Sean's NFC North Preview
Heading to the NFC North. Can the Packers reclaim Super Bowl glory? Can the Bears win with a CFL head coach? Can the Lions finally get over the under-achiever hump? Will the Vikings ride AP and his miracle legs into the ground?
1. GREEN BAY PACKERS - Have to put these guys on top. Aaron Rodgers is just too good to lose out to these other teams. The offensive will get some balance with rookie RB Eddie Lacy spacing things out. WRs Cobb and Nelson team with James Jones and Jermichael Finley to give Rodgers plenty of options. The schedule is one of the tougher ones. But if the defense can stay around the top 10 like last year (11th), they should again be in the hunt to head to NY for February play-date.
2. CHICAGO BEARS - Every year I over-value these guys. I think, this is the year they overtake GB. Well, I won't play that here in 2013. Marc Trestman takes over for Lovie Smith. As much as Lovie was a defensive guy, Trestman should take QB Cutler to another level with WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. RB Matt Forte should thrive in the new system. With a revamped OL, Cutler won't be on his back (153 times L4 years) most of the time. The defense lost fan favorite Urlacher to retirement. But this is still a very talented veteran bunch with Julius Peppers, reliable vet Lance Briggs and Pro Bowlers Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman anchoring the secondary.
3. DETROIT LIONS - Should be an exciting October with the Tigers looking like a serious playoff team. Now if only if playoff fever carries over here with the Lions. What a big step back for the Lions last year. 4 wins. QB Stafford threw the ball 727 times but saw his TDs drop from 41 to 20. We all know about Megatron, but Reggie Bush might be the guy that brings this offense back to its 2011 level. Plenty of talent on the defense with 1st rounders, Suh, Fairley and rookie Ziggy Ansah. HC Jim Schwartz will be feeling the old 'hot seat' if things start off slowly.
4. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Now, I don't think Adrian Peterson goes for 2,000 yards here, but he will get close. QB Christian Ponder has veteran WR Greg Jennings to look to along with TE Kyle Rudolph. The OL is young and talented. I think the schedule is a little tough, especially to end the year. I think next year, these guys are a 10-12 win unit.