2011 NFL Predictions: How the Green Bay Packers Will Win the NFC North

No NameAnalyst IAugust 11, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Aaron Rodgers #12 and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers talk during a stop in play against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The defending Super Bowl champions should have no problem winning their division in 2011. The Green Bay Packers enter this season riding a huge wave of momentum. They actually will have a better roster of players this year than they did last season, when they won it all.

Green Bay will welcome the return of running back Ryan Grant, as well as tight end Jermichael Finley. It was also discovered this week that linebacker Clay Matthews played the second half of last season on a broken leg. Getting those guys, among others, back healthy will only improve the current owners of the Lombardi Trophy.

While the Packers might actually improve this season, the rest of the division will be very interesting to watch. The Chicago Bears are most likely going to take a step back from last year’s surprising run. They lost their franchise center and their tight end, Greg Olsen, and all they added to the roster were former Dallas Cowboys Roy Williams and Marion Barber.

The Minnesota Vikings replaced veteran Brett Favre with another veteran, Donovan McNabb. While he and Adrian Peterson can keep the Vikings’ ship above water, they will need to find a cast of reliable receivers. Sidney Rice left for the Seattle Seahawks, and Percy Harvin has yet to prove if he can be a legitimate number one.

The Detroit Lions seem to be everyone’s “sexy pick” this year, which is understandable. If Matt Stafford can actually stay healthy all season, he and Calvin Johnson will be a dynamic force in the league. They will need to get Nick Fairley healthy to tag team with Ndamukong Suh up front, and one of their running backs is going to have to step up for them this year.

Green Bay should have no problem taking the division. It is an even three-team race for second place, which I believe will go to the Lions. The Bears will finish third and the Vikings will bring up the rear, but they will still have a winning record.