NFL Playoff Race: Predicting NFC North Standings and Chicago Bears Record

Max MickeyContributor IIIOctober 24, 2011

NFL Playoff Race: Predicting NFC North Standings and Chicago Bears Record

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    The Chicago Bears came up huge this weekend in a must-win game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London.  

    The Bears already have three losses in the NFC and will most likely need to have the edge in a tiebreaker to make the playoffs. 

    I do not think there is any question the Packers are going to dethrone the Bears as NFC North champions.

    As a result, Chicago will need to get in the playoffs as a wild card team. 

    It is great the Bears have beaten the Atlanta Falcons and now the Tampa Bay Bucs, because those are two teams who will be contenders for wild card positions as well. 

    In order to do make the playoffs, the Bears are going to need an 11-5 record to get in outright or  a 10-6 record to get in with help from other teams. 

    Which means the Bears will need to finish the season 7-2 to solidify a spot in the playoffs.

    Here is a look at how I think the NFC North will look at the end of the season. 

4. Minnesota Vikings

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    There will not be any arguing here, except maybe by some Vikings fans.

    But their is no chance the Vikings will finish in any position but dead last in the NFC North. 

    The Vikings are broke at almost every position. They have an old quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who can't get it done, and they have a rookie quarterback, Christian Ponder, who needed more time before being thrown to the wolves. 

    The sad part is, even if one of these quarterbacks was playing well, they would still have no one to throw to.

    The Vikings have no true No. 1 receiver. They have some talent with Percy Harvin and former Bear Devin Aromashodu, but having decent receivers is not enough in this pass-happy league. 

    The Vikings' defense is not in any better shape, as they give up the sixth most points in the NFL, including most in the NFC North. 

    Adrian Peterson is not enough to save the Vikings from anything but a brutal season. 

    Current Record: 1-6

    Predicted Finish: 3-13

3. Detroit Lions

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    Yes, I know. It is just two losses for the Lions—not the end of the world.

    But these losses have shown that Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson can be as good as they want, but the Lions are going nowhere without a running game. 

    Javid Best is banged up and is injury prone. Keiland Williams and Maurice Morris are not going to get the job done on the ground, and like most NFL quarterbacks, Stafford is human without a solid running back. 

    The Lions also have two NFC losses and a difficult road ahead of them. 

    They still have to face the Green Bay Packers twice, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.

    All these teams will be fighting for the playoffs and should finish with a .500 record or better. 

    The Lions also still have to contain Cam Newton and the Panthers and Tim Tebow and the Broncos—not easy tasks. 

    This is daunting for a young team with a history of choking.

    Remember their 6-2 start in 2007? They finished 7-9 that season. 

    The Lions are loaded with talent, but I'm not buying in 100 percent just yet. 

    Current Record: 5-2

    Predicted Record: 10-6

2. Chicago Bears

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    This Chicago Bears team is vastly underrated. They have a top three running back in the NFL with Matt Forte, a top quarterback in Jay Cutler, and the defense hasn't shown it thus far, but they are still a great unit. 

    The Bears have faced the last two defending Super Bowl champions, Packers and Saints, a very hot Detroit Lions team, and have come out alive—beaten up but alive. 

    They are 4-3, and their two biggest weaknesses—the offensive line and wide receivers—have been playing much better as of late. 

    The offensive line has only given up two sacks in the last two games. I never thought I would say this, but maybe the line is not as bad as we thought.

    They are still pretty bad, but they aren't breaking down all at the same time like before. There is more of a normal breakdown, so Cutler has time to get out of the pocket and make a play before it completely implodes. 

    The Bears are going to quietly be a playoff contender in the NFC all season long. 

    Current Record: 4-3

    Projected Record: 10-6

1. Green Bay Packers

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    The Packers are the best team in the NFL, let alone the NFC North.

    They have looked like an unstoppable machine destined to repeat as Super Bowl champions. 

    On top of their dominance, their schedule is not that difficult the rest of the way.

    Barring an Aaron Rodgers injury, there is almost nothing that could prevent them from taking the NFC North title.

    The Packers have outscored their opponents by a league-best 89 points. The next closest team is the New Orleans Saints, who the Packers have already defeated.  

    The Packers are averaging wins by almost 13 points per game. 

    I do not think they will go undefeated, but it is surely possible. 

    Current Record: 7-0 

    Predicted Record: 14-2

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