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NFC North Preview

BearsWk1The NFC North has the potential to be the NFL’s most competitive and exciting division this year. It also might be a runaway like it has in recent past. The Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears can be very good or very bad. This is football’s most wildly inconsistent division. Teams is this division often go from really good to really awful and back again or vice versa.

The Chicago Bears for example were in the NFC Championship Game just three years ago. Now they have a new head coach they got from the CFL. Last year, they were 10-6 yet still missed the playoffs. The year before that they were 8-8. In 2010 they were 11-5 and hosted the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. In 2009 they were 7-9.

The Vikings made the playoffs last season at 10-6. That was coming off a 3-13 season the year before. In 2010 they were 6-10 and in 2009 they went 12-4 and lost in the NFC Championship Game in overtime.

The Lions are coming off a disaster in 2012 when they went 4-12. In 2011 the Lions were 10-6 and made the playoffs. In 2010 they went 6-10. In 2009 they were 2-14.

The Packers have been the only consistent team in the division over the past several years. The last time the Pack missed the playoffs was in 2008. Oddly enough, it was their worst record in the last four years that went on to win the Super Bowl when the 2010 team went 10-6 but went all the way. They 2011 bunch was 15-1 and lost in the divisional round.

All of these four teams have some superstars on their offense. Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, who may be the best quarterback on the planet. The Lions have Calvin Johnson who may be the best wide receiver on the planet. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson who is definitely the best running back on the planet. If Johnson isn’t the best receiver then the Bears Brandon Marshall might be. Then add in some guys like Reggie Bush of the Lions, Randall Cobb of the Packers and Greg Jennings of the Vikings and there is plenty of star power to go around in this division.

But, something seems to always go wrong in this division. If it’s not Peterson going down with a blown up knee, it’s Jay Cutler or Matthew Stafford getting hurt. What will happen this year? Is it Green Bay’s turn for a huge blow to their chances? Who knows?

If these teams can stay healthy, the NFC North should be among the most competitive in the league. Our predicted order of finish is

1. Green Bay- 12-4

2. Chicago- 11-5

3. Detroit- 9-7

4. Minnesota- 7-9



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