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To really no surprise of anyone, the Green Bay Packers are the class of the NFC North, and it starts with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Coming off an MVP performance in last year’s Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers has propelled himself into that class of elite quarterbacks with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
At Rodgers’ disposal is an arsenal of weapons at the receiver position. The Packers re-signed James Jones to remain in the slot, Greg Jennings is coming off of his first Pro Bowl and Donald Driver is as reliable as they come.
Rodgers also gets TE Jermichael Finely. Finely is a big-time matchup problem for any defender when he is stretching the middle of the field.
Green Bay’s offensive line improved as well. Second-year tackle Bryan Bulaga took over in Week 5 for longtime Packer and hometown guy Mark Tauscher, after Tauscher went down to injury. Bulaga started every game since and has not looked back.
Rookie first-rounder Derek Sherrod will take over for Darren Colledge at the left guard spot. Although Colledge was serviceable, Sherrod should be an upgrade.
The only glaring weakness on offense comes out of the running game. Ryan Grant comes back after missing most of the 2010 season with a foot injury.
2010 rookie James Starks did show some good things during the playoffs last year. It should be Grant's job to lose, but don't be surprised if you see a split backfield this year.
It’s more of the same on defense, with studs everywhere. It starts with B.J. Raji up front stopping the run.
Clay Matthews is one of the best outside linebackers in the game today, and one of the best overall defensive players in the league.
It remains to be seen what Mike Neal can do in replace of Cullen Jenkins, but the drop-off should not hurt too much.
Desmond Bishop has already proved that he is a better middle linebacker than Nick Barnett, who they released. And A.J. Hawk is coming off his best year as a pro.
Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams would be the best corner duo in the league, if it weren’t for Nnamdi Asomugha signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Anchoring the secondary is three time All Pro Nick Collins. He is one of the best ball-hawking safeties in the league, and he is one of the best run-stopping safeties as well—making it difficult for opposing quarterbacks to know where he is going to be on the field.
Barring major setbacks, you can all but expect the Green Bay Packers to repeat as NFC North champs and make another deep run into the playoffs.
Green Bay Packers; 12-4
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