NFL Preview: NFC NorthPublished 8:35pm Monday, September 6, 2010
NFL Preview: NFC Northbod
1) Green Bay Packers: 12-4
Likes: This offense looks destructive. Aaron Rodgers proved last year he has the chops and Jermichael Finley could be the most physically talented tight end in the NFL. It took some time to transition to the 3-4 defense, but now with the right personnel the defense is menacing, and barring injury could be one of the best in football, anchored by a deep defensive line.
Dislikes: I think they need a more explosive guy than Ryan Grant in the backfield. He’s consistent, but he’s not a home run threat. If they could have nabbed Jahvid Best in the first round, I think they could have been one of the all time most unstoppable offenses.
Overall: They are deep on both sides of the ball, and Aaron Rodgers is my early pick for MVP.
2) Minnesota Vikings: 9-7
Likes: Obviously this is still a really talented team. AP is still a man among boys, the offensive line is monstrous and Jared Allen remains the best all-around defensive end in football. Middle linebacker EJ Henderson is back, and even with a titanium rod in his leg, he looks pretty good on his feet and is making reads the same as last year.
Dislikes: Everything went right for Favre last year and it’s hard to imagine that happening again. His 40-year-old ankle seems to be genuinely bothering him, and his best targets (Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, who also happen to have the worst pair of first names for football players in the history of the NFL) are hurt. I think they will also really miss Chester Taylor on third downs.
Overall: The Vikes could make a serious and deep playoff run, but they need to get all the way healthy, something that can’t happen until somewhere around week nine.
3) Chicago Bears: 8-8
Likes: With Martz coming in, everyone in Chicago is excited about an explosive offense, which could certainly happen with fast wideouts Jonny Knox, Devin Hester and Devin Aromashodu. Also, free agent acquisition Julius Peppers has bulked up and was named captain by his teammates, which is a good sign for the defense.
Dislikes: Martz has also been in charge of really bad offenses in his last two stops with the 49ers and Lions. Jay Cutler won’t be protected very well in Martz’s scheme, and he’s not the kind of QB that does well when the heat is turned up.
Overall: I think they have a decent year on offense, but Cutler throws over 20 picks and they lose half of their games because of it.
4) Detroit Lions: 6-10
Likes: The Lions, for once, are dripping with potential. They have a good young QB in Matt Stafford, a potentially great young wide receiver in Calvin Johnson and Ndamkong Suh looks like the second coming of Warren Sapp, but bigger and stronger. Coach Jim Schwartz will have a good defensive line, which is his specialty.
Dislikes: The Lions are still young, in a tough division and have a pretty weak secondary.
Overall: I think this is the year the Lions progress. They just seem feisty and have a legitimate amount of talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat the Bears and Vikings at least once this year.