Thursday, 27 August 2009

NFC North Predictions

The NFC North was a division that experienced a lot of change in the offseason. In 2008, it was considered a pretty weak division when the Minnesota Vikings won it, but in 2009 it appears to be much stronger, with 3 teams battling for supremacy. It should be one of the most intriguing division races in the NFL.

The cellar will again be occupied by the Detroit Lions, but they should be much improved. Of course, it is impossible not to improve on their 0-16 season, but that's beside the point. The biggest change is at the top, with Jim Schwartz as the new head coach. After coming over from the Tennessee Titans, he is attempting to instill a new attitude in the franchise. A big part of that will be Matthew Stafford, the number 1 pick in the NFL Draft, a QB with a ton of physical tools, who will undoubtedly see the field at some point this season.

The Green Bay Packers should be much improved, as they were one of the youngest teams in the NFL last season. Aaron Rodgers should be more comfortable in the passing game, and that should make the passing game very potent. The biggest key for the Packers success will be how well they can transition to the 3-4 defense. Dom Capers is trying to make the change this season, and Green Bay will be in the hunt for the division crown if they can make the transition seamless.

There is a lot of excitement around the Chicago Bears, mostly due to the addition of quarterback Jay Cutler. He was acquired in a trade from the Denver Broncos, and gives the Bears an elite quarterback that they have not had for a long-time. While their receiving options are inexperienced, Cutler will make everyone on the offense better. If the defense can recapture its form from the Super Bowl team, then the Bears will be strong contenders for the NFC North title.

Last, there is the Minnesota Vikings, who will be looking to repeat and make it back to the playoffs. The biggest change, of course, is the late addition of Brett Favre. After numerous struggles at the quarterback position over the past few season, Brad Childress is hoping that the 40 year-old Favre can bring stability to the most important position in football. He will have plenty of options, with Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, and Percy Harvin to gather the attention of opposing defenses. This offense, in addition to one of the best defenses in football, should be enough to repeat in the division, in my mind.

So the NFC North will be one of the most interesting and competitive divisions in football, with the Vikings, Bears, and Packers all looking like legitimate contenders. I think the Minnesota Vikings will repeat as division champions, but opinions are varied. It will be fun to see how things turn out.