Here are my predictions for the NFC North. Please feel free to debate with me in the comment section.
Yes, I have the Lions as No. 1 in this division. Please let me explain.
Their offense during the preseason looked like a machine running on all cylinders. Yes, there will be problems with the offensive line, but from what I saw, Kitna won't be dropping back for 30 seconds every play waiting for routes to develop.
The run game will get better over the course of each game, since the zone blocking scheme gets better as the game plays out. The passing game will be improved (TD to INT ratio) now that Martz is gone, and they should finally be able to manage the clock and give the defense some rest.
The defense has an almost completely new secondary, which is where the team faltered last season. They have made all the right corrections to the problems of last season and can only go up from last year.
Overall, I think the Lions made the best offseason moves out of any team in this division, really going after players that fulfilled their team needs and bringing in players that have experience in the Tampa-2.
Some areas of concern are the linebacker corps (other than Sims), and the pass rush.
Record: 10-6, Playoff Berth
The Packers could win this division, as long as Aaron Rodgers doesn't suck or get hurt. The rest of the team is poised to make a Super Bowl run, but deep inside I think that Rodgers won't get the job done this year, due to injury and inexperience.
Ryan Grant came out of nowhere last year and started running all over teams. This year I expect teams to be ready for him, and slow him down a little bit.
The defense for the Pack will be how it has been for the past few years: great press coverage from Harris and Woodson, pressure from Kampman, and excellent tackling from Hawk. I love how the Pack's defense looks, but age could be starting to take a toll on the cornerbacks.
I expect them to start off great, but then falter off as the season progresses.
Record: 9-7, Wildcard Berth
I don't know why everyone thinks that the Vikings are going to be amazing this year. This offseason they did absolutely nothing except add to a defensive line that really didn't need help.
Where they need help is in the defensive secondary and at wide receiver. Adrian Peterson's second half of the season was mediocre once teams realized that they should maybe try to account for the run on defense.
Tarvaris Jackson is going to be an above average quarterback one day, but he needs more weapons first. The Vikings should have saved that first round pick for Devin Thomas or Limas Sweed.
The Bears have gone downhill this offseason. The combination of no above-average WRs, no run game, no quarterback, and an aging defense spells disaster.
I can't believe people have them rated as high as second in the NFC North. This team has been in decline since their last Super Bowl appearance, and with the loss of Berrian and Muhammed, I really don't see what their offense has to offer.
Orton is not the solution, and neither is Kevin "Glass Ankles" Jones. Truthfully, I think they should have picked up Culpepper and Alexander to have some starting experience, as well as some winning experience on this offense.
Well there you have it folks, the NFC North. Not exactly the best division in football, but definitely the division with the most passionate fan bases. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to leave your two cents as a comment!
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