NFC NORTH BREAKDOWN

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By Paul M. Banks, David K. Andy Weise

PAUL M. BANKS

Minnesota-

To quote the hilarious Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald of townienews.com: “I’m sorry Ms. Tavaris Jackson, you are not for real.” Imagine how far the Viqueens could go if they had a real quarterback to complement Purple Jesus and their sick defensive line. I think opposing defenses will do a better job figuring out Adrian Peterson this year, but only because his off-the-charts rookie season featured numbers that are so difficult to duplicate. This team has playmakers all over the depth chart and should win 10 or 11 games.

Green Bay-

Their defense will come back to Earth this year and by mid-season season many cheeseheads will start to think 2007 was a fluke. They’re still very talented, but last year was an overachievement. Of course, I should mention the whole daytime Emmy award winning soap opera that we all endured. The one starring the man who is so passionate about the game of football that he can’t make up his mind about playing it; and then changes his mind again. Wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if Aaron Rodgers just decided he wanted to retiree after week one…and then changed his mind to come back in week 4? LOL!

Detroit-

They’ll be the same old lions. They’ll get off to a fast start and fade down the stretch. The lions will score a bunch of points, but give up a bunch more. Missing a healthy Shaun Rodgers will be a big blow to their defense. Detroit will have a phenomenal receiving corps, but a crappy secondary and pass rush and likely finish around 7-9. Oh and the cement-headed Matt Millen will still be in charge in ‘09. No wonder Ford motor company is in such dire straits. You see how poorly the Ford family runs their football team, why would anyone expect them to run their billion-dollar automobile concern any better?

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A picture really is worth a thousand words here in Camp Bourbonnais. This is the clearance sale rack of Bears jerseys at the training camp gift shop. Notice how all of them are no longer with the team…except Rex Grossman. Says it all about Train Rex’s popularity. 

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Chicago-

Ok, they’re not going to be 2-14 like a lot of people here are saying. Yes, they do have some issues at QB, RB, WR and the offensive line….but hey other than that, the offense looks great! When I say that this team has some hidden potential, it’s not just because they are my hometown team that I cover regularly. Kevin Payne could be an emerging star at strong safety one day and the guy starting over him, Brandon McGowan is pretty good himself. Both are a BIG UPGRADE over the clueless and useless Adam Archuleta.

The defense as whole still has plenty of juice left. Not as much juice as the 2006 squad, but they will be a better than average unit (forget about how God awful the unit looked in the preseason, I saw these guys practice in training camp and they’ll be ready when the time comes) Some defensive touchdowns and exceptional special teams will bring the Bears to about 5 or 6 wins. 2 of which will be over the Packers. Again. The brightest news? After this season, Jerry Angelo and company will be FORCED to find a better option at quarterback than the Kyle Orton/Rex Grossman duo. They will come through with an improvement of some sort!…God I hope so at least.

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DAVID K.

Green Bay-

I am very intrigued to see what will happen after Aaron Rodgers has his first bad game and Mike McCarthy has to field questions about Brett Favre.  That should be as fun as the off-season was in Green Bay.  (Sigh)  I think the Packers have a pretty tough schedule and would not be surprised if they were 3-4 or even 2-5 by the time of their week 8 bye.  Obviously the offensive success will hinder on how quickly Rodgers adapts to his starting role, but with talented receivers, the Pack should be okay when they have the ball.  Defensively, I’m a little more worried this year.  Their defensive line does not have the talent or depth it did last year and teams could run all over them.  The saving grace could be a linebacking core that flies all over the field, although A.J. Hawk has nursed a chest injury most of the pre-season and may not be ready the first couple weeks of the season.  The secondary should be solid among their starters, but I would expect opposing offenses to pick on whichever nickel back is in the game.  I’m expecting somewhere around the 8-8, 9-7 mark unless Rodgers doesn’t miss a beat where that Favre guy left off.

