2011 NFC North Division Preview
This years NFC North is easily the hardest division in football. Each team has it’s pros and cons, but a lot of the teams are getting better and better as the years go by. This year is going to be a tough one, and definitely a close call on who will win the division. Let me go in depth on the NFC North:
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off of one of the most upsetting seasons in history. They were one field goal short of a Superbowl game in 2009 with Brett Favre leading the offense, and tried to redo it hoping for glory, but they ended up going 6-10 in 2010.
Things are changing up at Winter Park this offseason. Favre is gone, McNabb is in. Ray Edwards is gone to the Atlanta Falcons, and Brian Robison is trying to fill the spot. But now that Stylez White is in Minnesota, that’s unlikely, seeing how he was one of the top 4-3 defenders last season. There is also a big change-up at the wide receiver area, with Sidney Rice being gone to the Seahawks and Michael Jenkins coming in from the Atlanta Falcons.
Donovan McNabb, the former Philadelphia Eagle, is in a Vikings uniform and trying to do what Favre did two seasons ago. He knows the Vikings has what it takes to be a winning team once again, and wants to be a part of that. He said that this will be a “special kind of year,” so hopefully he won’t disappoint and can bring back the 2009 McNabb, before the horrible attempt with the Washington Redskins last season.
Adrian Peterson is ready to unleash. He’s coming into the last year of his contract as a Viking, and is ready to prove he still has what it takes to be the top back in the league. He said he doesn’t believe he’s reached his prime either (according to an interview from WCCO.) He is going to do what he always does, and get the Vikings touchdowns and scare defenders.
The Vikings defense is ready to go back to their old selves, but that’ll be harder than it seems. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are the only former ones of the defensive line. Remi Ayodele is stepping in to replace Pat Williams spot, now that the Williams’ Wall is gone officially. It sounds like Erin Henderson is stepping in at starting LOLB, next to his brother E.J. Henderson, to be the first brothers to start on the same team in NFL history.
It’ll be a year to watch for the Vikings, it could be good or bad. We’ll find out. Now on to the rest.
The Green Bay Packers are coming off of their big Superbowl win last season, being the first #6 seed to ever go that far and win it all. Aaron Rodgers is easily the best quarterback in the league, when it comes to having everything you want in that position. He’s accurate with his throws, especially the deep ball, he can throw on the run perfectly, and he can escape out of the pocket if almost sacked and run far.
The Packers also have one of the best defenses in all of football. The Steelers and Packers were the top two defenses last season, only allowing 14 points a game. The Packers lost Cullen Jenkins to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, which is a big loss to the line. Clay Matthews is coming off of his second big year as a linebacker. He is getting better and better too. He is definitely the scariest linebacker in the division as of now, and is always hungry for a sack on the quarterback. (Or causing an injury in a few cases last season).
The Packers problem is not having a week in and week out solid run game, like the other three teams. There is rumors that Ryan Grant may be released, so could James Starks be their guy? They definitely need a solid run game when it comes to divisional matches. All the other teams, besides Green Bay, knows who their future back will be.
The Detroit Lions are looking better and better as every season goes on, and that’s without much game time from their first round pick from 2009, Matthew Stafford. Stafford has shown that he can keep up with Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and the new quarterback of the division, Donovan McNabb, this preseason. He has been throwing touchdown’s in both games he’s played so far, and looking as sharp as can be.
Stafford also has some of the hottest targets in all of football, especially Calvin Johnson. Johnson is the most loved wide receiver around right now, besides Andre Johnson. Calvin Johnson has the most reliable hands, the leap, the reach, and the speed. He can break tackles and definitely is a scary scary guy to be defending. Stafford also has rookie Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew to throw to as well.
And for their run game, well they have Jahvid Best. He was the first round pick for them in 2010, and he has all the potential to be the gamechanger in the Lions offense. Best, coming off of a disappointing rookie season, is going to try and prove doubters wrong. His rookie season was too hyped, and they expected to much. Best is a threat to any team when it comes to his speed. He can accelerate and be gone in the blink of an eye, and he has reliable hands when it comes to catching too.
And their defense is going to be intense to matchup against, with Ndamukong Suh as the threat. They also added DT Nick Fairley to their team, picking him in the first round of this years draft.
The Bears are coming off of a season where they were the front-runners. They clinched the division, had a first week bye, and still failed to deliver. Jay Cutler has many issues with his accuracy, and fitting the ball into tight spaces. He makes poor decisions, and is known to throw a pick six at least once a game.
Fans have wanted Cutler gone for quite sometime, but Lovie Smith does not. He backs Cutler like there is no tomorrow, and trust me, you’ll see him for a long time in a Bears uniform.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bears have everything they need to win a championship, except a consistent quarterback. They have a solid run game with Matt Forte, a solid receiver core with Roy Williams, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and so fourth. It’s just that Cutler needs to make smarter decisions to lead the offense further than the NFC Championship game.
Their defense is nuts, though. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, does it get any better? Peppers is known to destroy quarterbacks, and so is Urlacher. Briggs was feared by many too, last season. I can see the Bears being a top five defense in many fantasy leagues, if they keep potential up this season and play like they did last season.
Overall, I do not see the Bears taking the division. I can see the Packers clinching the division, easily, but I do believe one team in the NFC North will take a wild-card spot. I could see it being the Lions or the Vikings. I just don’t have hope for the Bears in the NFL this year, it was a lucky year, look at what happened to the Vikings and they were actually good.
And I’m off guys, if you want me to write about anything leave a comment on our Facebook or on the site! Thanks!