NFL: NFC North Breakdown

In part four of the MikesPickz NFL Breakdown, we will take a look at the NFC North.

2009 Standings:NFC North
Minnesota Vikings – 12-4 *Playoffs
Green Bay Packers – 11-5 *Playoffs
Chicago Bears – 7-9
Detroit Lions – 2-14

2010 Preseason:
Detroit Lions – 3-1
Minnesota Vikings – 3-1
Green Bay Packers – 2-2
Chicago Bears – 0-4

2010 Regular Season Predictions:
Green Bay Packers – 13-3
Minnesota Vikings – 11-5
Chicago Bears – 8-8
Detroit Lions – 3-13

Team Breakdowns:

Green Bay Packers:
The Green Bay Packers might have the best offense in the entire NFL (yes, I know about the Saints and Colts). The Packers main problem last season was the offensive line, Aaron Rodgers took way too many sacks early in the season, but there was noticeable improvement by the end of the season. All of the offensive line will be returning this season and I think they will continue to improve, coupled with the fact that Rodgers seems to have a quicker release, the Packers will score points in bunches. Not only do the Packers have a great offense, they had one of the best defenses in the league last season. With Charles Woodson, A.J. Hawk and Nick Collins all returning, the leaders and foundation are still there. I look for the Packers to be in the NFC title game this season.

Minnesota Vikings:
The Minnesota Vikings once again had to deal with Training Camp and workouts without Brett Favre, only for him to return for the Preseason. I do feel bad for Tarvaris Jackson, but Favre is the better QB. With that being said, I don’t think that Favre will replicate his 2009 season. Last year he had the best statistical season of his storied career (a whooping 107.2 Passer Rating), and that will be hard to repeat. I expect the INTs to increase slightly this year and the overall numbers won’t be as good especially with his main target (Sidney Rice) out for the first six weeks on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Percy Harvin, the stellar rookie, also had migraine issues during the preseason and that may limit him in the season. Adrian Peterson will still dominate, but he does have documented fumbling problems that may cost them a close game. The defense will still be a tremendous strength with Jared Allen and Pat Williams returning.

Chicago Bears:
The Bears are an interesting team, they have potential to be better than my predicted 8-8, but they also can be much worse. Jay Cutler will remain the Quarterback and will still have issues with interceptions. The Bears new offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, will not shy away from the pass and this could be very good or very bad for the Bears. They have outside weapons with Devin Hester and Devin Aromashodu that can spread the field and Cutler without question has the arm strength to play that style. Matt Forte has looked much better in the offseason than he did during his sophomore year. If he returns to rookie form, the Bears will have a pretty good running game. The defensive side of the ball will be a strength for the Bears. Brian Urlacher will rejoin the team after missing 15 games with an injury last season. Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Daniel Manning are also very good defenders.

Detroit Lions:
The Detroit Lions will have a slightly better season than they did last season, which was a huge improvement from the infamous 0-16 season in 2008. The Lions played well in the preseason, but as they know personally, that doesn’t mean anything in the regular season (they were 4-0 in the preseason the year they went 0-16). Matthew Stafford will continue to grow as a quarterback and Calvin Johnson will continue to show that he is a top 5 wide receiver in the NFL. The Lions have a pair of rookies to watch out for this season. The first is Jahvid Best (30th overall pick). He has shown some tremendous signs in the preseason and he will certainly improve the Lions offense and he can help to open up the passing game. The second is Ndamukong Suh (2nd overall pick). Suh was a dominant force in college and should help to straighten out the poor Lions’ defense over time. I don’t think he will have a huge impact this season, but the future is definitely brighter than it has been in the past in Detroit. If the Lions defense surprises this season, they have potential to do better than my 3 win prediction, but with a tough schedule I’ll stick with my prediction.

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