2010 NFL Division Previews: NFC North

Frisco FahsContributor IAugust 31, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 22:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings leaves the field at halftime during their preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on August 22, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The NFC North division is known for their quarterbacks. It has a future hall of famer, Brett Favre, one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Aaron Rodgers, former number one overall pick, Matthew Safford and pro bowl caliber, Jay Cutler.

Only one of these quarterbacks changes the balance of the whole division. With the return of Favre to Minnesota, it’s likely a two-team race between the Vikings and Packers.

Minnesota Vikings (1)

The Vikings’ entire season rests on the return of Brett Favre, and with him reporting to Minnesota recently, they look to be the favorites in 2010. They have the best defensive front in the NFL with Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, Pat and Kevin Williams. They have the best running back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson. Favre had arguably his best season in is 20 year career. He threw for 4,202 yards with 37 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

With Favre back in the saddle, even if he can put up half the numbers he did last season, Minnesota should still have enough ammo to pull into first place for the third straight season in the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers (2)

The Packers are going to have a great offense in 2010. They drafted Bryan Bulaga from Iowa to help protect the most sacked quarterback of last year. Aaron Rodgers was sacked 50 times last year and they still were sixth in the league in total yards, averaging 379.1 yards per game.

Dom Cappers is in his second year in installing the 3-4 defense, while outside linebacker Clay Mathews is an emerging pass rushing specialist that is only going to improve on his 10-sack rookie season. They have the reigning defensive player of the year, Charles Woodson, as well. The Packers led the league in interceptions last year with 30 due to the great season Woodson had.

The Packers did lose a good defensive end in Aaron Kampman, but e was more of a traditional 4-3 end and didn’t fit the scheme the Packers were implementing. Green Bay is still going to give up a lot points and yards. That’s not going to change until they have more pieces to fit the 3-4 defense. Remember, this is only there second year running the 3-4.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to be good, but they’re not going to be dominant.

Detroit Lions  (3)

The Lions had a crazy off-season with many acquisitions. The players they picked up via draft, trade and free agency were solid: Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Nate Burleson, Corey Williams, Tony Scheffler, Chris Houston, and Rob Sims. All of those players will be starters starting in week one. They will be one of the most improved teams next season.

Matthew Stafford is entering his first year as the starter in the start of training camp. There is a big difference having to fight for your position and having it at the start. Stafford and Calvin Johnson have the whole training camp to work on there timing and chemistry. Johnson was triple covered virtually on every play last season, so the additions of Scheffler and Burleson should help take away the triple teams.

The Lions were last in the league with rushes over 20 yards in 2009, and Jahvid Best should definitely help rectify that. The Lions were ranked last in total defense for the past three years, and this year their entire defensive line is revamped and ready to put pressure on the quarterback. They won’t be a top-10 defense, but they won’t be out of a game at halftime every week, either. Detroit should win around six-to-seven games in 2010, and that will be huge step forward compared to recent years, as they were winless just two years ago.

Chicago Bears (4)

The Bears are worst in the division because of one change, Mike Martz. Everyone likes the hiring of Martz as offensive coordinator, but I just don’t see it. He has one of the most complicated offenses in the NFL that puts a lot of pressure on both tackle positions, and quarterbacks get hit a lot in this type of offense.

Also, this year will be a big learning process for Jay Cutler to learn this offense. Cutler came from the Mike Shanahan offense that likes to run the ball and use play action passing. Martz has more of a throw-to-run offense. Bears did sign Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor, but weren’t able to do much in the draft because of the trade for Cutler.

The Bears defense will be a little shaky this year with Charles Tillman and Brian Urlacher coming off of serious injuries. When the Bears made their Super Bowl run in the 2006-2007 season, they were a running football team that played great defense. They virtually abandoned the running game last year and their defense is getting older.

Originally Published at www.fantasyfootballsportal.com