NFC North Prediction: 5 Games You Don't Want to Miss
The NFL season is a little more than a week away, and teams are in the process of finalizing rosters in preparation for the regular season. The NFC North is a division on the rise. The division holds the distinction of having both teams that played in last season's NFC Championship game.
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears should be great teams this year. Many believe that the Detroit Lions are a sleeper team who could vie for the NFC North title. Meanwhile, the Vikings are lurking in the shadows, and can sneak up on teams thanks to All-Pro Adrian Peterson. The NFC North is arguably one of the best in football. Here are five divisional games that you don't want to miss this season.
Week 3: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
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In week three, the Green Bay Packers will travel to Soldier Field for a showdown with the Chicago Bears. This will be a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game, where Green Bay defeated the Bears in Chicago.
This will be an early test for both teams. Dating back to 2007, the Bears are 3-2 when playing the Packers at home. They will want revenge for last year's defeat. This should be an exciting, hard fought game.
Week 5: Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
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The Detroit Lions figure to be a much improved team in 2011. Quarterback Matthew Stafford returns from injury and the Lions could have a very explosive offense if they stay healthy. By the time Week 5 rolls around, the Lions' offense should be running on all cylinders.
The Chicago Bears are no slouches on offense either. With Coordinator Mike Martz running the offense, the Bears will likely be a potent offensive machine with the strong-armed Jay Cutler at the helm. The Week 5 matchup at Ford Field provides a great venue for offensive fireworks. This could be a high-scoring shootout and one of the better matchups in the NFC North this year.
Week 12: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
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The traditional Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Detroit Lions hosting the Green Bay Packers could go down as the best and most exciting in recent memory.
The Lions are a trendy sleeper team this season, with the potential to rise to the top of the division following years of abysmal performances. If quarterback Matthew Stafford can stay healthy for twelve weeks, this game could be a shootout at Ford Field. The Packers play excellent indoors and the Lions' offense could take off this season.
The Lions have lost their last seven games on Thanksgiving Day, two of those defeats coming at the hands of the Packers. Could Detroit snap the losing streak this year?
Week 16: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
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Act two of the greatest rivalry in the NFL will likely be a dandy. In Week 16, Chicago will come to Green Bay to square off against the Packers for the second game of the series. This game could very well have playoff implications, as both teams will likely be battling for first place in the NFC North division.
The Packers-Bears game is always a close one and this game will be no different. The conditions could be extreme, with low temperatures, snow and wind being amongst mother nature's gifts to the participants. Expect a low-scoring, defensive-minded ball game that figures to be emotional.
Week 17: Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
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Week 17 is always a thrill in the NFL. One or more divisions is usually decided in the final week. This year will most likely be the same.
The NFC North will be a dogfight all the way to the end. The matchup in the final week between Minnesota and Chicago may not look great on paper, but considering the circumstances, it could be a great game.
The Vikings may not contend for the division this season. They may be out of the playoff picture by the time Week 17 comes around. That does not mean they won't want to win a divisional game versus the Chicago Bears at home. No one wants to lose at home, especially to a divisional team. The Vikings could very well be the spoiler in this game, as the Bears could very well be in the playoff hunt. Last season, the Bears lost in Week 17 to the Packers, who would go on to oust them from the playoffs. They won't take a chance on making the the same mistake twice.