Chicago-

Number of wins this season: 5

Number of starting quarterbacks this season: 4

Do I really need to say anything other than the Kyle Orton/Rex Grossman project is STILL their solution at quarterback?  Haven’t they learned by now?  On top of that, the Bears have questions at running back, wide receiver, and offensive line.  If you’re keeping track at home, the only position they don’t have issues with on the offensive side of things is at tight end.  If this were 2006, maybe I would still be a little bit scared of this team.  However, it was clear that this defense lost a step last season and did not do much in the off-season to get better. 

Minnesota-

The Vikings seem to be a sexy pick for the NFC this year because of their defense and Adrian Peterson.  Let me warn you: Tavaris Jackson is still their quarterback though.  Translation: Bears fans aren’t even envious.  If AP stays healthy and Tavaris doesn’t throw games away, they should hover around the 10 or 11 win mark.  It won’t take much to win the North this year and will likely be Minnesota’s to lose.

Detroit-

I think the Lions have a realistic shot at finishing around the .500 mark if their defense comes to play every week.  Expect big things out of their wide-out combination of Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams as their new run game of rookie Kevin Smith and Bengal castoff Rudi Johnson should allow the passing to stretch things out a bit more.  Still, they are Matt Millen’s Lions and will likely underachieve like they have every other year since the turn of the century.

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ANDY WEISE

NFC NORTH-I think a division winner and a wild card team will come out of the North. The Bears will finish around 5 or 6 wins, the Lions at 7 or 8 and the Packers and Vikings will both be around the 10 or 11 range. Both the Packers and the Vikings have some injury issues early but we’ll get an idea who is real and who is not early in the season. Both teams come in with big expectations; Vikings were the most active team in the off-season leading some experts to pick them as the “surprise” team in the NFL. The Packers obviously jettisoned the legend Brett Favre after they refused to let him compete for the starting job with Aaron Rodgers. I think Rodgers will be solid but he’s never started an NFL game, that’s got to make some people nervous. Vikings will need Jared Allen and whoever starts at the other defensive end position to be very active in getting to the QB. The run defense has been awesome the last two or three years but it’s aging with pro bowl tackle Pat Williams getting older each year. The secondary will be without Madieu Williams for a few games at least and that could be a problem given the last place finish at passing defense last year. I have the Vikings winning 10 and the Packers winning 11 for now.

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Comments

  1. I think my other counterparts need to remember that T-Jack (what we call him in MN) has all the physical tools needed to be an NFL QB, it all just depends on him proving to the world that mentality, he can handle it all. He’s shown flashes of beig capable and in the two preseason games he did play in, he looked very comfortable. I think Berrian is going to be a great safety blanket for him and Sidney Rice will continue to emerge as the Vikings No. 1 for years to come. Rice wasn’t even around down the stretch of the season last year. Peterson likely will not live up to MVP expectations some have placed on his back and Allen probably won’t live up to being the highest paid defensive player. Luckily wins and losses are all that really matters in the end.

  2. The Bears huh? who’da thunk?

  3. Who knew Matt Forte would be this good in his first game? against a pretty good defense!

    I told you guys Kevin Payne was for real

  4. Weise… T-Jack is still T-Jack… the T standing for terrible… you are not coming NEAR a Super Bowl with him under center… If Monday Night didn’t prove that, then you got some serious over-homering issues…

  5. I know. He looked like he could be a great quarterback…in the Senior Bowl. seriously, he’s not the answer.

    But he didnt look as bad as Jarmarcus Russell looked last night. physique wise that it. When did he get fat and start to resemble a black Jared Lorenzen?

  6. I don’t think he is “terrible” … He held in there last night and took a lot of hits.. he had some bad passes… I’m more frustrated with the plays/play calling and all that right now. I think Childress’ offensive scheme is that of a High School offense. I never claimed Jackson would lead us to the super bowl or anything like that… I just said he has the physical tools to be a good QB in the NFL. The problem is mental is just as much if not more in the NFL. The packers d-bags, I mean d-backs, got away with a lot, as usual. Al Harris and Nick Barnett can……………. you get where this is going.

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