Football season is slowly approaching. It is time we start to look at the various divisions in the NFL to see who is coming out on top. Are you excited? Can you feel it?
Each preview will showcase the teams in the order that I expect their teams to term of division rank along with their projected records. If you do not agree let me know why in the comments.
4. The Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have the best running back in the NFL, no contest. With that said, the other areas of the team struggled greatly last season. They were last in the NFL in pass defense and in the middle of the pack in rush defense and losing Jared Allen won’t help either. While signing Teddy Bridgewater could end up being the steal of the draft, I can not imagine it being enough to complete with the now stiffer competition that is in the NFC North. Not to mention they have a somewhat difficult schedule before their bye week, including playing the Saints, Packers and Bucs away from Minnesota.
I believe the Vikings will be a more improved team, addressing a lot of the defensive needs in the draft. Their age and the growth of team chemistry is why I have this team so low, but considering who else is in the division it is nothing to scoff about. The Vikings will get their time in the limelight soon enough.
Season Prediction: 6-10
3. Detroit Lions
A big disappointment could be described as either the Cowboys or the Lions. The Lions have let their city down time after time since they have obtained great players such as Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson and Mattew Stafford. When head coach Jim Schwartz took the reigns of the team, he had a young roster that continued to get younger with a ton of talent. In all honesty the Lions have had enough pieces that should make them a playoff team. Each season we set the bar very high, and they always find a way to choke in various ways.
But now with a new head coach, things are looking great because of the amount of upside this team has. The top 3 of the top 6 ranking passing offenses belonged to the NFC North last season, and the Lions sat 3rd in that category. If they can figure out how to close games they may be a sleeper, however I can not foresee that change happening in one season with a new coach. This season will be about learning Cadwell’s system similar to how last season the Bears were learning Trestman’s last season. We will see flashes of what makes them great, but will also see the lingering defensive problems they still may have because a good offense does not always take care of a poor defense.
Season Prediction: 8-8
2. Chicago Bears
The Bears have quickly swapped their identities from going to a defensive juggernaut with an underwhelming offense to an offense juggernaut with a pathetic defense. The Bears this off-season have made a ton of quiet and effective moves to rebuild their defense. Injuries and age with lack of a back up plan is what plagued this team last year. The offense on the other hand was fantastic. As I mentioned earlier, the top 3 of the top 6 passing offenses where in the NFC North last season. If Cutler and Rodgers were not injured for parts of the season last year, the Lions, Bears and Packers could have been the top 3.
With that said, the defense is very raw and unproven. It is going to take some time to see an improvement in both the rushing and passing defense. Couple that with the hard schedule the Bears have, playing the 5 out of the first 8 games away in places that include San Francisco and Atlanta who are two teams that play their best when at home, the Bears are looking at an uphill climb all season. It is all going to hinge on how well Jay Cutler plays.
Season Prediction: 10-6
1. Green Bay Packers
The Packers had an odd season, losing Rodgers mid-season prevented this team from making it far in the playoffs, but as long as they have Aaron Rodgers this team has all the components it needs to make a long playoff push. The team has also made quiet moves on defense, including signing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (LOVE THE NAME) and obtaining Julius Peppers from the Bears. This team didn’t miss a step offensively, and with a healthy Rodgers will easily be an elite team in the NFC.
The Packers have a somewhat easy schedule. Their toughest games will be against Seattle, Chicago, Carolina and Philadelphia. Other than that history has shown that the Packers can handle the rest of the teams on their schedule. Combine that with a new-found running game that they have with Eddie Lacy and avoiding major injuries, I don’t see why this team could not rival the Broncos in terms of a prolific offense and reach the Superbowl.
Season Predictions: 11-5