Forte can run to the outside or run up the middle. Kevin Smith cannot.
At wide receiver, the Lions actually get the advantage. Calvin Johnson gives the Lions the advantage. Calvin Johnson is just too talented to not get the edge over mediocre wide receivers like Earl Bennett.
On the defensive side, the Bears get the advantage. The Bears are just better up front and in the secondary. The Lions are just not good at all.
The Lions worry me with their wide receivers. If Matt Stafford lives up to the hype, how will Calvin Johnson play? Or Dennis Northcutt? Will those guys play to their potential?
In my opinion, Stafford won’t live up to his potential so the Bears will not have anything to worry about with the Lions.
What to Watch For
As a fan, you should be in for a very high scoring division. With Cutler, Rodgers, and Favre leading the North, who knows how many points the Bears, Packers, and Vikings will score. The limit is unpredictable.
The match up to watch for is in week one; the Bears versus the Packers at Lambeau Field at 7:30 on Sunday Night Football. It will be a high scoring affair and a very good game. Keep an eye out for that.