The NFC North has a lot of crazy storylines going on. The Brett Favre saga was probably the top headline in sports for many weeks, everyone is just drooling over the Vikings despite having a horrible quarterback, the Bears can’t decide which of their 2 terrible quarterbacks to start, and the Lions have been destroying teams in preseason (but its only preseason).
1. Minnesota Vikings – This is not an endorsement for the Vikings…I just think they probably are the best team in this division. They bring back their drastically one dimensional offense, but if no one can stop Adrian Peterson, does it matter? The Vikes also had an impressive run defense last year but a very weak pass defense. Luckily for them, they only play 4 teams this year that do not struggle with their passing game (Colts, Saints, Cardinals, Giants….and maybe 5 if you count the Lions). Notice how the Packers weren’t on the list? They can shut down their rush-heavy opponents and cruise to the NFC North title, since their top competitors shot themselves in the foot….
2. Green Bay Packers – The Packers screwed up. I’ve never been a huge Brett Favre fan, especially since his mistakes cost his teams as many games as he wins for them. But if the guy wanted so bad to come back, why not just let him? They are turning the team over the Aaron Rodgers, who was the 2nd QB drafted in 2005 behind the legendary Alex Smith. Rodgers has never proven anything, and Favre is coming off a great season with a near Super Bowl appearance. This isn’t like Montana-Young back in the early 90s because Young was actually the reigning NFL MVP when Montana was traded and proved he was a worthy starter. Fortunately, the rest of the team is talented enough to finish 2nd and maybe snatch up a wild card berth.
3. Detroit Lions – The Lions and Bears will again be battling to stay out of last. Now that Mike Martz is gone (and replaced by former Purdue head coach Jim Colletto!) the Lions could return to a more balanced offensive attack, which could be a bad thing for desperate John Kitna fantasy owners. The Lions suddenly more important running game will probably be led by Kevin Smith, better known as Silent Bob from Clerks and its related movies. At 38 years old and seemingly out of playing shape, I thought this was a surprising 3rd round selection, but Matt Millen has done worse.
4. Chicago Bears – Orton or Grossman? Grossman or Orton? The debate rages in the windy city. No matter what they do, a 4th place finish will probably be the result. Since Kyle Orton was my starting QB for all 4 of my years at Purdue, I’d like to think Orton is the better choice. He’s not a great QB, but he has some raw talent and seemingly has the ability to not lose games for his team, as he proved in 2005, unlike Grossman. The Bears no longer seem to have the tough defense they were once known for, falling on hard times due to age and injury (and stranding lambos) last season. If Devin Hester can find a way to return every kick for a touchdown this year, then the Bears are going all the way.