NFL Season Preview: NFC North

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NFL Season Preview: NFC North

The NFC North is an interesting division.  You have two teams who you know are going to be bad. 

However, you have two wild card teams that could be bad but could be Super Bowl contenders and it all hinges on the quarterback position.

So how is the NFC North going to fall exactly and how do I expect the teams that are hanging on to greatness barely to fare?

Chicago Bears

This team falls with the two bad teams.  No surprise here, the Chicago Bears is a team that confuses me greatly.

As a proud member of the 4th Phase, what the Chicago Bears call their fans, I have an emotional stake in how the Bears do but I've recently been hit hard with some bad news.

The Bears offensive line was going to be decent this year.  I just knew it.  Then Chris Williams got hurt and I was deflated because I knew this line was right back to awful with that injury.

I was hoping for Grossman to play QB because he has a much higher ceiling than Orton and is the only chance for a great year but then Orton was picked to be the starter.  Then last night, Orton actually did well and Grossman was God awful so I might be happy with the decision.

The defense is supposed to be rock solid but last night, they were terrible.  J.T O'Sullivan shouldn't be able to pass all over this defense, he should be where he belongs, on the ground.

So right now, I do not for-see anything good for this team.  Instability at running back and wide receiver are other reasons to be scared.

Detroit Lions

Another team that is God awful, the Lions haven't been good for years.  They shocked the world when they didn't select a receiver in the first round but they still have aging Jon Kitna at quarterback.

Kitna seems to put in solid numbers when it comes to pure passing yards but he shoots himself in the foot by throwing more picks than touchdowns.  He was sixth in the NFL in yards last season but 15th in touchdowns and was tied for most interceptions by any single player.

In fact, last season, he was more likely to throw an interception on any one pass than Rex Grossman (3.1% of passes by Grossman, 3.6% of passes by Kitna)

The running game is non- existent for the Lions, who ranked 31st in team rushing yards with just 1,288 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Detroit was dead last in yards allowed and points allowed, 31st in pass yards against, and 23rd in rushing yards against.

All in all, they didn't improve much over last season and are likely to be bad once again.

Green Bay Packers

This is the first of the wild card teams.  The reason they are a wild card; they have an unproven quarterback who has played well when he came in but hasn't had a full NFL season starting under his belt.

People look towards his performance against the Cowboys last season, where he nearly took the team back to win the game but was stopped short as an indicator of what is to come.

Others wish they hadn't traded Brett Favre to the Jets.

Around Rodgers, he has a good team that will definitely help him become a strong starter.

He has Donald Driver and Greg Jennings to be good targets in the pass game, as well as Ryan Grant who has come out of nowhere to become a steady starter at the runningback position.

They also have one of the best defenses in the NFL, which was rebuilt thanks in part to the drafting of A.J. Hawk who has been a beast since joining the Packers.

They also have a good secondary with Charles Woodson and Al Harris to mentor rookie corner Patrick Lee.

The Packers are, in my opinion, a team that is very for real.  To steal a phrase from Aaron Rodgers.  "Get on board or shut up!"

Minnesota Vikings

They are going to be good for one reason.  Tarvaris Jackson is going to be really good.

They are going to be bad for one reason.  Tarvaris Jackson has never actually broken out yet.

However, they are doing their best to give Jackson every opportunity to succeed.  They overpaid for former Bear Bernard Berrian, which should give a deep target to go with Sidney Rice as a one-two receiver duo.

Then there is the thing that everybody will be watching for.  Can Adrian Peterson have another breakout year to follow up his amazing rookie campaign. If he does, he could be one of the best runningbacks of all time.

However, he had a lot of games where he ran for little yards, which could signal an inconsistent future.

Their running defense is still among the tops in the NFL and they added Jared Allen to the line to create create a better pass rush.

I think this team will be good but Jackson could keep them from going deep in the playoffs.  He needs to improve his decision making before I believe that he is going to be a starter in this league.

How the NFC North Will Fall

Green Bay Packers 12-4

Minnesota Vikings 10-6

Chicago Bears 6-10

Detroit Lions 5-11

I'm Joe W.

Joe also writes for Hoops4Life.com, a basketball fan's site.

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