For those who love the “frozen tundra,” “Monsters of the Midway” and smash mouth football, a preview of the NFC North, the coldest division in professional sports, is sure to excite the football crazies.
Detroit Lions – In a minuscule effort to build anticipation, let us begin with the team that is sure to end up in last place, once again.
Although the Lions have recently accumulated an array of talent on both sides of the ball, including Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best, it is as sure as the snow is white that the Lions will once again finish last in the NFC North. But for the fans of the Motor City, they can rest assured that their team is certainly on the right path. Recent free agent acquisitions like Nate Burleson and Kyle Vanden Bosch clearly show that the Lions can attract talent to their city. And while Stafford will take his licks, he is sure to establish himself as an effective franchise quarterback by year’s end.
Chicago Bears – Coming in at a distant third from the top two is the Bears. The Bears have failed to meet their fans’ expectations after the breakout season from Matt Forte two years ago and the acquisition of Jay Cutler last year. With the departure of talented veterans like Orlando Pace, Alex Brown and lingering injuries to All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher, one has to question whether or not the once-fearful Chicago defense will be able to aid this team enough to put them anywhere but a third-place finish in the NFC North.
Minnesota Vikings – The battle for first in this division is sure to be epic. However, as usual, it looks like it will come down to the team with the best offense. Ironically enough, this year it won’t be Brett Favre. That’s right folks, look for the Vikings to finally be overtaken by the Green Bay Packers. We all know Farve can’t keep fighting Father Time forever. This year he will have to do it without his go-to guy, Sidney Rice, for at least half the season. Not to mention the departure of the underappreciated running back Chester Taylor, who moved the chains on third and long. Add all these things up along with the rise in talent that’s happening in Wisconsin and you have yourself a second-place Vikings team.
Green Bay Packers – As for the winner of the division this year, for the first time, the Packers will win the NFC North without their once-revered quarterback Farve. Aaron Rodgers has exponentially grown better over the past few seasons. He’s clearly established himself as an elite passer in the league, throwing for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. This team also has the defense to match up with any team in the league, made evident by 37 sacks and 30 interceptions a season ago.
All these factors and more will result in the NFC North having two playoff teams, two teams on the rise and one really indecisive quarterback finally having enough.