NFC North Predictions
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
The Packers were the statistical darlings of the NFL in 2009, ranking in the top ten of nearly all offensive/defensive rankings. The one holdout was the rushing offense, which ranked 14th. Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, the Packers’ 1st-round pick out of Iowa, looks to take care of that problem. With a rejuvenated offensive line, the nasty defense just needs to keep defying the sands of time. Charles Woodson seems like he can play forever, but everyone eventually loses a step.
Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
The Vikings future still hangs on the whims of one Brett Favre. If he plays, the Vikings will compete for the NFC North title. They may not win it though, due in part to Favre’s age among other things. He hasn’t shown too many signs of deterioration yet, but new Viking QB Joe Webb wasn’t in kindergarten yet when #4 threw his first NFL pass. Toby Gerhart has Chester Taylor’s big shoes to fill, while Chris Cook will be looked upon to shore up a defensive backfield that was the weak link on the Vikings squad.
Detroit Lions (8-8)
The Lions had the worst defense in the NFL last year, and their offense wasn’t much better. How do they make it to 8-8 this year then? Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and his other targets have a year under their belts, while Louis Delmas looks to become a star in 2010. Add Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best, and NEPD favorite Amari Spievey to the mix, and you’ve got a young nucleus just waiting to break out. Jason Fox, who could be the starting RT this year, rounds out and impressive draft by the (formerly?) lowly Lions.
Chicago Bears (6-10)
If adding Mike Martz is the answer, the question is not a pleasant one. In this case, it is Lovie Smith asking himself, “How can I save my job?” Jay Cutler, who threw 26 interceptions and was sacked 35 times in 2009, will try and implement Martz’ offense. Perhaps Martz hasn’t realized that Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce aren’t walking through that door, although Devin Hester can do a pretty decent Az-Zahir Hakim impression. The Bears defense will have to be the leaders in 2010, with Julius Peppers being looked on as the Windy City savior. With a hefty contract extension already signed, we’re not holding our breath for a Pro Bowl caliber year.