With the 2009 season officially getting underway this Sunday, I thought a breakdown of the Packers opponents and season was more than overdue.
First things first, the Packers looked absolutely deadly in the preseason. The retooled 3-4 defense had 13 takeaways while Aaron Rodgers and the offense looked practically unstoppable. That being said, the preseason means nothing come this Sunday.
To better understand what the Pack Attack are up against this season, let's take a close look at their division rivals.
Probably the biggest roadblock in the NFC North for Green Bay. They have a great defense, arguably the best running back in the league, and that quarterback who shall not be named in this article. It looks like Minnesota could really put it all together this year, but I believe that coaching will ultimately doom them.
Brad Childress' play calling is sketchy at best, and an erratic #4 could quickly spell doom for Minnesota if their play calling ideologies clash. However, I cannot deny the strength of the Minnesota D and Adrian Peterson.
If they can put it all together, it wouldn't surprise me to see Minnesota taking the division for a second straight year.
So Chicago finally believes it has the quarterback they've always dreamed of? Yes, Jay Cutler has a huge arm and passed for 25 TD's last season, but he did it with the likes of Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall.
The key to the Bears success will be continued strong play on defense and having a wide receiver step up. I think this is a make-or-break year for Devin Hester; if he shows that he can't run routes and be a reliable receiver, his outstanding kickoff/punt return ability will be quickly forgotten by the unforgiving Chicago fans.
I'm excited that the Packers get to open the season against Chicago for two reasons. One, it will showcase two of the best young quarterbacks in the league (Rodgers & Cutler). Two, I believe this is the year where the Packers assert themselves as the best defense in the NFC North, a title the Bears have held for arguably the past five seasons.
Alright, let's not even come close to pretending that Detroit has a chance to contend in this division. Aside from Calvin Johnson, most members of this Lions team haven't proven themselves to be worthy of pushing Detroit to the next level.
However, I like the addition of Jim Schwartz as head coach and I agree with the decision to start Matthew Stafford at quarterback. The Lions as a franchise are in desperate need to start from scratch and correct the mistakes of the Matt Millen era. Not only that, but they need to inject some excitement into a fan base who is dwindling at a massive rate (I've seen bigger crowds at high school football games than I have at Ford Field).
Mark my words, the Lions WILL win a game this year. With a look at their schedule, I think it will come November 1st against St.Louis. Nothing comes easy in this division, but give it a few years and some solid draft picks and I could see Detroit contending sometime in the next decade.