NFC North: Week 2 Previews and Predictions

Ryan GuillemetteCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2011

NFC North: Week 2 Previews and Predictions

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    With Week 2 just days away, teams are looking to continue a win streak or bounce back from a loss as they try to make it to the playoffs.  The NFC North is one of the best conferences in the NFL.  The Packers hope to win against the Carolina Panthers by pressuring Cam Newton.  The Vikings hope to bounce back after a loss to the Chargers this week as they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they hope to use Adrian Peterson to exploit the Bucs defense. 

    The Chicago Bears hope to continue their winning streak after a win against the Atlanta Falcons.  They bring their team to New Orleans as they play the Saints and look to use Matt Forte to put some pressure on the Saints linebackers.  Lastly, the Detroit Lions look to win big and continue their win streak after a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  This week, they play the Kansas City Chiefs in their home home opener.  Look for Suh to create chaos in the Chiefs backfield.  

Green Bay Packers

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    After a big win against the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers will be playing the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.  The Packers biggest concern on defense will be quarterback Cam Newton.  Newton went off in his first game in the NFL throwing for 422 yards against the Arizona Cardinals.  Although it is very unlikely that Newton will produce those same numbers against the Packers, they will have to keep an eye on him and make sure that they are pressuring him and containing him on the run.  Newton knows when the pass isn't there and is not afraid to take the ball himself and go for yards.  They are also going to need to stop the rushing duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart who can cause some trouble if you allow them to.  

    On the offensive side of things, the Packers should be okay.  They are going to need to keep a balanced offense much like the game against the Saints.  The Packers were able to rush for a 103 yards and pass for 296 yards.  This balanced offense makes the Packers very dangerous and should keep Carolina's defense guessing.  Randall Cobb should also be a explosive player for the Packers after his great Week 1 performance.  

    Prediction: GB Packers.  The Packers are just to stable on offense to lose against a team like the Panthers.  They have a better offense and the Packers defense is too good to allow Cam Newton to have another performance like he did in Week 1.  

Minnesota Vikings

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    After a disappointing loss against the San Diego Chargers, the Minnesota Vikings will be facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home opener at Mall of America Field on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.   The key for the Vikings offense will be holding off the Bucs defensive line.  The Bucs have a very talented group on the front and the Vikings offensive line may struggle against them.  Although they had a solid game against the Chargers, the Vikings line still has problems blocking for extended periods.  

    The Vikings are going to need to utilize Peterson and Harvin in this game.  Peterson is arguably the best running back in the NFL right now.  He averaged 6.1 yards against the Chargers even when they were keying up on him every play.  He can create big plays with little to work with.  Harvin is another Viking who will be tough to defend.  He ran the opening kickoff home against the Chargers and is dangerous in the passing game.  

    The Vikings defense is going to have to attack the Bucs offensive line because they are very overrated and they have some weak points which the Vikings are going to need to exploit.  The Vikings safeties are going to have to be very effective against the pass because the Bucs may be looking to exploit them as they are more suited as a rushing defense.  

    My prediction is that the Bucs will pull away in this one.  The game should undoubtedly be close and the Vikings defiantly have a chance to pull out a W in this one if they are able to successfully run their offense and defense.  

Chicago Bears

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    After a big win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Chicago Bears will be playing against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.  The Bears want to keep their winning streak going and Brian Urlacher will be primed to have a big game after the sad news that his mother had just died.  The Bears defense is going to need to attack Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  Brees is a very good quarterback who can make a major comeback like he did against Green Bay. Julius Peppers is going to need to get to Brees every chance he gets. The Bears secondary is also going have to step up and watch the receivers because they are very dangerous.  

    On the offensive side, the Bears are going to have to utilize Forte as a receiver.  Forte had 158 combined yards in Week 1 and the Saints linebackers are pretty weak. If the Bears can get blockers to the linebackers, there could be some major holes in the Saints defense because the linebackers have trouble shedding tackles. The Bears should also look to utilize their special teams because they have one of the best special teams unit in the league.  

    My Prediction: The Bears. The Saints are just too weak at defense to contain a player like Forte as long as Jay Cutler does not fall apart the Bears should take this one.  

Detroit Lions

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    After a win against the Bucs, the Detroit Lions will be facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs in their home opener at Ford Field on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET. This much improved Lions team is looking very good and they are looking to get hot.  The Lions offense has a lot of weapons with the biggest coming in the form of wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson has the ability to run away with games if he gets on a roll.  With the Chiefs defense focusing on Johnson, this will open things up for Jahvid Best and allow him to contribute a lot to the Lions offense.   

    The Lions defense is very strong and they are looking to cause chaos in the Chiefs offense.  The Lions are going to be looking to force a lot of fumbles against the Chiefs after they lost two against the Bills. The Lions secondary is going to have to step up against the bigger Chief wideouts in certain situations which could be problematic.  Lion defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is going to have to get in the backfield and cause pressure.  The Chiefs are going to try and double team Suh every chance they get and this should allow for other defensive players to help out.  Lastly, the Lions are going to have to watch their special teams.  They allowed a kickoff return in their opener but the Chiefs have a solid special teams unit which could cause problems if things are not adjusted.  

    My prediction:  Lions win.  The Lions are a better team plain and simple.  They have a better offense and their defense is very strong against the run and pass.