NFC North Predictions: No Favre, No Problem for Packers

TJ BuzzeoCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2008


I know that they just lost one of the top five quarterbacks of all time in the offseason and now have a guy who has spent so much time on the bench that he probably has splinters in his rear end.


However, the supporting cast around Aaron Rodgers is so good that I think he should be able to transition into the role relatively smoothly. Is he going to be Brett Favre? No, but few are.


One advantage he has over Favre (and it is only one) is that he is less risky; less of a gun-slinger. He is a guy that can come in and run the offense and make the plays when they are there. If they are not there he will not be caught too often throwing the ball into stupid spots or doing anything else that may hurt the team.


What it really comes down to for the Packers is how the other guys step up to help Rodgers out.  They have two good, young running backs in Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson, two good receivers with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, and a good tight end in Donald Lee to help Rodgers out.


The defense is not too shabby either. They have Aaron Kampman leading the pass rush up front, Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk flying around the field at linebacker, and three very good defensive backs with Charles Woodson and Al Harris at the corner spots and Atari Bigby, who came out of nowhere last season to record 86 tackles and five interceptions.


I am not saying that Green Bay will be saying "Brett who?" But maybe "Brett who cares?"


Final Record: 12-4



2) Minnesota Vikings


Many people are picking the Vikes to reclaim the top of the division like they did when Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss were healthy and gave a darn.


I just do not see Tarvaris Jackson leading any team to the playoffs, and honestly would not be all that surprised to see Gus Frerotte take over midway through the season. Even though it's not like he is a miracle worker either, let's not forget the concussion he gave himself way back when with the Redskins.


Brad Childress may want to take a page out of Urban Meyer’s playbook and go with a two quarterback system (like that would ever work in the NFL).


Now for why this team can win. Adrian Peterson is one of the top three backs in the game and still has a great offensive line leading the way. Also, the Vikings' already great defense got better with the addition of Jared Allen.


Ryan Longwell is pretty much money kicking indoors and if Chris Kluwe could punt better than he plays Guitar Hero (he is the world champion or something ridiculous like that) he will give the other team such bad field position even Jackson will be able to push it in for six.


Final Record: 10-6



3) Detroit Lions


The Lions have a good core of receivers with Calvin Johnson, Roy Williams, and Mike Furrey to go along with Jon Kitna, who has a cannon for an arm. Similar to last season, that will keep Detroit from being a pushover. But like the Bengals, that’s all they will be.


The Lions' “D” looks horrible, as always, and will be like Swiss cheese for opposing teams. On most teams Kevin Smith and Rudi Johnson would cause other teams to worry about the running game, but since Barry Sanders retired so many years ago no Lions running back has shown much success for a whole season.


No defense and no running game results in no wins.


Final Record: 6-10



4) Chicago Bears


As we saw last year from the Bears, the defense has to stay healthy in order for them to win. Chicago needs to force turnovers and as many three-and-outs as they can for this team to score points.


The only offensive threat they have is when the other team either kicks or punts the ball to Devin Hester, but that is happening less and less often.


If I were an opposing team I would kick the ball out of bounds every time. On punts you don’t push them back as far, but it may be worth it because Hester can take anything and turn it into a quick six for Chicago.


On kickoffs I would kick the ball out of bounds and take the penalty every time. Force the Bears' offense to score on your defense. I guarantee you have a better shot at success than kicking the ball to Hester.


Who is playing quarterback for the Bears this year? Both Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman split snaps before Kyle Orton won the job. But does it matter? I doubt it.


The two have not played well since their junior years of college. Look it up if you do not believe me. Both were on the short list for the Heisman going into their senior years and by the halfway mark of the season they were not mentioned anymore. My only question is whether Daunte Culpepper was offered the starting job with the Bears. At least he used to be good.


Final Record 3-13